Development of a water conservation educational program for turfgrass professionals
Waltz, Freddie Clinton, Jr.
Carrow, Robert N.
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In collaboration with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), a “Blended Learning Program for Golf Course Water Conservation” was developed. This program is a new and unique concept in training golf course superintendents, in that, it was designed as a learning experience which assists the practitioner in development of a water conservation plan site-specific to their golf course. The University of Georgia turfgrass faculty was responsible for development of sound scientific-based educational resources and the responsibilities of GCSAA were to market the program to its clientele. The first phase of the program was the development and launch of an online course, to provide introductory level information on Water and how it is impacted by atmospheric factors, uptake and use by the turfgrass plant, impact of edaphic or soil factors, and the relationship of the soil / plant / atmosphere continuum, the title of the course was the acronym W.A.T.E.R. The second phase of this program was development of an extensive document (template) on components of a water conservation plan, including a proposed planning process and a workshop with hands-on development of a water conservation plan. The superintendents received instruction and access to templates they could modify and implement to accommodate the nuances of their locale. The program concludes with a 90-day access to instructors through a GCSAA maintained list-serve for final refinement of individual plans. The deliverables of this program are written plans to be followed for water conservation on individual golf courses. Within the first two weeks of launching the online phase, registrants included superintendents from 20 states and 7 counties. The program was initiated in winter 2004 and has been requested for winter 2005.