A golf superintendent IT'S WAR On installing automatic irrigatior Starting in February 1977, the Kelowna Golf & County Club had installed a fence-to-fence automatic irrigation system covering approximately 100 acres. The system consists of 578 full-circle and 64 part-circle heads set at 90-foot triangular spacing. This article is not a recommendation for any manufacturer's product or any type of irrigation system. There are too many determining factors, especially local conditions and persons involved, for an outsider to make any The Ataenius Beetle attacks bynight leaving golf courses battle scarred in their wake. No turf or course is immune to assault and the right chemical to dispose of the Ataenius effectively and legally is still being researched. The cost to a golf course chosen as an attack site can be phenomenal, the damage devastating. As in any declared war, emergency funds are urgently needed to destroy the threat once and for all. "The situation is serious," says Dr. Fred V. Grau, president of the Musser Foundation, "and is bound to get worse." With your help the battle can be won, hopefully before your turf becomes a victim of war. Contributions to combat the Ataenius could save millions of dollars of unnecessary repair work. To help in the fight, send your contributions to: MUSSER INTERNATIONAL TURFGRASS FOUNDATION: Ben O. Warren Treasurer, M1TF 8400 W. 111th Street Palos Park, Illinois 60464 .312-974-3000 THE MUSSER INTERNATIONAL TURFGRASS FOUNDATION of the H. B. Musser Turfgrass Fellowship, Inc. blanket recommendations. I want to relate some things I have experienced that are important to the installation of any turf irrigation system. Choosing the type of system should involve a great deal of time and research on the part of the superintendent, if he is to play a major role in the decision. He should talk to people who have comparable systems to ensure that the spacing and nozzle sizes proposed will provide the coverage desired. He should pay particular attention to the effective coverage in areas where heads do not overlap. I have found that this coverage is not as good as was expected. Don't always take a salesman's word as gospel truth, especially when it comes to the downgrading of a competitor's product. It has been my experience that many derogatory comments are based on hearsay or concern a product that has been improved upon. Remember, you have to live with the system you buy. If it is not satisfactory — it is YOUR problem. Now you have made your decision, and by some stroke of luck purchase of the system has been approved. Great — it's all downhill from here. Are you kidding? Things are just starting to get interesting. First, you have your sheds cleaned out so that you can store hundreds of boxes of wire, fittings, sprinklers, controllers, etc. Then you have to get your equipment working well so the irrigation contractor can use it all. The installation is about to start. It is my opinion that there should be at least four experienced people on the job fulfilling the following responsibilities: A. The general contractor should coordinate the entire job, directing crews and machinery, making sure that materials are in the right places at the right time. B. One experienced person should be responsible for the laying of pipe, wjre, and/or control tubing. C. Another person should take charge of gluing pipe, flushing the lines, assembling swing joints, and putting on the heads. D. The other experienced person should be responsible for the setting of heads and total cleanup. It is extremely important that any pipe put in with a vibratory plow be rolled down by the following day — at the latest. If the soil dries out at all, the cut will not roll down properly and will be noticeable for a long time. This is one aspect of the project that the superintendent must be aware of, and he should demand that it be done. If an irrigation consultant is retained, then of course it lessens the superintendent's responsibility. However, he should always keep in touch with what is happening. If there is no consultant, then the superintendent should keep on top of the installation at all times. He should familiarize himself with every aspect of the system. By doing this, he will much better understand the system. This understanding will benefit him in the operation and maintenance of it. Now comes the pump station. What! No one mentioned pumps? What good is your body without its heart? Now I am exaggerating, but too often not enough attention is paid to the pump station. Pumps are the lifeblood of the system. Make certain they will operate completely automatically and have the necessary safety controls and antishock and hammer valves. Capacity can also be a problem. Confirm with everyone involved that the pumps can comfortably handle the maximum gallonage the system requires. If you can envision adding to the system, try and make allowances for it at the pumphouse. It is much cheaper to put in bigger pumps originally than to change things later on. An automatic irrigation system — if designed, installed, and operated properly — is of great benefit to the golfer, golf course, and superintendent alike. If one of these three things is lacking, it becomes a major headache. It takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the superintendent to coordinate everything and sell it to the golf club. The installation and initial programming are also extremely time consuming. Any superintendent on the threshhold of such a poject should be prepared to spend many months of long days and nights at the golf course. If everything is done well, however, the end result will be well worth it. This column by Ashley Legeyt, superintendent at Kelowna G&CC in British Columbia, is reprinted with permission from The Greenmaster, publication of the Canadian Golf Superintendents' Association.
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