One of the greatest strengths of the OnLink platform is our strategic partnerships with companies that feature top-of-the-line technology and similar missions to elevate the practice of golf course management. Today, I want to highlight Spectrum, an important OnLink Ready partner with essential Plant Measurement Technology.

Mike Thurow founded Spectrum almost thirty years ago with the mission of “Turning plant Measurements into Information for profitable Decisions.” Mike and I connected years ago when I was in the soil sensor business, and we are both thrilled with the powerful, mutually beneficial collaboration of Spectrum’s TDR measurements and TruFirm technology with OnLink’s cloud-based decision-making platform. Mike sums it up nicely: “The synergy of doing things together makes a more powerful broader solution.”

As President and CEO of Spectrum, Mike is very aligned with the growing challenges facing the golf course industry. At its core, Spectrum wants to be seen as a valuable resource for golf courses. Whether it’s facing issues of water scarcity or helping superintendents demonstrate, on both local and national levels, their objective decision-making processes for watering practices and chemical applications, Spectrum’s technology provides tangible automated data. When asked what he sees superintendents gaining from this partnership, Mike says, “It presents a very compelling message to the industry that they’re proactive, that they are advancing and always looking at these types of opportunities.”

Moisture management is key for all superintendents. It’s a vital component in drying down evenly in order to prevent localized dry spots and even more serious issues like diseases. The power to make accurate and specific decisions on moisture management is why we aligned with Spectrum’s FieldScout TDR technology, which automates soil moisture data throughout the day and allows the information to be correlated against other factors like OnLink’s weather program and cultural practices. “Site specific management is really the sweet spot where tech can aid a superintendent,” Mike says. It’s about steering away from blanket decisions on watering and applications of fungicide. As Mike points out, “We know we are going to see more and more pesticide regulation in the future.” With the data in one spot, it’s easier to determine where and how often you need to spray and water. Mike calls this “site specific decision making” a great new “frontier.”

The Lochinvar Golf Club, in Houston, Texas, is one of our customers taking full advantage of the OnLink platform in conjunction with Spectrum’s Bluetooth-enabled FieldScout TDR and TruFirm sensors. In the screenshot below you can see the moisture readings they’re taking throughout the day on every green. With critical moisture readings and green firmness data, Superintendent Kevin Cooper and his team see patterns to correlate weather variables they’re tracking on the OnLink platform like rain, humidity, ET (evapotranspiration), temperature and wind. The ease of automation and viewing this crucial operational information in one place help him make informed decisions that save both time and resources.

Cooper told us, “The use of OnLink has given me and my team the ability to see our daily moisture and firmness throughout the day, which gives us a great correlation for optimum consistency. Being able to look at the readings and evaluating the OnLink weather forecast (i.e. wind speed & direction, RH and cloud cover) we can make daily adjustments to provide our members a truly consistent experience. It also gives my assistants and myself the ability to show team members, and members, the ‘Why?’ in what we do on a daily basis. Since starting OnLink we have been able to lower our watering threshold on the greens by 2-3% and will continue evaluating how we can reduce even more based on the readings and weather.”

Thanks, Mike and the talented team at Spectrum, for developing and refining innovative technologies for the golf course management industry and partnering with OnLink.

** Please take advantage of our OnLink special: Bluetooth and Cloud upgrading with TDR 300 and TruFirm products each year will be included in the OnLink subscription.