PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

What is Precision Turfgrass Management?

The goal of Precision Turfgrass Management (PTM) is to carefully observe, document, map, and manage golf courses on the smallest reasonable scale to provide optimum performance (as defined for each golf course) using the minimum human, natural, mechanical and chemical resources. In addition to improving management for different locations throughout the course (spatial), precision management will help improve management through time (temporal).

PACE will continue to update information relating to the adoption of PTM by providing background information, information on equipment and techniques and examples of PTM applications on golf courses.

Steps in adoption of Precision Turfgrass Management:

  • Characterize and document the site - soils, plants, areas, irrigation system (greens, tees, fairways, roughs, landscapes, out of play low maintenance areas, cart paths, lakes, etc.)
    • Design maps and "as-built" drawings including irrigation heads, valve boxes and controllers are a start
    • Aerial photographs
    • Standard survey maps
    • GPS survey maps
    • Soil and water analyses
    • Climate (long term trends) and weather (within-season conditions).
    • Turf types and areas
    • Landscape plants and areas
    • Other information as needed; sources of information will vary with the site
  • Develop management zones based upon common characteristics of areas at the site
    • Common soil type
    • Similar plant requirements - fairways vs. rough vs. greens vs. trees
    • Similar pest threats
    • Slopes with unique irrigation issues
    • Areas near waterways or lakes
    • Again, the list will be unique to each golf course
  • Set performance goals for each management zone of the golf course
  • Document management practices that result in optimum performance of the course and track changes over time
  • Identify minimum human, natural, mechanical and chemical resources needed to provide optimum course performance.
  • Implement reductions in resource inputs as needed to meet environmental or budgetary limitations with the understanding that some reduction in turfgrass or course performance will be observed. Ideally, no reduction in turf performance will be observed as resources are used more effectively. An example would be to reduce or eliminate most management practices in out-of-play areas and redistribute manpower and resources such as irrigation and fertilization to more critical areas of the course.

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