Golf Course Architecture - Issue 62: October 2020

72 F ounded in 1891 and established on its present site at Torksey since 1903, Lincoln Golf Club’s course was designed originally by five times Open champion JH Taylor. It sits on sandy ground a few miles west of the cathedral city, ground that was originally open heath, but whose character has been changed by more than a century of management for golf and by planting. The light, sandy soil at Torksey supports a sward of grass on the golf course that is dominated by fescue. Fescues are generally among the most drought-resistant of grasses and need relatively little artificial irrigation in normal British conditions. The club – which is quite progressive and forward-thinking – was aware that, in the current market, it needed to be investing in its course to move forward, or face being seen by golfers as a stick in the mud and thus lose renown. To this end, it installed a new Hunter irrigation system covering greens, tees and approaches three years ago. Then the extreme weather of 2018 hit. Lincoln, like golf courses across the UK, was heavily affected by the severe drought of that summer. Even the drought-resistant fescue was unable to cope with the lack of water for an extended period, and the club lost a lot of its fairway grasses. It became clear to club leadership, including greens chair Rob Mellors and course manager Adrian Kitchinson, that the extension of the irrigation system to cover fairways too was of the utmost importance and urgency. Fortunately, the club had been foresighted originally. The irrigation system it installed might only cover tees and greens, but it had, to an extent, been future-proofed, in that the mainline pipe was sized to allow for an extension to cover fairways if needed at a later date. This saved the club a great deal of money and heartache – it would have been tough indeed to dig up a mainline installed only months previously because it was not now big enough to cope with need. This was a particularly smart move on the club’s behalf, because in no way was it committed at the time to the later installation of fairway Doing it the right way Mark Ganning explains how Lincoln GC went about the process of installing a new irrigation system INS IGHT MARK GANNING