Tag Archives: golf irrigation

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 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.

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.

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.