Water management at Golf Sainte Baume

Caring for the environment is a core concern for Golf Sainte Baume. Water scarcity and restrictions drive our Collection golf courses to constantly adapt and find solutions to help protect this natural resource.

Water management

Watering is a core topic at Golf Sainte Baume. Not in terms of supply, as the water comes from the Canal de Provence, but rather in terms of its purchase from Société du Canal de Provence.

It’s even more of a concern for us as our greens clog up quickly due to their original construction. The soil drains slower, is more compact and takes longer to percolate than elsewhere. This means we need to aerate them more often, sometimes quite aggressively. Some areas remain damp for too long and, after heavy rains, this can result in diseases spreading rapidly. This is a high priority focus for us.

Les actions menées face aux enjeux écologiques au Golf Sainte Baume à Nans Les Pins - gestion de l'eau hauts rouhs
Les actions menées face aux enjeux écologiques au Golf Sainte Baume à Nans Les Pins - gestion de l'eau 2

The high moisture levels in this area, which is sheltered by the Sainte Baume mountains, require comprehensive sprinkler management. One big storm is enough to create very wet, stagnant areas. When that happens, we have to act quickly and mechanically aerate the soil to prevent diseases.

The watering system at Golf Sainte Baume is relatively recent, having been updated in 2010-2012. It features electronic management with dedicated software. Despite its high performance, this system does not completely enable us to tailor our watering. We have been working on the key area of making our sprinkler sector system more precise so we can better manage our water consumption.

On this golf course, we have 800 sprinklers. In the past few years, we have realised the importance of optimised, controlled sprinkler management, including by stopping many of those located on the upper roughs.

We have a recently-installed a pumping station that will soon enable us to directly manage the pH of the sprinkler water and eventually to implement a fertilisation and irrigation programme. In the very near future, we will be able to add the minerals the soil needs to the sprinkler water, and manage the water’s pH.

This is important as water that is too ‘hard’ (has a high mineral content) blocks the equipment. The soil then gets saturated and, in summer, signs of salinity and algae can form on the surface. If this happens, the turf stops growing, everything stops, nutrient exchange is hampered, and all this can result in significant damage. Controlling the water’s pH and the fertiliser the turf needs will help protect our water resources as we will be using them in the most accurate manner possible.

Since 2021, the water we purchase from Canal de Provence has been deemed a ‘controlled resource’. This means it is separate from bore water and drinking water, which are covered by prefectorial orders in the event of a drought. Of course, we must reduce our consumption by 30% during serious heatwaves but we can still maintain a responsible level of watering on the course.

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