GPS Control for Golf Course Pesticide Applications

Customer Stories


When Ken Flisek from The Club at Nevillewood started using his new Smithco sprayer equipped with a Turflux control system he soon realized that one of the benefits of one-time mapping was the consistency and repeatability of each application. Before using his new sprayer the amount of product needed and the actual area sprayed would vary based on the spray technician. One spray tech might overlap more than the other or spray more in off-target areas to make sure they didn’t miss an area. Budgeting for each application required Ken to plan and budget for waste so an application didn’t run out of product before finishing.

That all changed when his spray zones were mapped and an application could be consistently duplicated using a map that was created months or years before the actual application. Not only did the mapping help him reduce his waste by more than 20% it now gave him a repeatable volume of required product to plan and budget when each application was required.

Before Turflux it was common for golf course superintendents to build in a buffer of wasted product because it was more important to overspray and make sure a target zone was treated fully than it was to reduce waste and risk under applying or missing parts of a target zone. One time repeatable mapping with sub-inch accuracy has changed all that in turf just like it did in Agriculture years before.

Using Simple Math

John Shaw from Valley Brook Country Club started seeing the savings from a Turflux system immediately and increased his productivity even more by applying some simple math to his application process. Once he mapped and sprayed his greens at the 27 hole facility he soon learned that he only needed to treat his target zone of 5.86 acres and not spray the entire 7.3 acres he had been spraying. John uses Cushman Spraytek DS-300s and he would partial load the 300 gallon tanks with 150 gallons of mixed product to keep the weight of the sprayer light enough for use on greens. His old application required 4 tank loads covering 80,500 sq. ft. per tank and a total of 600 gallons sprayed. With an area mapped of 5.86 acres to treat he calculated that he could eliminate one tank mix by slightly increasing each tank to 160 gallons and treat 86,000 sq. ft. per tank for a total of 480 gallons sprayed.

The result was one less tank to fill and spray with considerable savings in both time and money. The money spent on chemicals and the acreage sprayed was reduced by 20%. Not only was there substantial savings, but now each tank with 7% more product could spray 33% more of his target zone making it easier to to stay ahead of play. Some benefits of a Turflux system can be easily measured, and they can be priceless.

The system knows where you sprayed

The old way of spraying required a foam marker, dye/colorant, or marking flags to mark where a spray application had already been made. With a Turflux system they are no longer required because the Envizio Pro II field computer knows where an application has already been made and it will guide you to the correct line for your next pass. With one-time repeatable mapping from Slingshot RTK that “next pass” can be in 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, or (well you get the picture).

When White Manor Country Club started an application in their native areas golf course superintendent, Mike Mulhare, and Director of Golf Course Operations, Don Brown, knew they would not be able to complete the job on the same day, but that wouldn’t be a problem for their sprayer that was recently equipped with a Turflux system. They knew they could start the job on a day that was convenient based on play and weather and finish the job at a later date. When they opened their partially completed job the map displayed where they had last sprayed and even if a nozzle overlapped the previous application it would automatically shut off and avoid a second application. No flags, foam, or dye was needed.

A similar story occurred at Valley Brook Country Club when John Fossum was spraying fairways. John, who speaks fluent Spanish, was needed to take one of their Spanish speaking employees to the emergency room after being hit by a golf ball. The sprayer still had product in the tank and there was still some acreage that needed an application. In fact one of the fairways had only been partially sprayed. With John Fossum leaving the property the task of finishing the spray application fell on his boss, golf course superintendent John Shaw. After nearly an hour had passed John Shaw took over right where John Fossum left off following the display on the Envizio Pro II field computer to guide him.

Reallocate your current budget

Ken Flisek, golf course superintendent at The Club at Nevillewood, has reallocated some of the savings they were able to achieve with their new Turflux equipped sprayer to improve the quality of the golf course. With the improved accuracy of a Turflux system many golf courses are saving as much as 23% compared to those same applications before Turflux. Superintendents like Ken Flisek have found ways to improve the quality of the golf course by reallocating that savings for use in additional spray applications. Ken now sprays one or two passes of a growth regulator around each green to control clippings and keep the clippings from being tracked onto the greens by his employees or by golfers. The application doesn’t require much in the way of product since bunkers, cart paths, and other non-turf areas can be mapped as no-spray zones, but the results can be significant.

Budget approval process

Eric Wygant, golf course superintendent at Shannopin Country Club, was interested in the benefits of a Turflux system, but he was having difficulty in getting the funds necessary to convert his sprayers through his normal capital budgeting process. After mapping his greens and spraying one application using a demo sprayer equipped with Turflux he had the hard numbers of what his actual savings would be. Eric then worked with his General Manager to propose to the board that the club finance a Turflux conversion to his current greens sprayer by using his chemical budget to pay for it. They calculated that the club could plan to reallocate the savings in chemical costs to pay for the conversion by financing the conversion over a 3 or 4 year period, and the board approved the expenditure. Why wouldn’t they?

Eric plans to keep his club informed of the sprayer progress and continue to show his club the benefits of spraying with a Turflux system. When it comes time to replace his fairway sprayer in the next few years Eric expects the budget approval process for this proven technology to be a smooth one.

Record keeping

When Nick Janovich, golf course superintendent at Oglebay Resort, learned that he could convert the picture from his Slingshot Application Report into an image he could view on Google Earth he converted an image to check on one of his applications. A few weeks earlier his spray technician made an application for grub control on all 18 holes of the Jones course, but Nick was seeing substantial damage in the entire rough on one hole and around the green of another. It was clear that they were not getting control in those areas. It didn’t make sense that these areas were damaged since the entire application was made on the same day under the same weather conditions.

Nick was hopeful that he could show the chemical company the Google Earth image and his Application Report proving that everything was sprayed within a tight time limit. Unfortunately the Google Earth image confirmed that the areas without control had actually not been sprayed that day. Maybe the spray technician had to skip a hole to continue spraying around play and then forgot to go back. Whatever the reason Nick knows that he is now able to check on an application right after it is completed or at a later date. He can actually click in an area on the map to see the time and date the sprayer was in an area and also get the target rate and application rate for specific spots on the map.

The record keeping ability of Slingshot RTK automatically uploads when a job is completed to a cloud based Slingshot account. The report automatically records data such as Applied Area, Total Volume, and Average Speed, and an image of the application. The account administrator, typically the golf course superintendent, can also edit over 25 other fields in the report for a total cloud based record keeping journal. As the requirement for accurate record keeping continues to gain in importance this may become one of the best features of a Turflux system powered by Raven’s Slingshot technology.

One time mapping

When the spray technician at Twin Orchard Country Club learned that he could start a job for his entire 18 hole application and use a map that had been created days or weeks before the actual application he was happily surprised. English is not his native language, but he knew enough English to state as a question “One job?”. When Andy Billing from Turflux replied with an affirmative “One job” he understood that his responsibility for sprayer application just got easier.

Before the Turflux system was added to two sprayers at Twin Orchard they were using a GPS control system utilizing an E-Pro and Switch-Pro from Raven, but it was running under a WAAS correction signal without a Slingshot RTK field hub. Under that system the spray tech needed to map each spray zone every time he sprayed. Not only did he need to map each zone every time, but he needed to make his application with 15 minutes of mapping or risk losing accuracy as the satellites continued to move in the sky. With the elimination of “mapping every time” the spray techs at Twin Orchard C.C. became more productive making it easier to stay well ahead of play on the days they needed to spray.


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