Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, Hertfordshire, has become the latest venue to benefit from Toro’s Golf Decoder Controller (GDC) irrigation system.
The 18-hole course is known as the ‘home of the Ryder Cup’ after Samuel Ryder first conceived the idea for the famous tournament while playing at Verulam. But the club now has a further tie to the tournament – state-of-the-art Toro irrigation products as used at past and upcoming Ryder Cup UK venues, including 2014 host Gleneagles.
The Toro GDC field hardware and SitePro central control system software were specified by irrigation consultant Adrian Mortram from Robin Hume Associates and installed by contractor MJ Abbott. Club manager Robin Farrer says that the new greens and tees irrigation system is a far cry from the previous system, which – at 25 years of age – had reached the end of its useful life.
As he explains: “We decided we needed to do something about our ailing Toro system some five years ago. The pipes had started leaking, the sprinkler heads had become inaccurate and you couldn’t water the greens or tees without surrounding walkways and shrubs getting drenched – it was wasting a lot of water. After organising the finance and overcoming some planning issues, we finally had the system installed last year and we’re pleased to have upgraded.”
Due to this year’s washout summer, Robin says that course manager Chris Carpenter and his team have had limited use of the system so far. But Robin is sure of one thing – with Verulam using a mains water supply, the new system’s improved efficiency will bring significant water savings. “Our watering is now more focused and concentrated,” he continues. “Our old system watered by the minute, but being able to water by the millimetre is much more precise. We pay by the cubic metre, so we’ll certainly be making savings.”
Adrian Mortram’s specification includes Toro DT35 Series dual trajectory sprinklers for the greens so that Chris has the flexibility to apply water to other areas of the course and alter the arcs. “The strategic sprinkler layout has certainly made for more efficient watering,” Robin adds.
Robin also reports that Chris is getting on well with the SitePro PC-operated control system. “Chris used a wallmount system at his previous club, but says that the move to PC has made life easier and he finds it more user-friendly. He’s particularly looking forward to getting trained up on the map function as he expects that to be a very useful tool. Overall he’s looking forward to getting full use of the system in the coming summers.”