Understanding irrigation

As we enter a spell of prolonged dry weather, how well do you understand the principles of irrigation, and the intricacies of a system that could be costing your club thousands of pounds in inefficiencies?

In this presentation to the GCMA Principles of Golf Club Management course, Rain Bird’s Alastair Higgs offers a deep dive into the key principles of irrigation in golf, how you can ensure your system is working effectively, and the steps you need to take if you’re considering procuring a new system.

According to a 2019 survey, two-thirds of clubs had irrigation systems from the last century, and 45% of systems were over 25 years old, suggesting that a number of club are reached, or are well past, the point where they should be considering new, or upgraded systems.

‘As a golf club manager,’ Alastair explains, ‘your irrigation system is your biggest working capital item, most expensive machine and controller of club’s biggest asset.

‘Your understanding and appreciation for the maintenance, expense and effects on your customers – both today and in the future – will allow you and your club the best chance of success.’

Alastair explains how Rain Bird’s trademarked motto, ‘The Intelligent Use of Water’, can be broken down in to four key tenets:

  • Maximise efficiency of all available inputs
  • Increased productivity and effectiveness of greenstaff
  • Improve the condition and playability of the course
  • Enhanced experience for players

Looking at the impact of your irrigation system on your customer, and whether your system is set up and running efficiently, Alastair poses these questions, arguing that if you know the answers, you are in a position to make informed decisions about the future of your irrigation system.

  •   How much does golf course irrigation cost your club each year?
  •   What do you spend on preventative maintenance and upgrades?
  •   How does the club measure water usage and electricity?
  •   What is your approach to risk management and disaster planning?
  •   How can you use new technologies to drive irrigation system efficiencies?

Pointing to case study from Auchterarder, who transformed their course with a new system after an unprecedented heatwave left them on the brink, Alastair highlights the six stage process to procuring irrigation systems:

  • Evaluate the course needs in house
  • Irrigation evaluation
  • Master planning, irrigation system design and specification
  • Choosing your team
  • Selecting your irrigation partners
  • Managing the impact

Thanks to Rain Bird, if you are a full UK member of the GCMA you can request an evaluation your irrigation system. Water is the lifeblood of your golf course, especially during the playing season, but is your irrigation system helping, or hindering, playability, performance and public relations? Do you know what your irrigation system is really costing your club? A complimentary site visit and comprehensive report compiled by an experienced irrigation professional will help you;

  • Understand your irrigation infrastructure and how well your system is set up
  • Identify risks and factors affecting efficiency and performance
  • Consider future resource requirements, changing legislation, and benefits of new technologies
  • Plan system optimisation, upgrading, extension, or replacement

Watch the full webinar now:

By GCMA Content Team

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