Golf Course Architecture - Issue 62: October 2020

78 S ummer isn’t over yet, but there’s a buzz that can be heard in the nineteenth hole, in the director’s office, in the board’s committee… a buzz with questions regarding the irrigation system. “My golf shoes are wetter now than in winter”, “I’ve lost my ball, sunken in the mud… right in the middle of the fairway”. All those comments come from the same issue: the irrigation system performance and condition. The greenkeeper begs the club manager for a new irrigation system... too expensive. “We’ll buy more new sprinkler heads next year”, “the clubhouse refurbishment keeps our financial capacity frozen”. These and other excuses are given year after year, while the irrigation system suffers. The risk of a future failure in the system that could expose the course to severe damage will be present. Furthermore, this situation implies waste of water and energy, inefficiency on the greenkeeping teamwork timings, economic losses and, of course, poor golf course condition. In my experience, after performing more than 50 irrigation audits worldwide, before any prompt conclusion or a decision is made, an irrigation audit should be performed first. Even if the decision of renovating the full irrigation system has been approved after a terrible irrigation season, the audit should be carried out. So many examples come to my head. A course in France was considering a full irrigation system renovation because fairways were full of dry circular patches (doughnuts). The irrigation foreman had opened the sprinkler pressure regulator to its maximum, thinking that this would help for a better uniformity. The pressure was so high that the sprinklers were throwing mist instead of water. The wind was doing the rest – there was no head- to-head overlapping and dry patches came onto the scene. The problem was solved with a screwdriver. Pablo Muñoz Vega highlights how crucial it is to perform an irrigation audit before any investment in a system is made – no matter how obvious the solution may be PABLO MUÑOZ VEGA The audit comes first INS IGHT