Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blast from the Past (part 3)

At the end of part two I made the statement "Little did I know what I was actually in for though. I found out that making the plans are a lot easier then getting them done." How true this was. We decided to make this a two year venture in order to lessen the impact to our membership and to allow the "New Irrigation System" to get put into place before the work on our greens in order to have a More reliable source of water for the needed grow in.

So we started out 1998 knowing we would be installing the new irrigation system at the end of May, right after our last big tournament of the year. We had a time span of 8-12 weeks to complete the project. We took delivery of an almost new Backhoe around March. I remember about half of the board that thought we were miss-spending the money when we purchased it, after all it was the most this club had ever paid for a single piece of equipment. The doubters were proved wrong time and time again down the road as we were able to do more and more in house projects saving thousands of dollars. I used this machine to expand lakes, dig out the low area between #3 and #18 fairways, expand the sides of the green complexes that were on the greens renovation plans and build a new putting green behind the clubhouse and now to rebuild sand bunkers, remove trees and very large tree stumps as well as using it to start a great composting program.

While we were expanding greens #1, #3, #4, #8, #10, #11, #13, #14, #16, #17 and #18 greens in some fashion or the other by digging here and building there we also had started the new irrigation system which had it's own challenges.

Water Water who needs water

By picking the hottest times of the year we placed ourselves with the problem of keeping water available for our greens while we were basically cutting up the old system. Thank heavens I knew the contractor to some extent and he understood our delima and worked together with us. It basically came down to me giving him his orders for where his crew was working each day. As he finished for the day we came in behind him and made any repairs needed to get water back through our old system. He actually finished in record time despite these issues and me moving him around at will (personally I like to feel that it was my organization that allowed him to finish so fast). Once we got about half way it was time to get the new pump station installed and running. Due to the money savings, I took on the job of planning, building and installing the pump system. I know I caught a lot of heck on my determination to install the new pump house on a hill as it now sits, along with the individual controller boxes. Little known to the others, a few years back when we had a very devastating flood one year in the month of May, I had marked one of the old willow trees behind # 15 green for future reference (I had no clue at the time for what). I transferred the elevations from that record flood across the golf course in case we ever again experienced another flood so we would not lose valuable equipment. To this date we have not had even an inch of water enter our pump house or our controller boxes. They may look kinda silly out there on lone mounds, but they stay dry. Proper planning was the key.
I remember when we finally tied the new pump house into our new system/old system. we were about 70% complete with the installation at the time and really needed to complete that part of the project and test it for problems. We may of had a few minor hiccups but nothing to mention. Eventually the whole system was installed and running.

Let me describe our new system to you. We have a fully automated, computerized irrigation system which has two fifty horsepower main pumps and a twenty-five horse power jockey pump. this system is capable of delivering twelve-hundred gallons per minute of irrigation water through a computer that will maximize the turning on and off of the heads in order to keep the flow as close to the full rate as possible until the program is completed. When I water the entire course over one night it will use 750,000 gallons of water.

Another good thing to know about our system. My water schedule is as followed; Greens first - in order to allow them the most time to dry out by the next morning, Tees second - same reason as the greens, and then fairways come last because they take longer to complete and they generally do not start until after midnight. So if anyone wonders why they do not see the fairways getting watered all they have to do is come out here after midnight. During the summer when it is dry I will water the fairways 5 days a week.

We have now had the new system a total of 11 years with only minor issues and those who were at the course before this was installed already know the dividends it has paid back to the club. Our fairways were always hard as a rock with little grass on them. Now they seem to get better every year. This was one investment that was well worth it.

Coming soon (part 4, the greens are coming)