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Subsurface Solar-Powered Aeration Systems

Not surprisingly, given its hallowed grounds, its rich history, the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia is a pristine place for members and guests to play. A handful of Presidents – including Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Kennedy, and Clinton – knew and know the iconic courses well. (The private club boasts 54 holes at two locations.) Obviously, a course for Presidents, veterans, and esteemed members from many branches of service requires exceptional course conditions. And beautiful ponds. Enter PondHawk® subsurface, solar-powered aeration systems.

In this day and age, environmentally-friendly solutions to manage and maintain golf courses warrant serious consideration. Especially if they are cost-effective and work! Protecting our precious resources, protecting our planet, and doing more with less is what it’s all about these days. And that’s why many golf courses – including the esteemed Army Navy Country Club – are choosing to install solar-powered PondHawk subsurface diffused aeration systems in their ponds.

To Native American Indians, the dragonfly symbolizes happiness, speed, and purity. It also represents transformation and life’s ever-constant process of change. For the Navajo tribe, the dragonfly symbolizes “pure water.” Fittingly, LINNE Industries – the parent company responsible for inventing, patenting, and distributing the PondHawk systems – has incorporated the dragonfly as their brand logo. And, for many golf course superintendents who are utilizing these impressive systems, the logo has come to signify pristine water bodies on their golf courses.

Diffused subsurface aeration is, well, exactly that. Think of it as an underwater fountain of oxygen bubbles, replenishing and restoring water quality and improving the overall health of the water. The relatively simple process creates subsurface circulation in the pond and puts dissolved oxygen into the water. The air bubbles, which are released at the bottom of the pond with an underwater aerator, provide the natural balance that allows organic matter to decompose and creates a healthy ecosystem for pond life. Subsurface aeration also reduces or completely eliminates the need for regular chemical treatments, which can harm a pond’s natural ecosystem.

Instead, subsurface aeration addresses the underlying causes of problem ponds – stagnant water, scum build-up, unwanted weeds, unhealthy water, etc. – in a simple, environmentally-friendly way. In other words, installing a PondHawk is not a Band-Aid fix, but rather one that gets to the “root” of the issue with a long-term solution. The system also defers the need for dredging by keeping a pond at capacity, thus increasing the lifespan of the pond.

“The PondHawk is the first, fully-integrated, solar-driven subsurface aeration system on the market,” says Sandra Burton, President, and CEO of LINNE Industries. “The system, which eliminates the complications and significant expense of electricity, was designed by a team of highly-skilled people with a solar-industry background. It’s extremely reliable. It’s durable. It’s cost-effective. It’s safe. It requires little maintenance. And it works well in freezing conditions and on cloudy days. Simply put, there are plenty of reasons why we have numerous repeat buyers! Some facilities have installed as many as 10 units for their ponds.”

Thanks to the PondHawk’s stand-alone, self-contained attributes (remember, no connection to the power grid is necessary!), it can be installed nearly anywhere. That distant pond on the far corner of the course that’s tucked away in the forest and miles away from the clubhouse? It’s the perfect place for a PondHawk system. But, obviously, any pond – near or far – with water-quality issues is a fit for a PondHawk® system, which is designed to operate year-round.

The components of the easy-to-install system include the industrial-grade subsurface diffuser, which is mounted on a stainless steel platform, mounting structure and enclosure, solar panel, air compressor, weighted airline, and tubing. Quickrete (for securing the mast foundation) is also included when LINNE Industries handles the install. The entire package weighs just 106 pounds.

Although each system install can be modified to fit the exact size and location of the pond (depending on the size of the pond, sometimes three diffusers will be used for one solar panel, etc.), the solar panel is typically installed to sit approximately six feet above the ground. It’s also tilted at a 30 degree angle to absorb and deliver maximum energy to the system. Other than the air bubbles emanating from the surface of the water, it’s the only visible component of the system, which is the most environmentally-friendly aerator on the market.

The installation, which many courses choose to do on their own, is described as “plug and play.” In other words, it’s a simple process that is typically done in a few hours. The hardest part? Digging a small hole (to support the mast foundation) and a shallow trench that delivers the airline to the water’s edge and down to the diffusers.

And, speaking of “customization,” another appealing option for many courses is the unique leasing option that the company offers. “By leasing a PondHawk system you can forego the capital cost and leverage your cost savings by paying over time,” says Burton. “The terms are flexible and it really makes the system affordable for courses that may not have the budget to buy multiple systems at once. Either way, high electricity bills for your aeration system will be a thing of the past.”

Regardless of whether you purchase or lease, the benefits of a solar-powered PondHawk® system speak for themselves. Healthy and attractive ponds are vital for the aesthetics of the course. And, from an environmental standpoint, the PondHawk is especially appealing. Whether the clientele of your course includes Presidents or paupers, the health of our water – your water! – is something you don’t want to neglect.


Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work has appeared in many leading golf publications throughout North America, including Golf Magazine, Golf Digest, The Golf Channel, Golf Canada, and SCOREGolf Magazine. Contact Andrew at andpenner@shaw.ca

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