Sprinkler front of green takes twice the time to make a full turn. Sprinkler at background took too long to come to full pressure. Grass was new planted and cannot tolerate heat stress.
Basics of golf course irrigation system
“let’s make it wet”
Intro Water is 80 -85% of grass plant Important to maintain quality golf. All greens and most tees are irrigated Good golf courses will irrigate fairway some even roughs.
Types of irrigation1. Central control automatic irrigation system2. Stand-alone control automatic irrigation system3. Stand-alone control non-automatic4. Manually operated valves5. Manual Quick Coupler Valves (QCV)
Components1. Water source2. Pump station3. Water distribution pipes (plus valves)4. Control valves5. Control lines (plus controller)6. Sprinkler heads
Why irrigation important Important practice Determines health of plant Too much / too little is problem Dry out the course / makes the course soggy Algae Diseases Life or death Affects play (long or short)
Water source Lake, pond – usually man-made Usually fed by drainage system Sometimes water source is well (underground water) 6 – 700 metres deep. Pumped into reservoir 1st. Rarely river because water quality issues 18 hole Golf course require 2,000 gallons per minute of water flow rate. Caution re particulate matter such as algae, aquatic weeds, sand, debris, fish, frogs, and snails. Effluent water can be used
Particulate materials Organic materials – leaves, sticks, algae etc is problem Use strainers to prevent Sand cause problems in whole irrigation system – slow water, erode, wear and tear faster Use sand separator to prevent Introduced contaminates into the system: when repair of leaking pipes or initial installation More care and flushing after repair is the solution.
Automatic irrigation system Is essentially fixed sprinklers automatically activated by control valves at times preset on a controller. The times may be from beginning to finish – full automatic Or beginning is manual activated and ending is at times preset. Maybe centrally controlled Or on a few ‘satellites’ which are ‘stand-alone’
Pump station Draw water from source Release water into system as needed Pump house Wet-well / pit Sometimes pump-house over the source
Water distribution system Pipe – permanently underground Large pipes at station and became smaller and smaller Pressure rating – estimated maximum pressure water in pipe that pipe won’t fail. PVC – poly vinyl chloride PE – poly ethylene. Cheaper than PVC but weaker. GI – galvanized iron
Control Valves Valves – to release water either into lines or into valves. Manually open or closing Or remotely by Hydraulic switches Electrically operated solenoid Three important places At distribution lines At sprinklers At pump station
Control valve Delivery to sprinkler Valve-in-head (VIH) Block system Valve at distribution lines Gate valves / isolation valves Drain valves – to drain a line Pressure-relief valves Air-valves / vacuum-relief valve Valve at pump station Foot valve – at intake pipe Discharge valve A check valve
Controller Vital component – starts and stops the valves Automatic system – needs a clock One controller has many stations. One station is one valve. One valve is one sprinkler (VIH) or many (block) May be controlled via Central Controller Or on its own – Stand-alone Satellite controller
Sprinkler heads Many types: Fixed spray, pop-up, bubblers, strip, rotary. Golf course is rotary and pop-up Mostly 360 degrees turn.
Fertigation Chemical injected into irrigation system Proportioner pump Adjust rates Key to succeed is uniform application Must remember about effect of chemical on system!
Operation No perfect irrigation system Needs expertise to operate Most golf courses are over-irrigated (at least greens are) The pressure to get soft greens and green, lush grass Bad practice or no knowledge by Supt Limitation s or bad design of irrigation system
operation Too often irrigation is by habit or by calendar Should be according to turfgrass needs. Assess : soil moisture levels at key sites Temperature, humidity Cloud cover Wind conditions ET rate Rainfall over next few days. then only decide to water or not to water
When to irrigate By observing water status1. in turf by: Foot printing technique Signs of actual wilt2. In soil by: Soil probe 8 inch deep at various locations Tensiometer to measure soil moisture Preferably early morning
When to irrigateDon’t water in afternoon because1. Bad distribution due to high winds2. Water loss due to evaporation3. Inconvenience to golfers4. Leaf and soil moist easier to get infected plus algae
syringing Very light, mid-day watering To relief stress due to wilt or heat. Maybe even 2x a day. Must be visual inspection before decide