AI-driven irrigation increases sustainability and cut expenses

With Artificial Intelligence, golf courses can revolutionize and optimize their irrigation, doing themselves a financial favour and the environment a green one. Also, data shows a slight tendency for golfers to welcome initiatives reducing water consumption if clubs do it correctly.

Emil Riisberg
February 6, 2024

Golf courses are often a symbol of lush greenery and beauty, but behind the scenes, maintaining those perfect fairways and greens can be a huge challenge. Overwatering, uneven distribution, and inefficient water usage not only strain the course's resources but can also have a frightful impact on your wallet and the environment. 

The solution? Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI).  

With AI-driven irrigation, golf courses can make their water management even more effective, benefiting both their bottom line and the environment. In fact, your golfers might even be willing to accept reduced course conditions if your club decides to reduce its water consumption – with the use of AI or not. 

How can irrigation systems based on AI do wonders for your golf club? 

As you all probably know, precision irrigation is a strategy that involves delivering the right amount of water to specific areas based on the actual needs of the turf. Take AI into the equation, and your greenkeepers now have a strong partner in crime. 

Like its analysis of different factors when optimizing tee times with AI, this technology and its algorithms can analyze real-time weather, soil moisture, and plant water needs, forming a precise irrigation plan for your course. Thanks to its way of automating water usage based on real-time and historical data, you can wave goodbye to water waste and say hello to a more aesthetic and perfectly playable course.  

Also, this approach helps you step up your eco-game. Using resources more wisely will simply make it easier to follow modern environmental standards. It's a big win for Mother Nature, helping to shrink the environmental footprint that comes with keeping those courses looking picture-perfect.  

From this, we have gathered three reasons for how AI can contribute to your water management at the club.

3 ways integrating AI-irrigation will benefit your golf course.
3 ways integrating AI-irrigation will benefit your golf course.

Golfers likely to accept reduced course quality for reduced water consumption 

The reasons for using AI in golf course irrigation are pretty clear. It's great for your profits and the environment. 

But what if we told you that cutting back on water at your club might interest your golfers too?  

In our brand-new survey on sustainability in golf clubs, we asked some golfers about their opinions on this topic. It turns out that if the course quality drops due to less water usage, many golfers are actually okay with it. 

Golfers perspective on water saving and their influence on greens and fairways.
Figure 1: The results are based on a survey on sustainability with responses from California, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Connecticut. Source: Players 1st.

The data shows that 59% of the surveyed golfers will be fine with the fairways taking a hit if it means that the club can lower its water usage. But here's the catch: golfers aren't as happy if it affects the greens. Actually, 51% of the respondents won't accept the reduction if it worsens the greens. If you start messing with the quality of the green, you will start gambling with the experience you offer your golfers.  

Still, golfers seem ready for clubs going in a more sustainable direction, which AI-based irrigation systems can assist. Just remember, you’ll need to communicate if the water reduction affects the course. Keeping your golfers in the loop and your hands off the green, you can rightly start experimenting with lowering water usage and optimizing water irrigation. 

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