What is the sustainability strategy of Dom Pedro Golf?

By: August 26, 2019

Recently, I heard of Dom Pedro Golf has installed an innovative new water management system that is 23% more energy efficient.

This made up my mind and asked Simão da Cunha (the Head of Golf Operations at Dom Pedro Golf) to share with us Dom Pedro Golf‘s efforts for sustainable golf courses.

Enjoy the Q&A with Simão da Cunha!

Dom Pedro Golf Victoria 13th hole

What is the sustainability strategy of Dom Pedro Golf?

Over 20 years ago, an environmental survey was carried out to uncover the environmental impact of building a golf course on the site.

This identified a number of elements that laid the foundations for future monitoring, control, and improvement, including

  • high water consumption,
  • wastage,
  • noise pollution,
  • flooding, and
  • accidental spillages.

Building on this initial investigation, Dom Pedro Golf has gone on to put a modern-day sustainability strategy in place.

The main goals were

  • to optimize water consumption,
  • ensure effective nature conservation on all five golf courses,
  • minimize fuel and waste management,
  • keep noise pollution low for those in close proximity,
  • optimize electric power consumption and chemical usage,
  • monitor the quality of water.

We now have a much more sustainable golf course as a result.

The new hydraulic systems will be 23% more energy efficient at Dom Pedro Golf

What kind of innovative irrigation systems do you use?

We use the latest tools on the market to manage water pumping and distribution around the golf courses.

We base most of our decisions relating to how much, where and when to distribute the water on a sophisticated diagnosis tool called POGO, in addition to information from weather stations.

All systems are connected and speak to one another. Communication is key, allowing for no excuses when it comes to the grass being perfect.

How & why did you select Grundfos’ hydraulic irrigation system?

Dom Pedro Golf has worked with Grundfos before and the service we receive is second to none.

We worked very closely with them to develop a new variation on their WHOLE-IN-ONE system, which uses the best and most efficient water pumps.

Along with the efficiency of the hydraulic pumps, Grundfos also offers a full service around the design and installation of the pumps and electrical systems.

We fully rely on them for the irrigation system on all our golf courses. The installation of this innovative new water management system will be 23% more energy-efficient than before.

Dom Pedro Golf Victoria 12th hole

To what extent of your irrigation system is data-driven? Give examples!

The data received from our irrigation system is remarkable and invaluable to how we manage the irrigation of our courses.

The system monitors everything that the greens require and we use the data provided to make decisions, ensure that everyone is on the same page and in control of what is happening.

It gives us the right tools to know exactly where we are at any given moment, ensuring our courses remain in the best condition all year round.

For example, on the Millennium Golf Course, the systems will reduce CO2 usage by 30.26 tonnes per year, saving 87,500 kW of energy.

Greater still, at the Victoria Golf Course, 61.26 tonnes of CO2 and a staggering 177,000 kW will be saved every 12 months.

What do you think of ET-based irrigation scheduling?

ET-based irrigation scheduling is very useful. Before we make a decision on the amount of water per area for the next irrigation cycle, we can use the data to see the volume required as well as how long for.

The system allows us to know how much water has been lost on the grass, in addition to the evaporation and transpiration.

In addition to the ET, we must keep collecting data in order to be more accurate each time – in short, we need to know how much to give back to the plant.

Being accurate is a fundamental part of the process, as we do not want to starve or overfeed the grass.

This also means we can stop wastage and save money, all factors that offer the golfer a better experience.

177,000 kW will be saved at The Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course each year

Do you use at Dom Pedro Golf in-ground soil moisture sensors and mapping technologies? 

We are still using the Dom Pedro Golf in-ground soil moisture sensors and mapping technologies.

The more we use this enhanced tool the more accurate we are. POGO helps us know what’s happening below the surface and across the entire green, as it measures the turf’s needs and shows us the areas that need attention.

The data that is collected by POGO is recorded on a web app, which in turn produces useful reports. We ensure all data is recorded to help us understand the evolution of the courses, which helps us reach the correct decision for their irrigation.

The system’s data is also very good when communicating with third parties. Every month we send the agronomist water percentages to the European Tour along with how firm every square meter of the green is.

The data collected allows everyone to be on the same page and in control of what is going on, meaning no errors can be made in preparation for the Portugal Masters each year.

What percentage of Dom Pedro Golf’s greenkeeper team are women?

At Dom Pedro Golf we are keen to get women into golf, whether it is playing or working within the industry.

Currently, on our team, we have eight highly motivated and talented women, representing 12.5% of the total greenkeeping team.