If you’ve spent any time reading trends in golf maintenance, you’ve undoubtedly stumbled into these golfing maintenance drone questions… “How does is work and can we afford it?”
From the times of ancient generals meeting in tents, to our current age of corporate wars, real time intelligence has always ruled as king. In many ways, taking care of the day-to-day operations on a golf course is exactly that, a sort of war. As a golf superintendent, you are the general of that war and a single image has the power to give you victory… at least until the next “greens emergency.”
Drones, once viewed by many as simply a recreational toy and a way to take bird’s-eye- view pictures of a course — mainly for marketing purposes to share on YouTube, social media or a website — now are a useful agronomic aid and money-saving technology that provides everything from a clearer picture of where the divots occur most frequently to areas that are suffering from a lack of irrigation.
Mark Prieur, golf course superintendent at Trafalgar Golf and Country Club in Milton, Ontario, just west of Toronto, bought a drone last year. He finds new uses for this piece of technology every day, from taking aerial shots showing frost on the course and tweeting them so members know why there was a delay in tee times, to helping him train employees by showing proper techniques from a new, unique angle. More at Golfdom…
Maintaining the integrity of your golf course is only half the battle. Pressing forward aggressively to implement winning hole designs is another area where the golfing drone excels. New technologies such as the Pix4Dmapper Pro https://pix4d.com/product/pix4dmapper/ combine drone technology with software that can give you a 3d birds eye view of life as a golf ball. This intelligence can help superintendents monitor fairway health.
“They can now — for instance — look at that stubborn pine tree on hole #4, and using Pix4D software, accurately calculate the height and width of the tree, estimate the weight of the tree, and the cost and time it would take to remove it,”
“It’s an application built for learning how technology can improve golf course design,” said Stefan Gordon, principal software engineer at Microsoft, who worked on the app. Engineers took ten-thousand aerial photos of four top US golf courses, then reconstructed detailed 2D and 3D maps of them using Pix4Dmapper Pro.
“Combined with other datasets and machine learning technology,” said Gordon, “The tool provides deep insight into these courses.” A landscape designer, for example, could use Course IQ to access data on the Plainfield Country Club course — not only accurate 3D models and topography maps from Pix4D, but information on soil composition or bedrock depth. Read more…
Recently, there have been more and more drone scares. Drone safety is an issue that might not be on the minds of golf superintendents, but if you decide to implement them in any way on your golf course, or other turf environment, then these safety tips can help you.
Drone Safety Video