Author Archives: Jim Schumacher

About Jim Schumacher

Jim Schumacher is the President of Aqua Turf International, Inc., (ATI) a worldwide irrigation design and consulting firm. In his position he manages the Bangkok, Thailand office. ATI also has offices in Salon de Provence , France and Jupiter, Florida, USA. Mr. Schumacher founded ATI in 1996 after a diverse and successful career in golf. He developed his love for golf as a teenager, and was the 1974 Arkansas State High School Golf Champion. As a result, he chose to make golf his career and prepared with a Bachelor of Science degree in Turfgrass Management from Mississippi State University. After school he started his career as a pro/superintendent at two clubs in Alabama and was a member of the Dixie Section of the PGA. After working as both a pro and superintendent he decided to focus his career on the turf side of golf. He acquired his construction and maintenance skills as the Deputy Director of Parks for the City of Huntsville, AL. In that role he became a Certified Golf Course Superintendent and was responsible for renovating and operating two 18-hole public golf facilities, twenty-eight parks and over 100 athletic fields. Also, he directed the installation and operation of the first computerized irrigation control system designed for parks in the eastern United States in 1985. These experiences gave him a complete perspective of golf course construction, maintenance and operations. Mr. Schumacher expanded his irrigation knowledge during a seven-year career as southeastern sales manager for Rain Bird Golf. While in that position Mr. Schumacher was directly involved in golf irrigation sales, field service, training and product development. Mr. Schumacher has broadened his irrigation knowledge as a certified irrigation designer, licensed Texas Irrigator and as a member of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants. Mr. Schumacher’s experience as a golf professional and certified golf course superintendent are significant benefits in helping design quality golf course irrigation systems.

Thai Country Club Upgrades Irrigation Control System

Thai Country Club in Chacheongsao, Thailand, just outside Bangkok, is in the process of upgrading their Rain Bird irrigation control system to improve the system efficiency as well as course playability.

The process was implemented after following the recommendation provided in an Irrigation System Analysis performed by Aqua Turf International (ATI). The course was suffering from wet fairways, approaches and surrounds. Some of these problems were attributed to poor drainage, but many of which were actually irrigation related.

Ron Carlyle, the turf consultant and agronomist for the course recommend the System Analysis be performed. After a few months of reviewing the Analysis the General Manager, John Blanch, realized the need and acquired the approvals needed to commence the planning, design and implantation of an irrigation control system renovation and water management training. The goal is to provide the staff with a system that is more efficient and offers more control capability. Additionally, upon completion of the upgrade the staff will be fully trained in the proper water management techniques so they can maximize the new investment in the control system.

The existing satellites had multiple sprinklers (2 – 4) operating simultaneously from a single station as shown in the photo below. This offered little control flexibility, especially since the sprinklers were widely spaced at 25 meters and above. Additionally, the high flow of the widely spaced sprinklers causes excess flow and water velocity in the lateral piping. The result was overwatered turf and unnecessary pipe and fitting failures.

The first step was for ATI to evaluate the satellites, communication wire and software to determine what would be required to convert to individual sprinkler control. There is a limit to the number of satellite channels per wire group. The new individual control nearly doubled the amount of channels required. Fortunately, by rearranging some of the satellites and adding only a small 1,000 meters of additional communication wire the individual control could be achieved without adding any additional satellites. Most of the existing satellites were only utilizing 24 – 32 of the 72 station potential station capacity of each satellite. ATI developed a new individual wiring plan to replace the old wiring plan. Fortunately, ATI had prepared a GPS as-built drawing several years earlier which was used as the basis for the re-design. After the new wiring plan was completed, new 8-station modules were purchased to expand each satellite to the capacity required. By this time the additional 1,000 meters of communication wire had been installed and it was time to get to work rewiring the satellites.

The re-wiring of the satellites is being performed in-house by the maintenance staff to control cost and is being supervised by James Schumacher of ATI. Each existing station is activated to determine which sprinklers are currently controlled by that station. They are then labeled with the correct number on the new wiring plan and then reconnected. To insure that the system is never down during the process, ATI reprograms the computer for the satellites completed that day. One to three holes can be completed each day.

In addition to the work on the satellites additional programming will be performed by ATI so the new individual station capability will be maximized. The Rain Bird Stratus software required an enhancement to allow for the expansion of a third communication wire path. Also a computer map enhancement is being added to allow for improved water management of the software by the staff. Once the project is finished the updated as-built drawing will be imported into the Rain Bird Stratus by ATI. This will allow access from the staff’s smart phones and tablets so each sprinkler run time can be adjusted daily to the correct amount. To further improve the system efficiency and playability two Rain Bird Rain Cans have been added to the system to provide automatic shut down of the system if a rain event occurs before or during a programmed irrigation cycle.

The staff will receive complete and ongoing water management and system training from ATI so they can optimize the investment the club has made in improved irrigation technology. The end result will be a golf course that is drier and more playable, healthier turf and reduced operating expenses.

Thai Country Club are moving forward as one of the leaders in improved water management in Thailand and example for others to follow.

Contact ATI if you are interested in improving your irrigation system and course playability.

Sentosa Golf Club Serapong and Tanjong Courses Central Computer Map

Sentosa Golf Club has recently updated their Toro Lynx central control system map, combining the recently renovated Tanjong course with the well established Serapong. The Serapong Course is renowned for hosting the Singapore Open on the European Tour as well as the HSBC Women’s’ Open on the LPGA tour. We all remember Paula Creamers’ dramatic 75’ winning eagle putt there in 2014. This year the LPGA relocated to the Tanjong course in grand style with an equally interesting but different challenge to that of the Serapong.

The golf course was constructed by TEHC International PTE Ltd. and the irrigation system installed by Advanced Tech Irrigation Golf PTE Ltd., both from Singapore. ATI provided the irrigation system design and consulting at the new Tanjong course as well as the recent update to the irrigation system at Serapong. All the work was supervised under the keen eye and assistance of Andy Johnston, GM and Rodney Mckeown, Golf Course Superintendent.

The updated maps offer Rodney the ability to monitor and manage the irrigation system on both courses from his large screen monitor in his office as well as via either smart phone or smart tablet apps. The large 48” monitor offers plenty of area to view both courses and zoom in for greater detail. In addion to the golf course features all the other in ground construction features such as sub-air and drainage were also included in the mapping and can be accessed on the big screen. Additionally, each satellite is equipped with a matching color map of each hole to assist during operation and trouble shooting at the satellite.

Sentosa Golf Club is truly maximizing their investment in high quality irrigation technology.

Contact ATI if you are interested in enhancing and maximizing your irrigation control system as well.

Sentosa Golf Club Tanjong Course Commences Construction

Sentosa Golf Club, designed by Andy Johnston and Swanson Golf Design, has recently commenced a total renovation of the Tanjong Course. The Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club had previously been renovated in 2006 and underwent an irrigation upgrade in 2015. The Serapong Course is renowned for hosting the Singapore Open on the European Tour as well as the HSBC Women’s’ Open on the LPGA tour. We all remember Paula Creamers’ dramatic 75’ winning eagle putt there in 2014. We are sure the Tanjong will provide an equally exciting and interesting but different challenge to that of the Serapong.

The project is on a fast track with re-opening scheduled for November 1st. Work has commenced on the driving range which also will function as the turf nursery for the rest of the fairways and roughs. The installation is on a fast track since the driving range must be completed and opened for the Singapore Open the week of January 28th!! The temporary water supply for the driving range grow-in will come from an interconnection to the Serapong irrigation system until the new pump station and mainline can be installed.

Sentosa Golf Club, designed by Andy Johnston and Swanson Golf Design, has recently commenced a total renovation of the Tanjong Course.

Sentosa Golf Club, renovation of the Tanjong Course.

The golf course is being constructed by TEHC International PTE Ltd. and the irrigation system installed by Advanced Tech Irrigation Golf PTE Ltd., both from Singapore. ATI and TEHC were both involved in the Serapong irrigation renovations last year.

ATI provided the irrigation system design and is currently providing the system layout, inspection, as-built development and central computer programming with the keen help of Andy Johnston, GM at Sentosa, Rodney Mckeown GC Superintendent and CK Tan from TEHC International. The system includes wall to wall sprinkler coverage at 22m triangular spacing with individual sprinkler control to insure the utmost in water management.

The system features a Toro Lynx central control system with VPe satellites featuring with individual control of each Toro Infinity sprinkler. The system utilizes PVC mainline and fairway laterals and HDPE pipe for the green loops. The 511m3 per hour pump station is manufactured by Flowtronex. All the mainline and lateral valves are manufactured by Leemco.

TEHC has prepared installation samples of all the valve assemblies to be installed on the project. The samples were very beneficial for ATI inspection prior to installation, employee training and to help insure their material procurement is correct.

The system layout is being performed by ATI in coordination with TEHC International via the ATI survey method. TEHC is using their new Trimble G10 centimeter grade GPS mapping instrument. TEHC is instrumental in providing timely and highly accurate surveys of the grass and tree lines, course features and other important base information required to redesign the sprinkler layout based on the actual field conditions. ATI then re-designs the sprinkler layout in the computer. The new sprinkler layout is then laid out by TEHC using the same survey equipment.  Any revisions made during the inspection of the layout can be immediately surveyed and updated using the Trimble G10.   This method allows ATI to analyze several sprinkler layout options before selecting the optimum layout. This capability typically results in less sprinklers required to cover the same area because the triangular sprinkler grid can be finely aligned to the turf perimeters. Not only does this process improve the quality of the layout it helps provide an immediate real-time accurate as-built record of the installation. Additionally the stakes at each irrigation sprinkler are no longer required getting in the way of other trades such as grading and drainage installations prior to the irrigation installation. Learn more about the benefits and procedures involved with the survey staking at the ATI Blog   https://aquaturfinc.wordpress.com/category/survey-method-staking/

ATI is very proud to be part of the professional team at Sentosa Golf Club – Tanjong Course renovation 2016!.

A Singaporean Peacock Anxiously awaiting the re-opening of the Tanjong Course

A Singaporean Peacock Anxiously awaiting the re-opening of the Tanjong Course

Nikanti Golf Club, in Nakhon Pathom just outside of Bangkok has commenced a comprehensive upgrade to the original irrigation system.

Nikanti Irrigation System Upgrade Installation Commences

Nikanti Golf Club, in Nakhon Pathom just outside of Bangkok has commenced a comprehensive upgrade to the original irrigation system. The original system was not designed to a high standard. As a result the system was not performing to a level that allowed the maintenance staff to prepare the course to the high standards required by the ownership. The current irrigation renovations include:

  • Complete new Toro greens in and out part circle sprinklers as well as surrounds sprinklers along the turf perimeter located along the sides and rear of the green throwing back to the green.
  • Additional decoders to allow for individual sprinkler control of all sprinklers on the course.
  • Supplemental mainlines to provide complete looping and to significantly reduce the total irrigation watering time and reduce pressure loss.
  • New pump station with significantly higher flow capacity to greatly reduce the total irrigation watering time as well.

The installation is being performed by J & J Thailand under the supervision Somchai Chokchalermwong – J & J Irrigation Manager, James Schumacher – President of ATI, Hamish McKendrick – Agronomy Consultant and Brad Revell – Golf Course Superintendent. The piping around the greens is being installed with great care as to not interfere with play or the golf experience. This allows for play to continue on the course while the work is ongoing.

Nikanti Golf Club, in Nakhon Pathom just outside of Bangkok has commenced a comprehensive upgrade to the original irrigation system.

Kuhn Nueng– Nikanti Irrigation Technician, James Schumacher – President of ATI , Somchai hokchalermwong – J & J Irrigation Manager, (L to R)

Completed Piping and Sod Installation

Completed Piping and Sod Installation

 

James Schumacher, President of ATI prepared the irrigation consulting and design for the project. He is also providing the all-important sprinkler layout around the greens, inspecting the work of the contractor and programming the new system into the computer.

 

James Schumacher, President of ATI supervising the all-important sprinkler layout around the greens. inspecting the work of the contractor and programming the new system into the computer.

James Schumacher, President of ATI supervising the all-important sprinkler layout around the greens.

The initial greens irrigation sprinkler locations and coverage were very poor. The new sprinkler spacing will provide complete and even coverage of the greens and surrounds enhancing the golf experience. If the sprinkler locations and spacing are not correct they can have an extremely negative effect on the turf and playability of the course. This normally causes overwatering of the approaches and surrounds. The result is that the ball cannot bounce roll onto the green making approach shots and chipping difficult and unenjoyably. ATI provides the complete layout of the green and surround sprinklers as well as inspection of the work. The work is being installed to a high level with little damage to the turf.

Revised Green Only Part Circle Irrigation

Revised Green Only Part Circle Irrigation

The increased pump station and mainline capacity will reduce the total irrigation time so irrigation can be completed well before play and maintenance commence in the morning. This will greatly improve the golfers experience since they can play when the course is drier. The shorter total irrigation time and drier conditions will also reduce compaction of the soil from the mowing equipment and carts in the morning.

The system features a Toro Lynx GDC off – fairway decoder control system with individual control of each sprinkler. The new 681m3 per hour pump station is manufactured by Watertronics. The pump station is sized to service a possible future (6) hole addition. One of the features of Nikanti is that the course is routed in 3 groups of 6-holes rather than the traditional 2 sides of 9-holes.

The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2016.

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

Jim 2

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.