The second phase of the installation of the £2.5m computerised irrigation system will begin this autumn on the Links – on the Old, New and Jubilee Courses. When complete it will be the first time in its history that the whole Links has had an integrated irrigation system. It will have over 100 miles of pipeline together with 4000 sprinklers or ‘pop-ups’.
The new system is one of the most advanced in the world and will bring significant benefits to the Links. Although primarily an insurance against drought conditions, it helps with course re-instatement, as Gordon Moir, head greenkeeper of the Eden Course where the system is up and running, explains:
“Having control over individual sprinklers enables us to target specific areas which require irrigation – such as tops of mounds which dry out and worn areas which have been seeded. This both ensures maximum effectiveness and reduces water wastage.”
Installation on the Old, New and Jubilee Courses will start after the Dunhill Cup and should be complete by 31 March 2001. As much work as possible is being carried out during the routine annual maintenance closures. Whenever possible no work will be carried out on any of the three courses on Thursdays and Saturdays to allow club medals and competitions to take place. Work on the Old Course is also scheduled for Sundays throughout the winter. Inevitably, however, there will be disruption to play.
Work is scheduled to be carried out on one course at a time. In October it will be the New Course, while the Old Course will be worked on in December and January, and the Jubilee Course in February and March.
The Old Course will be affected for some seven playing days in December and January. Although the course will remain open for play, it will not be 18 holes on those days. The ballot will operate as normal.
The Links Trust has apologised in advance for the inconvenience and has promised that regular updates will be available throughout the winter.