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.

Sentosa Golf Club Irrigation Renovations at Serapong and Tanjong Courses

James Schumacher, President of Aqua Turf International, Inc. (ATI) visited Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore last week. The Serapong Course began hosting in 2005 the prestigious Barclays Singapore Open on the European Tour and is the current home of the LPGA HSBC Classic. Sentosa Golf Club is one of the premier golf clubs in Asia. Continue reading

Royal Calcutta Golf Club System Analysis

James Schumacher, President of Aqua Turf International, Inc. (ATI) recently visited Royal Calcutta Golf Club in Kolkata, India to perform a System Analysis and prepare a Long Range Improvement plan. Founded in 1829, Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), affectionately known as the “Royal”, is the oldest golf club outside the British Isles, the oldest being the Royal and Ancient, St. Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf. Originally located near the Calcutta airport, the club moved to its present location at Tollygunge in 1910. The Royal’s conspicuous features are its strategically located water tanks natural water hazards and beautifully tree lined fairways. The club has approximately 2,000 Members, 1,100 of those are golfers of which 700 are considered active players.

The irrigation system is antiquated and has become a limiting factor to the turf maintenance program. The golf course operations are managed by Quality Turf international of Bangkok, Thailand (http://www.qualitygolfasia.com/) who was instrumental in leading the club to hire an independent analysis of the status of the irrigation system. 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

While on site Mr. Schumacher was assisted by Mr. Tim Denham, Golf Course Superintendent, along with Mr. Nikhil Sanwal, Assistant to the Golf Course Superintendent.

Royal Calcutta Golf Club is anxious to host prestigious tournaments in the near future. Bringing the irrigation system up to standard with the help of ATI and Quality Golf International will be very helpful in achieving that lofty goal.

Royal Calcutta Golf Club System Analysis

James Schumacher, President of Aqua Turf International, Inc. (ATI) with Mr. Tim Denham, Golf Course Superintendent.

Royal Calcutta Golf Club System Analysis

James Schumacher, President of Aqua Turf International, Inc. (ATI) with Nikhil Sanwal, Assistant to the Golf Course Superintendent.

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

GPS Mapping, Satellite Imagery, Aerial Photography and Contour Mapping Services

Does your course have an accurate current as-built of the irrigation system?

More than likely not.  It is probably less likely that you have a current and accurate aerial photograph or satellite image.

Nearly anyone associated with the golf course can benefit from an accurate as-built and especially and aerial photograph or satellite image.

Superintendents – For a superintendent an accurate as-built drawing of the irrigation system is critical to the daily and operation, troubleshooting and maintenance of the system.  Additionally, the ability to know the accurate area calculations of all the golf course features such as greens, tees, fairways, roughs and bunkers is critical to properly purchase materials and apply fertilizer and chemicals.

General Managers – The aerial photograph can be an extremely valuable tool to the General Manager to help in planning and communicating with the staff, boards and membership.

Golf Professionals – Golf professionals can use the aerial photograph to assist in tournament preparations as well as daily play alerts.

Boards – Boards will find the aerial photos beneficial when they are evaluating the long-range plans and activities of the management staff.  they are also every effective in helping explain new projects the club may be soon undertaking or voting upon.

Membership – The membership will find them interesting and beneficial to help know their course better and show to their friends who may be joining them for a round. 

Architects – Architects will find them extremely helpful in their long-range planning and design strategy as well the ability to add existing contours.

List of Services

Please review the complete list of ATI GPS Mapping, Satellite imagery Aerial Photography and Contour Mapping services below.  Each service is explain in detail later in the blog.  Contact the ATI office nearest you for more information and a proposal.  It may cot less than you think.

  • Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery Base Map With Area Calculations
  • Aerial Photography Combined with GPS of In-Ground Irrigation Components 
  • Add GPS Mapping of Irrigation and Drainage Points                                                                           
  • Add Mainline and Lateral Piping
  • Aerial Photography Contour Mapping
  • GPS Green Contour Mapping

The Process

ATI combines Satellite Imagery or  Aerial Photography along with GPS mapping to provide the most accurate and visually rich as-built available.

In order for the GPS mapping of the irrigation, drainage or other points such as sprinklers, valves quick couplers and drain inlets to be accurately overlaid on a satellite image requires the satellite imagery or aerial photography to go through a special “orthorectification” process.  Orthorectification is a process in which aerial photos are adjusted to correct distortions due to topographic relief, lens distortion, and camera tilt.  These geometrical corrections will mean that the scale of the photograph is uniform.  Unlike an uncorrected aerial photograph (Google Earth), a orthophotograph can be used to measure true distances, angles and areas.  This orthorectification takes the curvature of the earth out of the satellite image and flattens it so the GPS and  image accurately match.  We have access to such imagery in most areas of the world. The resolution and quality of the photo allows for a very clear picture when zooming as you can see below in the image from a course in Beijing, China.  As you can see many different dates and cloud cover percentages can be available.

Orthorectified Satellite Image - Shadow Creek Golf Club, Beijing, China (Chart Indicates Dates of Photos Available and % Cloud Cover)

Orthorectified Satellite Image – Shadow Creek Golf Club, Beijing, China
(Chart Indicates Dates of Photos Available and % Cloud Cover)

Below is a screen shot from a Google Earth image of the same course in which you can see the distortion of the lens angle, but the curvature distortion is hard to see with the eye but it can be significant.

Google Earth Image Distortion

Google Earth Image Distortion

The services are available in a number of ways to meet your budget such as initially providing only the satellite imagery with the area calculations.  The irrigation and drainage points can be then added later at any time as funds become available.

Orthorectified Satellite Image - Master Course at Laguna Golf Club, Singapore

Orthorectified Satellite Image – Master Course at Laguna Golf Club, Singapore

As you can see from the sample,  the as-built on high gloss paper offers a high quality as-built great to hang on your wall.  The as-built is great for working with your staff, board members and membership.  The image can also be incorporated to interface with any manufacturers irrigation software.

High Ridge Country Club - Lantan, Florida, USA - Satelite Imagery / GPS As-Built Glossy Wall Ma

High Ridge Country Club – Lantana, Florida, USA – Satellite Imagery / GPS As-Built Glossy Wall Map

Aerial Photography and Satellite Imagery Base Map With Area Calculations

ATI can provide new high-resolution satellite imagery or a flown aerial photograph of the entire golf course or property depending on your location. The photography will be used to produce a orthorectified image of the site with 0.5’ to 2′ ground pixels. AutoCAD drafting will then be performed on all site features to create a golf course base map. The map will include all the golf course features such as greens, tees, fairways, bunkers, roughs, landscaping plus cart paths, building locations, roads, bridges, driveways, water bodies, railroads, transmission lines, power poles, fences, and grouped tree outlines. A scorecard view of the total area (square feet or meters) of greens, tees, bunkers, roughs and fairways per hole is provided. The as-built drawings will be provided in color on individual sheets at industry standard scales, scaled to fit on a single sheet ready for wall mounting plus 11”x 14” color laminated sheets per hole bound in a book format. The data will also be provided in a digital format.

Option 1 – Irrigation & Drainage Component Point Drafting

ATI provides on site sub-meter precision GPS mapping of the following points:

  • Sprinklers
  • Mainline Isolation Valves
  • Lateral Isolation Valves
  • Quick Couplers
  • Specialty Valves
  • Satellite Locations
  • Wire Splices
  • Drain Inlets
  • Mainline Pipe Routing

Please note that the use of utility vehicle provided by customer. Also, all point locations must be flagged in advance by the customer prior to mapping by ATI.  Also, mainline routing must be painted on the ground in advance by the customer prior to GPS mapping.

Option 2 – Irrigation Pipe, Wire and Control Drafting

ATI provides AutoCAD drafting of the following irrigation components:

  • Lateral Pipe Routing
  • Station Numbers

Please note that GPS data from Option 1 is provided by ATI to  the customer for penciling-in of the lateral pipe routing and station numbers prior to drafting.

Aerial Photography and Contour Mapping

Proper land planning and golf course design requires accurate site and contour mapping. ATI can use the aerial photograph base maps or satellite imagery to produce scaled planimetric and topographic mapping with 1 foot, .5 meter or larger contour intervals based on your needs and budget. This will then be used to produce a orthorectified image of the site with a 0.5’ ground pixel. AutoCAD drafting and sophisticated software will be used to create a contour map of the golf course with elevations. All the features of the Aerial Photography Base Map will also be included.

Please note that either aerial photography or satellite imagery requires clear skies and proper scheduling.  Make sure you allow adequate time in your planning process to accommodate the process.  Additional time may be required depending on your location in the world.

GPS Green Contour Mapping

On some courses it is important during greens renovation to rebuild the green to the exact contours.  ATI utilizes precision GPS technology to attain all green topographic information at 1/10th foot contour intervals on putting surface including 5-10’ off the green surface.

 Please Note This Service May Not Be Available In All Locations

Deliverables

All drawings will be provided in color on individual sheets at industry standard scales, scaled to fit on a single sheet ready for wall mounting plus 11”x 14” color laminated sheets per hole bound in a book format.  The data will also be provided in a digital format.

Contact the ATI office nearest you for more information and a proposal.  It may cost less than you think.

Samples of Deliverables - Glossy Wall Map, Laminated Books, As-Built Scaled Drawings

Samples of Deliverables – Glossy Wall Map, Laminated Books, As-Built Scaled Drawings

ATI Attends China Golf Show in Beijing

The China Golf Show was held in Beijing MArch 22 – 24, 2013.  ATI was represented by Jim Schumacher, President of ATI and Thomas Muller of ATI-China.  ATI has attended the China Golf Show for many years and the activity and interest at the show seemed to be greater than in recent years.

China Golf Show 2013China Golf Show 2013

Several architects were exhibiting and most of them were extremely busy.  The interest in the show can surely be attributed to the success of young Chinese golfers such as:

  • Shanshan Feng, major champion on the LPGA tour at the 2012 LPGA Championship
  • Andy Zhang, a 14-year-old who qualified fo the 2012 US Open
  • Guan Tianlang, another 14-year-old who earned a berth at the US Masters by winning the championship at the , Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand in late 2012.
  • Lian Wen Chong, 2007 Order of Merit on the Asian Tour, the first Chinese golfer to make the cut at a major, The Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, and set a new course record at Whistling Straits with his 8-under 64 in the third round of the 2010 PGA Championship.

In addition, Greg Norman, former long time world #1 and winner of two Majors, has
been hired by the Chinese Golf Association (CGA) to act as a mentor and help
develop a training program for its young players as they try to qualify for Rio
Olympics.  Golf is obviously trending in the right direction. 

DSC01535

Unfortunately, there are still many obstacles to overcome for golf to reach its potential development in China and most of Asia such as land acquisition, development cost and the lack of affordable public golf.   During the trip we visited a local driving range to find the facility brimming with new golfers.  The cost for 100 balls was $9, not exactly affordable for the average Chinese national or anyone for that matter.  Almost all the golf courses in China are private or extremely expensive as with most of Asia.  Until these obstacles are overcome golf will never meet its true potential in the region.

We are hopeful that with more success of Chinese golfers the government will join the cause and help provide affordable public golf to its’ citizens such as the many municipal courses available  in the USA and other parts of the world.