Category Archives: Water Use and Quality

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.

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.

Harbour Plaza Golf Club – System Analysis

Harbour Plaza Golf Club in Dongguan

James Schumacher, President of ATI, recently visited Harbour Plaza Golf Club in Dongguan, China in order to perform a System Analysis. Harbour Plaza is a 20 year old 27-hole championship facility designed, shaped and constructed by Robert Trent Jones II. The irrigation system is becoming a limiting factor to the facility. ATI has been contracted to evaluate the system and make recommendations for improvements.

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 Station
  • 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.

In addition to the System Analysis Mr. Schumacher had the pleasure of joining Mr. Tim Shaver, General Manager, along with Ron Carlyle, Turf Consultant and the entire staff at their annual appreciation dinner.

Tim-Jim-Ron_opt