Agronomy Golf Course Labor Savings Turf Playability Water Management

Playability, Price, and Peace of Mind: How Spiio Helps Meet the Unique Needs of a Municipal Course

Chris Reverie, from Allentown Municipal in Pennsylvania, discusses some of the struggles faced by municipal golf courses. He shares how Spiio has helped the course lower its expenses while improving the playability of their busy course—and how easy it was to get started.

Chris Reverie, from Allentown Municipal

Chris Reverie grew up on the golf course that his grandfather built. “I ended up running that operation for quite some time,” he says, detailing the start of his career in the turf industry. He completed the Turf Grass Studies at Rutgers University, interning at Merion Golf Club. He then began as a director of operations at the Shepherd Hills Golf Club. After that, he owned the Indian Creek golf course until it closed in 2014. That’s when he came to the Allentown Municipal Golf course as superintendent. “It was supposed to be a few months, and it’s been seven years now,” he jokingly reflects.

You look at it as a cost-savings in labor, water, and other resources, Spiio sensors are very affordable.

With this varied and extensive experience on Pennsylvania turf, Reverie has noticed many of the difficulties faced by courses. “The country club is its own animal,” he says. “Any business that involves families is tough.” In addition, he notes that there are unique challenges inherent to working for municipalities as opposed to a public or private course. “There are lots of processes,” he notes. You can’t just manage your staff on your own; there are policies and oversight that have to be considered. There’s also the need to communicate effectively with customers and residents along with city council, unions, and other stakeholders.

Savings with Spiio: Reducing Irrigation and Labor Expenses with Spiio Sensors

Reverie has been proactive in finding solutions to these demands. One source of help has been Spiio technology. He’s had six Spiio sensors working for over a year now, and the benefit has been “enormous.” “Once I established the baseline, last fall when the turf was really healthy and I liked the growing conditions, I used those numbers to create a plan for the season. There’s an afternoon here and there where you think you should run water, but you see one of the greens and say, ‘Nah, it’s good.’ But other mornings, you wake up and say, ‘We gotta get in there and water now.’”

It’s ultimately a savings in labor, because it means not having to have guys babysit greens all afternoon.”

Having that baseline to refer to and make decisions based directly on in-ground data is a big deal for municipal courses like Allentown. “We’re a facility that is going to do 52,000 rounds this season with daily play starting at 6 am every morning. Planning around the morning and evening league play makes it n tough to get out and hand-water, especially in the afternoon. Having the ability to know, ‘Okay, if I put 12 minutes of water out, we’ll be fine through the afternoon’ is a great help. It’s ultimately a savings in labor, and overtime not having guys babysit greens all afternoon and hopefully get me home before dark.”

Healthier Turf and a Happier Super: The Benefits of Spiio That Don’t Come with a Price Tag

In addition to the economic advantage, the quality of the course has benefited greatly! Conditioning is a science, and this is a great tool to have in the box. Having greater insight into soil moisture levels Is a key function in our PM plan “I can more accurately plan for fluctuations in weather and disease pressure” “I find most damage in the industry is by our own doing but by knowing the soil moisture and temperature we can gauge those cultural practices” “Being a municipal golf course and with the amount of traffic we have, balancing soil moisture for playability means that making sure the turf is not too soft is key.

Spiio also offers some peace of mind and time away from the course for a busy superintendent.

If we have 350 people coming and our greens are wet, we’ll have a lot of ball marks. Keeping the ground a little firmer is better. This has boded well with us over the last year.” Knowing the status of the soil’s moisture immediately and consistently allows Reverie to order the quantity and timing of water so that it strikes that balance. Spiio also offers some peace of mind and time away from the course for a busy superintendent.

A Low Barrier to Entry: The Ease and Affordability of Getting Started with Spiio Sensors

Reverie was also impressed by the accessibility of getting started with Spiio—both in terms of installation and in terms of price. “It’s plug and play; it’s fantastic. The staff at the company, as well as the distributor, Hodges Rash, take care of everything for you and answer any questions for you. It’s simple and easy. I can put the sensors in and be up and running the next day.” He goes on,

You look at it as a cost-savings in labor, water, and other resources, Spiio sensors are very affordable.