For more than a century, Wisconsin’s Geneva Lake has been a preferred weekend destination for residents of cities like Chicago and Milwaukee. Featuring pristine waters surrounded by rolling farmland, the idyllic location offers a welcome contrast from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Among the lake’s best-loved destinations is the Abbey Springs Resort, located on the southern shores in the town of Fontana. In addition to a marina, restaurants, and a banquet hall, the resort features a 4-1/2 star golf course that has been an area favorite for decades.
Responsibilities of maintaining the course falls on the shoulders of their Director of Grounds, Andy Kronwall. Well-known in the area for his expertise in turf maintenance, Kronwall also writes a blog on the subject called ASGC Turf.
Despite his extensive knowledge and many years of experience, Kronwall is constantly searching for new ways to improve his operations in an effort to increase quality and reduce costs for his employer.
Of all the variables that affect a golf course’s day-to-day operations like plant care, pest control, and golfer safety, weather sits at the top of the list.
Golf course managers often rely on online evapotranspiration (ET) and growing degree day (GDD) trackers to make weather-based calculations pertaining to irrigation, fertilizer application, and more. In addition, they’ll use weather apps, weather websites, and the TV/Radio news for regional weather reports and weather forecasts. The problem is that oftentimes these resources use weather data measured at locations many miles away from the course, which greatly decreases the accuracy of the information.
Kronwall’s team installed an AcuRite Pro+ 5-in-1 Weather Sensor on the Abbey Springs grounds, enabling them to measure rainfall, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, at their exact location. They also installed additional AcuRite sensors to measure soil temperature, as well as the water temperature in the pond that feeds their irrigation system.
The sensor data is received by an AcuRite Access™, which streams the data to the cloud, where Abbey Springs employees can use the My AcuRite platform to access the data on the smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.
The AcuRite system has enabled Abbey Springs to better plan their operations, reducing wasted resources, cutting costs, and delivering a better experience for their customers. For example, the 5-in-1 rainfall tracking is used to help calculate irrigation. The soil temperature monitoring helps determine when weed killers and fertilizers are applied. The liquid temperature monitoring dictates when treatment for zebra mussels take place. In addition, golf course and tennis staff use the professional weather station data when scheduling tee times and court reservations. Finally, Abbey Springs publishes their weather station data on the members’ page so patrons can remotely view course conditions to track weather trends.
Kronwall added that he is excited about the new weather products that AcuRite has set for release in the coming months.
Specifically, the soon-to-be-released AcuRite Atlas™ weather station will offer all the features of his current Pro+ 5-in-1 system, with the added capabilities of lightning detection and UV monitoring.
The lightning detection will help the crew receive advanced warning of storms – up to 25 miles away – offering extra time to get patrons and staff to safety.
Readings of UV index and light intensity will assist with plant care, and also be useful to efforts to ensure staff safety from sun exposure.
I'm really looking forward to the Atlas system because they will offer the features and performance that golf course managers demand
Andy Kronwall, Director of Grounds