Moortown achieves firm conditions with irrigation overhaul

  • Moortown

    Moortown has achieved firm conditions with a new Hunter irrigation system

  • Moortown

    The new system gives the club greater control over watering

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Moortown Golf Club in Leeds, England, has updated its irrigation system to achieve greater control over its playing characteristics.

Golf course architect Ken Moodie has been responsible for overseeing design work on the club’s Alister MacKenzie layout, which hosted the first-ever Ryder Cup in 1929.

“I have visited each year since 2014 to advise on smaller scale improvement work including altering mowing lines for greens, to reinstate their original shapes, new tee positions and the further development of heather areas,” says Moodie.

“Our architect likes Moortown to play like an inland links whenever possible with run offs and tight turf around the greenside and bunkers,” said course manager Steve Robinson.

“We were having terrible problems with the old irrigation system through the 2015 season – it was completely outdated prior to this, with appalling reliability and performance,” said Robinson. “But it all came to a head that year with massive failings with the borehole pump, water storage tank, pump house and controller, resulting in no irrigation for a period.”

Having explored their options, the club decided on a new irrigation system from Hunter Industries. “Their system was competitive, and I was mainly taken by how easy the Pilot-CC Central Control PC based system was to use,” said Robinson.

“Our new system, with the Hunter G885D decoder in head series, enables single head control, and pinpoint accuracy over all our greens, approaches and surrounds surfaces.

“The club opting to do a phased approach to install the system, Hunter was fantastic with providing us with the controller, hub, PC, decoders, etc, to run our old system for a season until the installation of the complete new system started in September 2016.”

The club has been using the system for two seasons including the summer of 2018.

“There has been fantastic reliability, with impressive uniformity of coverage, performance and efficiency – even through drought conditions of 2018,” said Robinson.

“The lack of rainfall and consistent high temperatures above 25 degrees that year would have resulted in huge turf loss if we had not upgraded prior to that period.

“We were well supported over those initial years directly by Hunter’s Mark Ganning, in terms of Central Control support, database accuracy and general educating through this process.”

This article first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.