Worcester Golf & Country Club invested in a new, easy to use, Rain Bird system and have not looked back since. At GCMA 2021 Conference, they'll reveal all. But here's a flavour of how the transformation happened... Close to the Malvern Hills yet only a stone’s throw from the city centre, Worcester Golf & Country Club at Boughton Park is a parkland course originally designed by Dr Alister Mackenzie in 1927. With an inefficient 30-year-old irrigation system only covering course greens, General Manager Jon Holloway decided the time was right to take advantage of the free irrigation system evaluation offered by Rain Bird to GCMA members. Being sand-based, some course areas could be very dry in summer so the ideal solution would initially expand irrigation to cover greens, approaches and surrounds and then tees and fairways if funding could be found at a later time. Specialist irrigation consultant Roger Davey, Managing Director of Irritech, carried out a comprehensive evaluation in July 2018 identifying short-term solutions, addressing the pump house which needed immediate attention, as well as highlighting longer term requirements. He explains: “An appraisal provides a complete overview of the existing irrigation system arrangement and configuration, from pump station to sprinklers, including health & safety, allowing the club to plan for future requirements”. The evaluation results and recommendations were presented to members at the club AGM and well received. The club began researching different system solutions, visiting several courses locally and also sought advice from independent agronomist Peter Jones. BOOK NOW FOR GCMA 2021 CONFERENCE Irritech was commissioned to develop a full tender specification and bill of materials and in October 2019 the contract was awarded to North Staffs Irrigation, with work scheduled to begin in January 2020. The project got off to a very good start but as the UK went into lockdown in March due to Covid-19, plans were totally disrupted. By the time restrictions eased, allowing work to continue, ground conditions made installation much more challenging. Director at North Staffs Irrigation, Andy Hinchliffe explains: “We began very well, in spite of the ground being so wet with all the spring rain that we had to use a machine with tracks instead of tyres. "With restrictions in place, only two of us in a bubble could work at one time and the rest of our team had to be furloughed. We carried on as best we could but as the weather got warmer and drier, we faced 30-degree temperatures which turned the ground rock solid. "Making progress inevitably took longer and excavation required a digger which meant even more disruption to the turf. We set up temporary hosepipes to allow turf to be watered. Three greens on almost solid clay ground were so dry, the surface had visibly cracked. In the end, we got there, helped along by good rapport between everyone involved. And now, the turf has fully recovered and looks amazing”. BOOK NOW FOR GCMA 2021 CONFERENCE The club invested over £400k which included Rain Bird Central and single head control for 450 rotors with an advanced IC System™ backed by a GSP support plan. Rain Bird 751 Series rotors were installed on the 20 greens and surrounds and with additional available funding, Rain Bird 950 and 551 Series rotors on all 18 tees. The existing borehole supply for the lake was also enhanced with a new pump providing a feed into a new tank. The new system was finally commissioned in October 2020 and has been fully operational since March 2021. Club Director Andy Baker reports that the club is certainly reaping the benefits of installing a new, easy to use Rain Bird system. "We used to irrigate at various time intervals but by being able to water in cubic millimetres, we're using the same amount of water overall but covering a far larger area. "Given it's only been operational for six months, we've made adjustments along the way to ensure the system is working at its...
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