Saltford is an established, renowned 18-hole parkland course which varies dramatically in topography across its profile. Its 18-holes lie on a clay-based topsoil overlaying rock, which presents its own challenges regarding the installation of projects such as an irrigation system upgrade.
The club appointed me (Roger Davey, managing director of independent irrigation consultants, Irritech) to fully evaluate its existing irrigation system, and then to design, specify, place to tender and oversee the installation of the new system.
In close liaison with the club’s course manager, Ian McFarlane, I designed a new system for 18 greens, tees, and approaches sized for future fairway irrigation. This design was mapped onto a GPS/satellite image of the golf course and then, complete with a full bill of materials, placed with four irrigation contractors for pricing. Irrigation Control Limited, of Cheshire, were subsequently awarded the contract for the supply and installation of the new irrigation system using Toro equipment.
Irrigation Control have their own large fleet of company-owned installation machinery, ranging from 20hp mole plough/trenchers through to a new rubber-tracked Ditch Witch HT115. The company’s HT115 is unique in that it’s the only one in the world designed and developed by Ditch Witch Special Projects Division to meet Irrigation Control’s specification, enabling the quick change over of the mole plough, trencher and rock wheel attachments.
An even larger fleet of auxiliary equipment and machinery from the latest Polaris Ranger ATVs through to excavators, rollers and tractors support the plough, trenching and rock wheeling machines within the Irrigation Control fleet. However, it was primarily the Ditch Witch HT115 machine fitted with a rock wheel that was selected for the project by their managing director Phil Breakey. This was because the rock wheel linked to the 115bhp machine produced a very precise and narrow trenchline, cutting through the rock like a knife through butter, producing a clean edge to the trenchline and a pipe bedding material in accordance with the strict specification document.
Irrigation Control had an eight-man crew on site, project managed by Lee Knight and site foreman Rick Roberts, who both have extensive experience of working on large-scale irrigation projects for the company throughout Europe.
Another influencing factor in the selection of the successful contractor was the quality of Toro equipment proposed to meet Irritech’s specification, comprising: a Toro Gemini control system; Toro 835/834 56 series (adjustable trajectory angle) electric valve-in-head sprinklers for greens and approaches; Toro 2.5mm 2-core signal cable (providing a 10-year warranty on the control system); Toro P220 solenoid valves with EZ reg pressure regulators; and Toro 2001 Series sprinklers for the tee areas. All underground pipelines were supplied as High Performance Polyethylene and Medium Density Polyethylene; installed to achieve a minimum cover of approximately 600mm over the mainline pipes.
In all, approximately 14km of pipe and 17km of cable were installed over a terrain varying approximately 40 metres in height difference, which presented the design with its own problems to ensure that enough pressure was available at each point of irrigation, with some areas requiring pressure regulation.
The club can now independently control the application of water, via the PC-based Gemini control system, to each specific fine turf area and subsequently adjust coverage within each area via the electric valve-in-head sprinklers.
This, coupled with the Toro radio remote control unit, provides Saltford Golf Club with full remote accessibility and ease of operation as well as a unique, 10-year Toro decoder warranty for full peace of mind.
Toro Irrigation products are distributed in the UK by Lely (UK) Limited, Station Road, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 1QH; tel: 01480 226800 website: www.toro.com
Irritech Limited www.irritechlimited.co.uk
Toro Irrigation www.toro.com