James Schumacher, ATI President, Speaker at International Golf Forum Usage of Water Resource in Shenzhen, China

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James Schumacher, President of Aqua Turf International, Inc. (ATI) was one of several speakers at the 2015 International Usage of Water Resources Golf Forum held at Kylin Resort in Shenzhen, China on October 27 – 28, 2015.   The Forum was the vision of and keenly sponsored by the Forward Group and Supported by Landscapes Unlimited. Co-supporting the event were the Beijing Forestry University, the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Rain Bird and Jacobsen. Other speakers included:

Dr. Bernd Leinauer – New Mexico State University Turfgrass Extension and Research Professor

Dr. Jia Shaofeng – Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources

Mr. Patrick J. Gross – Director USGA Southwest Green Section

Ms. Gan Yiping – Renowned Wastewater Researcher and Author

Mr. Rick Robbins – Past President of the American Society of Golf Course Architects

Mr. Christopher P. May – International Management Group (IMG)

Mr. Eric Boedeker – GCSAA Lead International Developer

Mr. Changjun Wang – Beijing Pan-China Sports Co. Ltd.

International Golf Forum Usage of Water Resource

The conference focused on the key issues regarding water use efficiency specifically as it relates to golf. Several topics were discussed such as alternate turf types, alternate water sources, water use efficiency, effluent water use in China, water use regulations and irrigation design and efficiency.

Mr. Schumacher spoke specifically about irrigation design techniques and how irrigation design techniques affect water use efficiency, pitfalls to avoid, as well as system operation and water management by the superintendent.

The Chinese government has recently imposed water use allotments for golf courses, water use monitoring and other measures that have increased the cost of water. These measures have created a greater interest in water management and water use efficiency. Hopefully these measures will result in the installation of highly efficient irrigation systems well managed by the superintendents and other golf course operators, ensuring optimum use of one of our most precious resources.

The conference was well attended by golf course operators, superintendents, media, and others interested in professional water use.

GroupJim 1Speaker ListPanelInternational Golf Forum Usage of Water Resource

China golf: Communist Party bans club membership

China golf: Communist Party bans club membership 22 October 2015

The move to ban party members from obtaining, holding or using memberships to golf clubs is very unfortunate. Golf is the most noble game in the world, players call penalties on themselves and are expected to respect others by employing proper etiquette, manners and courtesy while on the course. Rather than banning access to these virtuous activities China would be better served in promoting membership. The problem is the people and not the golf course. Banning membership for all in an effort to prevent the few bad apples from illegal activities is counterproductive. Catch the culprits and punish them. Don’t preclude the others from the benefits of the noble game.

Hopefully the leaders of the international golf community can use their influence to educate those in charge to rethink the new policy for the betterment of all. In no other sport can people of all ages, sexes, and skill levels play together and enjoy themselves in a wholesome and healthy activity with beautiful nature all around. A grandfather can play together with his son, grandson and granddaughter. Is this a bad thing that should be banned?

I suggest the powers at be read the “Golfers Creed”, written by David R. Forgan in 1899 and then reconsider. The world and China would be better places if more people played golf!!

Golfer’s Creed

Golf is a science-the study of a lifetime, in which you may exhaust yourself but never your subject.

It is a contest, a duel or melee, calling for courage, skill, strategy and self-control.

It is a test of temper, a trial of honor, a revealer of character.

It affords the chance to play the man, and act the gentleman.

It means going into God’s out-of-doors, getting close to nature, fresh air, exercise, a sweeping away of the mental cobwebs, genuine recreation of the tired tissues.

It is a cure for care-an antidote to worry.

It includes companionship with friends, social intercourse, opportunity for courtesy, kindliness and generosity to an opponent.

It promotes not only physical health but moral force.

Jim Schumacher

Laem Chabang International Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand

Laem Chabang International Country Club System Analysis and Long Range Planning

James Schumacher, President of ATI, recently visited Laem Chabang International Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand outside Bangkok to perform a System Analysis. Laem Chabang International Country Club is a 22 year old 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Design. Even though the club is still one of the most popular courses in the area, they are wisely still looking for ways to improve the quality of the golf course and the operating efficiency at the same time. The System Analysis was needed to evaluate how the current system affects the turf and course playability whilst identifying any operational inefficiencies. After the System Analysis is complete a Long Range Plan can then be defined and budgets established.   The irrigation system, even though well designed for the time, is becoming a limiting factor to the turf maintenance program and wasteful in a few critical areas such as water power and labor. There have been many significant changes in irrigation technology over the last 22 years such as variable frequency drive VFD pump stations and control system enhancements that were not on the market at the time. The System Analysis and Long Range Plan will identify the weaknesses in the system and offer recommendations for improvements. Sean Quinn from Nicklaus Design will be making a visit to the course in the near future to advise on any course design issues that need to be addressed as well.

Laem Chabang International Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand

Laem Chabang International Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand.

During the site analysis, the entire system was inspected and the following criteria evaluated:

  • Water Sources Water Quality and Availability
  • Water Storage and Irrigation Requirements
  • Pump Stations
  • Pipe, Fittings and Valves
  • Sprinklers and Coverage
  • Control System and Wiring
  • Desired Standards of Operation
  • Original Installation
  • Maintenance Procedures and History
  • System Performance, Reliability and Limitations
  • Turf Needs and Soil Conditions

Laem Chabang International Country Club has engaged the services of Mr. Hamish McKendrick to advise the course on their turf maintenance and general operations. He has been extremely valuable in guiding the course to a position to enhance its competitiveness with the new courses built since the club was established in 1994. He quickly realized that irrigation may be limiting and contacted ATI to provide the necessary irrigation analysis, consulting and design.

Ridding Bees From Irrigation Valve Boxes

Bees building their hives in irrigation boxes is a somewhat common occurrence many places around the world.  They like the cool, dry, safe nature inside the box. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous for staff when they forget to check before opening. Always check the valve box by tapping the top first to insure the box is not inhabited prior to opening. Bees can be dangerous to golfers and others nearby as well when they begin to swarm. In some areas such as Florida and the coastal plains of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana some bees have become Africanized making them more aggressive and dangerous. Africanized honey bee colonies produce 4 to 8 swarms per year compared to the 1 or occasionally 2 produced by European colonies.

Ridding Bees From Irrigation Valve BoxesSo how do we get rid of them?

There are many different types of products available to eradicate a bee’s nest colony.  However, live bee removal and relocation helps the environment. A bee keeper will remove an established colony and relocate the colony to a suitable location, by carefully removing the hive by hand, and thoroughly cleaning the area to ensure that no honey residue or hive structure is left behind. He will then relocate the bees to give them a place to live where they can thrive. By doing so not only will the bees not return to the same location, the colony is preserved and the bees are able to continue their work.

Preventing them from finding your irrigation valve box as an attractive new home is the best Ridding Bees From Irrigation Valve Boxesmethod.   Prohibiting access to the irrigation boxes by filling the lock hole where they enter and exit with expandable foam sealant such as GREAT STUFF ™ Insulating Foam Sealant can help. Seal all the boxes and make sure your irrigation technician keeps a can handy so it can be replaced each time the box is opened. A small amount will fill the hole and force the bees to find a home elsewhere.Ridding Bees From Irrigation Valve Boxes


“Keeping Africanized Honey Bees Out of Wildlife Nest Boxes” – William H. Kern, Jr. and Caroline Efstation – University of Florida – IFAS

Lehigh Acres Gazette – http://lehighacresgazette.info/news/bees-bees-in-the-water-meter-boxes/

Raevo Golf Club Nearing Completion

Raevo Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design just outside of Moscow is quickly nearing completion. Grass was planted on the final two holes last week and only completion of a small chipping area remains.  James Schumacher, President of ATI was on site July 9 – 15 to inspect the irrigation installation on the final 6 holes. Also, a final irrigation punch list for the other 12 holes and practice area that have already been grown-in was preformed. The irrigation system design utilizes a hard-line style with part circle sprinklers along the turf perimeters of each rough A hard-line sprinkler layout style saves water, reduces weeds and excessive growth of the native grass.   The golf course was constructed and irrigation system installed by Protcion from Moscow.

Raevo Golf Club Nearing Completion - The construction team of professionals

The construction team of professionals include from left Derek Grenkowski – Golf Course Superintendent, Alexeey Sergeev – Protcion Construction Manager, Stanislav Mulyavka -Protcion Construction Manager, Butch LaPorte – Raevo Construction Manager, James Schumacher – ATI President & Irrigation Consultant.

The system features a Toro Lynx GDC off – fairway decoder control system with individual control of each sprinkler. The system utilizes AquaFuse HDPE pipe with the materials and on-site HDPE training provided by CMF Global.  The 465m3 per hour pump station is manufactured by Watertronics. The pump station is uniquely hidden From sight and play in a building surrounded and covered by mounding.  Even though the pump station slab is at fairway level the pump station is hidden from view from virtually every angle.

Raevo Golf Club - Entrance to Pumping Station

Entrance to Pumping Station

Raevo Golf Club - Pump Station Totally Hidden From View

Pump Station Totally Hidden From View

ATI provided the irrigation system design, construction layout and inspection, as-built developmentATI provided the irrigation system design, construction layout and inspection, as-built development and central computer programming with the keen help of Derek Grenkowski and Protcion.

The system layout was performed using the survey method in coordination with Protcion.   Oleg Pyzyak with Protcion was instrumental in providing timely and highly accurate surveys of the grass lines laid out by Dirk Bouts of Nicklaus Design. The sprinkler design was then re-designed by ATI in the computer. The sprinkler locations were then laid out by Oleg using the same survey method.  This method based on the actually grass lines and features allows the designer to analyze several sprinkler layout options before selecting the optimum layout.  Learn more about the benefits and procedures involved with the survey Staking by reading the Survey Method Staking Blog dated July 27, 2015.

ATI is very proud to have been part of the team at Raevo Golf Club.

Raevo Golf Club will be opening for play in 2016.Raevo Golf Club will be opening for play in 2016.

Survey Method Staking

Aqua Turf International utilizes a new and improved sprinkler system layout method that insures the best and most efficient sprinkler layout done that can be accomplished in an expeditious manner by making optimal use of the personnel and equipment already available on site . The process has been very successfully implemented on projects in the US, Bulgaria, Bahamas, China, Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and around the world.

Simply stated, the process is as follows:

  1. After shaping is approval and grass lines have been marked by the architect, the Contractor will coordinate the surveying of all the features necessary for the process such as the grass lines and perimeter of the greens , tees, bunkers, water features and cart paths. The dwg file is then provided to ATI either while on site or via email depending on the site schedule and services contracted.
  2. ATI will then re-layout the sprinkler and satellite locations in the computer and return the “As-Staked” drawing to the Contractor. The “As-Staked” drawing then becomes the foundation for the “as-built” drawing. At the same time ATI also prepares a sprinkler tracking sheet showing any add and deducts in the sprinkler quantity of each hole. This number is mostly influenced by the actual grass lines, shapes and locations of features. Some holes tend to get a little bigger and some a little smaller based on the architects important field changes to the golf course design.
  3. Prior to an ATI visit, the contractor will layout the   “As-Staked” drawing and stake the locations of the sprinklers and satellites from our “As-Staked” drawing. Our site visits should be scheduled if possible to coincide with this process. If the project is on a fast track this method allows the Contractor to continue if needed without a site visit if time is of the essence. Once the site personnel are experienced in the process it is very easily implemented.Survey Method Staking
  4. During the site visit ATI will check the staking and make field adjustments as necessary. Adjustments are typically minimal leaving more time for the important tasks of inspection and plan interpretation.
  5. After the staking is finalized, any changes should then be re-surveyed. The stakes can remain until installation or pulled and resurveyed later if they are in the way and installation may not happen soon.
  6. As soon as possible after the site visit ATI will email the updated “As-Staked” drawing to include station numbering and ID’s. If a decoder system is used this allows for prompt programming of the computer which is critical. Additionally a Sprinkler Tracking Spreadsheet is supplied to account for any differences between the design and as-staked quantities.

Survey Method Staking is a more productive and efficient method when compared to the traditional tape method. Survey Method Staking allows ATI to totally redesign the system by using the computer which allows us to more efficiently layout the sprinklers than with tapes. Using the computer can allow for several variations to be tried until the best sprinkler layout is determined. This is not realistic to expect with tapes in the field. The method is especially beneficial on hard-line type systems since the triangular grid can be rotated in the computer to best align along the longest straight grass line. In this fashion fewer sprinklers are required since the most sprinklers are along the grass line requiring less backup part circle sprinklers. This would be impossible to do as efficiently with tapes in the field.

Step 1_Survey_Example

Step 1 Survey Example – Contractor provides to ATI

Step 2_As-staked_layout_Example

Step 2 As-Staked Layout – ATI provides to Contractor to layout with the same survey equipment.

Step 3_Final_as-staked_Example

Step 3 Final As-staked – ATI provides to Contractor for installation.

Step  4_Spk Tracking Sheet_001

Step 4 Sprinkler Tracking Spreadsheet – ATI provides to Contractor after inspection.

As-Built Drawing and Programming then follow.

 Survey Method Staking produces the best possible sprinkler layout because:

  • The view from above the hole in AutoCAD takes the guess work out of staking.
  • We can set the baseline and rotate the triangular grid as needed to fit any hard-line edges reducing the amount of backup sprinklers on a hard-line system. This results in the fewest number and most beneficial placement of sprinklers.
  • Eliminates the inherent distortion and human error of dragging tapes or ropes across fairways and over mounds sometimes in high wind.
  • Often the construction is incomplete when layout is needed such as drainage so portions of the hole cannot be accessed with tapes.
  • Much less weather dependent.
  • The contractor immediately has an accurate as-staked plan to work from and the grass lines supplied by the architect in the field are immediately archived.
  • A solid foundation is laid for the construction record drawing.
  • Flags that get knocked out during drainage installation or from shaping adjustments can easily be surveyed back in the original location.
  • More flexible in regards to the schedule and site visits since holes can be done individually if needed. Also, if design changes are made after staking, a new layout can be done easily by repeating this process for just that hole.
  • No need to stake holes far in advance of installation since the process can be done remotely if needed. However, ideally Survey Method Staking is done in conjunction with ATI site visits.
  • Time during visits can be better spent on inspection and plan interpretation than pulling tapes!

Getting everyone off to a good start with and understanding of the process is helpful. For Survey Method Staking to work best it is essential that all features including greens well, bunker edges, tee tops, water features, cart paths and grass lines are surveyed new and nothing from the architects original design copied or referenced in. It is also important that the accurate inside edge of the cart path be properly identified. Sprinklers along the cart paths should always be installed last in any regard to insure they are properly aligned along the edge of the path as the final cart path edges are nearly impossible to define prior to their construction.

There may come a time when only one or two holes are ready to stake and the time and cost doesn’t justify a site visit from ATI. In this case, the same procedure will work; ATI just might not get a chance to field approve prior to installation. However, by that time in the project a good working relationship with the Irrigation Supervisor and Site Coordinator should be formed and all parties can work together to make any minor field adjustments.

The number of ATI site visits can be tailored to the needs of the project. ATI visits should include a pre-construction meeting and the final walk through. At a minimum four visits for inspection should be allotted.   Of course additional trips can be made as approved. Each staking trip will include inspection of the work performed a site report and an update of the sprinkler tracking spreadsheet. Also, the contractor should provide the as-built field notes of each hole with the station numbers and pipe routings as soon as the irrigation on the hole is completed so ATI can prepare the final construction record drawing (As-Built) drawing. This allows for timely programming of the irrigation computer which can be beneficial for a speedy grow-in. This is especially important for decoder systems that are 100% reliant on the central computer to operate.

Please note that various flag colors are required to represent different irrigation components. This will prevent rouge flags being installed as sprinklers. There are many flags on a construction site and the irrigation flags should be unique, easily identifiable and a separate color used for each model and nozzle size. The grass lines should be painted in a distinctive color paint or a different color flag than used for irrigation flags.

Consider Survey Method Staking by ATI for your next project.

Better Water Systems

In the coming years, many factors will influence golf course irrigation design, construction and operation. Irrigation consultant Michael J. Krones, Ph. D, outlines what the industry can expect to see over the next decade and beyond.

Irrigation consultant Michael J. Krones, Ph. D.

Irrigation consultant Michael J. Krones, Ph. D.

Advances in technology and agronomy will continue to result in changes in golf course irrigation design, construction, and operation. Irrigation water availability and climate change are the most critical driving factors behind these changes. The public’s interest in golf and its expectations for the appearance and playability of the course will also continue to have impacts on irrigation design.

Technological and agronomic advances will be adopted based on the function of golf course irrigation: promotion of a healthy and robust turf, accurate use of water, minimization of wasted water, optimization of energy consumption, and optimization of labor costs. In pursuit of these goals we will see better sprinklers, better sensors, and better control systems.

New turf cultivars combined with what architects and the public desire (and perhaps, can tolerate) may result in some changes in the amount and nature of the water used for irrigation. It may be possible to have successful golf courses located in areas that are now impractical from a climate perspective or where currently acceptable water volumes and quality prohibit such endeavors. These possibilities don’t necessarily influence the irrigation system – it’s likely that all of the turf will need some level of irrigation, either as the sole source of plant moisture or as a supplement to natural water. But such changes may result in less irrigated landscape and perhaps necessitate more accurate application of the water. That may mean more sprinklers per unit area of turf with more specific control features.

Technological advances are likely to be the most obvious and useful changes. While it is unlikely that we’ll see an alternative to the pop-up sprinkler as a means of applying the water, we can expect improvements resulting from materials and methods of sprinkler construction and system (or supervisory) control and data acquisition technology.

Sprinkler manufacturers will continue to improve sprinkler performance by introduction of new materials and flow paths for use in the nozzles and rotational drives. The science and practical application of frictionless coatings is advancing rapidly. Perhaps that technology will become cost effective for the sprinkler and valve manufacturers. The result will be better distribution uniformity and lower head loss which will result in some modest water and energy conservation.

We are all familiar with communication and control system advances simply because we all use computers, phones, tablets, and other interconnected devices. Therefore it makes sense to have great expectations for advances in irrigation control technology. Accurate use of water with minimal waste requires environmental and system sensing feeding into control algorithms that regulate water application and operation of the irrigation system. A dense, distributed array of sensors, perhaps a mesh network, that includes soil moisture and temperature sensors and system pressure and flow sensors can help apply the required water where it is needed, minimize the loss of water through over-irrigation, evaporation, wind drift, and leaks, and minimize pumping energy. Imagine regulating pump power not just as a function of the pressure at the discharge from the pump station but of the pressure at the sprinkler.

Michael J. Krones, Ph.D., is the president and principal designer at Hydro Designs Inc. in Frederick, Md., a consulting firm specializing in design, construction management, service, and programming of irrigation systems and water pumping systems. Krones is an engineering design consultant specializing in water-related fields including irrigation systems, pumping systems, water and wastewater transport and treatment systems, and the development and maintenance of synthetic and natural aquatic environments.

Post republished from the July 6, 2015 edition of Golf Course Industry.