The installation of a new Rain Bird irrigation system at Goring and Streatley Golf Club in Berkshire, England, is approaching completion.
The club, which has an 18-hole, par 71 course originally designed by Harry Colt and JH Taylor, has invested £700,000 to upgrade to a Rain Bird IC Stratus II Central Control System. The core irrigation infrastructure has been completely replaced, with all new pipework and a total of 739 rotors across greens, tees, approaches and fairways.
“Our old irrigation system was 49 years old and was literally falling apart at the seams, leaking and had failing electrics,” said course manager Matt Aplin. “We spent two and half months last year just working on irrigation problems, trying to keep the course playable but it became impossible. During long spells of drought, the ground would bake hard, causing a hydrophobic effect, leaving poor conditions in wet weather.
“We’ll have irrigation on the fairway now which will also be a game-changer in agronomic terms. We’ll be able to use different products and wetting agents to keep specific areas receptive to moisture right through the season which makes massive difference to our members too.”
Lee Knight of contractor Irrigation Control added: “The challenges of this site were evident from our initial survey with changing topography, multiple services, including national electrical distribution lines and Thames Water pump stations, through to the chalk and flint ground conditions present throughout the course.”
Roger Davey of consultancy Irritech: “We provided a design and specification for the irrigation system upgrade which included a water storage lake and borehole abstraction, taking into account the huge static changes (circa 70 metres across the site) and the need to conserve water and be more energy efficient.”
Alastair Higgs of Rain Bird Europe said: “This project has brought together a great team that’s worked closely to deliver a course irrigation system that offers the very latest in irrigation technology.”
Martin Hucklesby, general manager at the club, said: “The most vital feature defining a great golf course is its irrigation system. The major investment we’ve made helps secure the club’s future and brings to life our mission to become the club of choice in BB&O [Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire].”