Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Final Phase

 Installing the lateral pipe and sprinkler heads took about 60 days starting on June 29th and ending on September 8th.  It was a challenging time to say the least.  We had a full golf schedule, record heat, and it didn't rain one single day during that period.  In fact, we had 80 plus consecutive days without rainfall which is the longest stretch on record.  You might say this was bad luck given the project at hand, but it was perfect weather for pulling and fusing together HDPE pipe.  It also gave us the opportunity to see the superior performance of the new system.  Each day, parts of the old system were abandoned, and replaced with the new system.  After a week or so on the new system, each area became more uniform in health and color, almost like magic.

Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on #13

Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on #11
Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on #16
Here we are on #8.  I love this photo because it shows us using the new irrigation system near the green which was installed t he day before, and it also shows us watering with the old system in the area where the new system is about to be installed.

Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on #9
Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on #2.
Hand watering fairways.  This was a common scene throughout the project as many of sprinklers on the old system weren't functioning correctly following the mainline installation.
As the project progressed, more and more of the old systems power supply and communication was damaged by the "plowing in" of laterals.  Since the plowing process leaves no visible evidence of the damage taking place, it was just something we had to work with and many times we had to use a generator in order to run water.  This is when it would have been nice to have a couple cooler days with some rain, but that never happened.
The plowing of laterals was much more disruptive than we anticipated.  Because of our gravelly soils and shallow rooted grasses, we had a lot of heaving and buckling of the surface.  We tried changing the plow blade type, angle, vibrations speed, etc. and nothing really helped.  One things for sure, and that was the damage got worse in the drier areas, so we really tried to make sure and water heavy those areas the day before we plowed into them.
Here's a picture of 14 fairway 6 weeks after we plowed in the laterals.  Not too bad really, and of course today it's almost impossible to see any evidence of the plowing process.
The practice putting green is so big that one lateral was run into the middle of it.  There is actually two heads on this lateral, and within the putting surface.

Installing laterals and sprinkler heads on the driving range.  We used to have about 30 heads on the driving range.  It was definitely an area where the old irrigation system was deficient. In fact you can see in this picture just how much of the area was not adequately irrigated.  With the new system we have over 150 sprinkler heads on the driving range.  This is a huge improvement which will now finally give us the ability to have a sizable sod nursery at the end of the range near the old 18th tee.

After all the new irrigation was installed, our weather station was put together.  This is going to be a great tool for optimizing the performance of the new irrigaiton system.  The weather station will use wind, temperature, and other data to generate a daily ET number.  The ET stands for evapotranspiration and that is all the water which is lost from the soil during a given day.  The idea is if we know the ET then we know exactly how much water to apply in order to replace that which is lost.  When we know that then we know how much water to apply if we want to dry the course down, or soften the course in preparation for a heat wave. 

The last job was a final run through of the entire golf course making sure every old sprinkler head was removed.
Lastly, In case you didn't know, during the mainline installation we included new drinking water lines, and added power lines to improve our restroom facilities on #2 and #6.  I'm not sure what year these structures were built, but they have never had an electric power supply.  The restroom on #6 at one time had propane heat but that has long been inopperable.

So that concludes this blog which outlines the Clubs new irrigation system.  Here's a picture of the Landscapes Unlimited team loaded up and moving on to the next job.  I will never forget this project.  Four years of planning and many people to thank for exceptional implementation.  Thank you to the Club members, and Board of Directors for having the courage to push forward with this endeavor during the uncertain times of the pandemic.  Finally, I personally need to thank Jose Acosta who led the Landscapes Unlimited team with the installation.  He is an amazing man and an expert at his craft in every way.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sprinkler Head Installation


The last section of mainline installation was through #1 tee and down 18 fairway.

The final step of the mainline installation was the flushing of the line in order to get out any unwanted debris.  Here's a video of the final flush.

With the mainline finished it was finally time to start installing sprinklers.  We started on the far south end of the property since that was the easiest way to cut off the old system's water and power as we worked back to the north end where the power and water originates.  The first step in pulling laterals is to dig a hole at each point where a sprinkler head is to go.  

After that the lateral pipe is pulled at a depth of 18" through several of these holes using a vertical plow.  Check out this video of the process.
More often than we would like, the plow catches a pipe from the old system and instead of cutting through it, the blade just hooks it, and the old pipe starts to get pulled into the new plow line which causes all kinds of ugly surface disruption. 
The crew stops plowing when this happens and then they dig down to cut the old pipe and free up the plow blade. 

With the pipe now pulled into place, the team goes back to each hole that they had previously dug, and they install the sprinklers.  Here's a picture from the first day of this process where the team is getting a lesson on how this is done.  
Most of the team members have installed countless sprinkler heads on previous projects, but for some of them this is the first time.   
Each sprinkler head has a solenoid that is equipped with a unique address denoted by a series of numbers or letters.

At the end of each day I'm given a sheet which shows all the new addresses that I need to add into the computer.  Some days this can be as many as 60+ new spinkler heads, or addresses that need to be inputed into the software.
When you get everything inputed and the computer acknwledges each individual address or sprinkler, then you can immediately start watering.  Here's a picture of some of the first sprinklers that we got running on the new system.  It was a sight to behold.

Friday, June 18, 2021


 All of May was spent installing mainline and restoring those "out of play" areas damaged by the tree removal phase of the project.  We applied hydroseed to about 50,000 square feet of area.

The hydroseed has a blend of annual ryegrass, turf type tall fescue, and chewings fescue.

Charging up and flushing some sections of the new HDPE mainline.

This narrow area behind 15 green was tricky since there was already stuff in the ground there like sewer, gas, power, and of course irrigation pipe. 

It was really wet the day the LU team was behind 11 green.  I thought the soft conditions would result in a lot of turf damage but they did a great job of cleaning up.  

This was the first section of pipe that they had to fuse togther in the trench.  It was facinating since part of the fusion machine is designed to be lifted off and placed in the trench when necessarry.  This was 8" pipe that crossed over 10 fairway and this fusion occured near 10 fairway bunker.

Brent Harvey came into town recently to get ready for the next phase which is pulling laterals.  This is when the sprinkler heads go in.  In this picture you can see them using that GPS stick thingy to pin point each sprinkler head location.  We made a lot on in field adjustments around the trees to try and get the best coverage and also minimize damge to the trees.

Now you can see the little feather things on the ground which mark the location of the new sprinkler heads.  

There are at least two feather things together around the greens.  This is how we achieve complete control of the firmness of the greens since one sprinkler only waters the green and the other only waters the surrounding area.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Mainline

 In April we started the mainline installation.  Click HERE for a map of the mainline. The pipe size ranges from 6" to 12" and all of the pipe is HDPE which lasts much longer than PVC pipe.