University Research Project 1- Turf Grass Agronomy App for Smartphones.
Smartphone technology is now reaching the turfgrass world and many greenkeepers and groundsmen now discuss the care of their turf surfaces with others using Internet based media such as Facebook and communicate using WhatsApp and Facetime. Information on common turf problems is readily available on the Internet, usually at little or no charge. Greenkeepers are now educated to an advanced level and armed with modern technology can often deal with many agronomic issues that arise.
So where does this leave the traditional Agronomy visit, done by a personal technical visit to the sports facility? There is no doubt an inspection to the golf course is in many cases the best approach, but it is also expensive due to the time, expense involved and cannot be done frequently if the need arises, again due to limited resources.
Also, many greenkeepers do not have access to agronomy services, due perhaps to geographical location, availability of an experienced agronomist in some countries or the Clubs unwillingness to pay for it from ever tightening budgets. Can smartphone technology provide a useful tool for the greenkeeper to obtain rapid and reliable agronomic advice? This project aimed to develop an Agronomy App and field test a prototype this year.
How does it work
It is a prototype at the moment and is in the process of being field tested on 20 golf courses in the UK. The App is designed to be quick and easy to use in the field- the moment a greenkeeper spots an issue for which advice is needed. Prompted by 5 questions and a facility to take photos and videos of the problem and to add any soil test reports the greenkeeper can than send the information direct to the Agronomist.
Initial tests have indicated a greenkeeper can register to use the service in 2 mins and it takes a further 2-3 mins to use the app and get the necessary information to the Agronomist. As long as there is a mobile phone signal there is no need to return to an office or wherever an internet connection can be found.