The installation of the first course-wide irrigation system on the St Andrews Links is now complete. Each of the six courses and the driving range are now connected to the Toro ‘Sitepro’ system whose individually controlled sprinklers allow greenkeepers to target specific areas and to control precisely how much water is used. Robin Hume Associates designed the system which was installed by TIS Scotland Ltd.
“The new system makes the most of latest technology and really cannot be compared to the irrigation in place previously, which had evolved piecemeal over thirty years,” explained Gordon Moir, Links Manager. “Irrigation is primarily an insurance against extreme weather conditions but it also enables us to target areas which suffer from excessive wear and tear so that they recover more quickly.”
The project was carried out in two phases and cost £2.5m. Phase I took place in the winter of 1998/1999 when sprinklers, pipes and cables were installed on the Eden, Strathtyrum and Balgove Courses. A second storage tank was built and the new pumping system was installed in the pump house. The transfer water main across the Links was put in place. Phase II has just been completed and covers the Old, New and Jubilee Courses and the Golf Practice Centre.
On the Links there are now over 4000 sprinklers; 120,000m (75 miles) of polyethylene pipework; 270,000m (169 miles) of communication and power cables and four boreholes to supply the storage tanks which have a capacity of 3,405 cubic metres (750,000 gallons).
The system has five central controllers including a master computer. Each controller is linked to a weather station to enable accurate forecasting. Greenkeepers can control water flows and sprinklers from wherever they are – at their desk by means of touch-screen controls or in the field. The main pumping system has a capacity of 573 cubic metres per hour (127,000 gallons) with a nightly capacity of 3,780 cubic metres (832,600 gallons).
“It is one of the most extensive and advanced irrigation systems in Europe and will help us continue to maintain the courses in the condition that golfers have now come to expect,” said Mr Moir. “We have 24 hour back-up technical support through Toro NSN, the world-wide training and network support services team.”
St Andrews Links Trust Tel 01334 466666 www.standrews.org.uk