Helsinki, Finland: WINSTONgolf, Germany’s number one golf venue in 2019, has announced a new partnership with wireless underground soil monitoring solution Soil Scout to further its vision of becoming Europe’s forerunner in greenkeeping technology.
After an initial pilot using 27 sensors in one green at three different depths to find an optimal all-round wetting agent, WINSTONgolf will deploy Soil Scout’s sensors to its Open and Links course greens.
WINSTONgolf in Vorbeck, Germany, home to the WINSTONgolf Senior Open, is well known for its unique topography. Often nicknamed the ‘moonscape’ course after its unusual hills and crater-like bunkers, the course presents moisture retention challenges for Head Greenkeeper Erwan Le Cocq.
“Soil Scout has been a game-changer for us in our search for the perfect wetting agent, which are notoriously difficult to programme. Our main aim was to find the perfect wetting agent that holds enough moisture at high points but also drains enough moisture lower down. The only way to efficiently understand the physics of the green and moisture penetration was to measure at depths of 6.5, 15 and 25 centimetres, using Soil Scout’s underground soil monitoring solution,” said Le Cocq.
Unlike above-ground solutions, Soil Scout’s sensor is the only system capable of transmitting moisture, temperature, and salinity data in near real-time from up to two meters below the surface, for up to 20 years, maintenance-free.
“Because we’ve had so much rainfall recently, it would be impossible to accurately sample and measure moisture levels without Soil Scout. By the time you start taking samples and the time you finish, your data is redundant. With the sensors in place, I can get an accurate near real-time snapshot on my phone while I’m in the office or at home,” added Le Cocq.
Using soil data to find the perfect wetting agent is just one method WINSTONgolf utilises that fits in their technology programme to become one of Europe’s leading tech leaders in golf agronomy.
“In addition to overseeing a truly aesthetically outstanding course, Erwan has grasped the importance of data-driven technology with both hands – from understanding how healthy the grass is on the fairway by cutting it with Autocut’s solar-powered autonomous robots to controlling moisture flow through the green’s soil with our sensors. There are very few people in the world right now with the ability to collate data effectively and make insight-driven decisions,” said Adam Sedgwick, VP of International Sales at Soil Scout, an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Using the wrong wetting agent and holding moisture in the wrong layers can change the uniformity of the playing surface, and need reactive maintenance changes.
“When a product is this expensive, it is important to get the application right. Assisted by the Soil Scout data I knew I was applying it at the most effective times by using it at the correct soil moisture instead of guessing or sampling and guaranteeing a greatly improved effect,” said Le Cocq.
Recently backed by Husqvarna, last year’s seed funding round, Soil Scout was co-founded by Finnish agro-technology PhD and 19th generation farmer Johannes Tiusanen and electronics expert MSc.Eng Jussi Sirkiä with a mission of giving soil experts the information they need to effectively manage their lands.
As Head Greenkeeper at WINSTONgolf, Le Cocq oversees the implementation of data collection and technology installation, under the direction of Course Manager Jordan Tschimperle.