Most of our time in February has been occupied with the start of installing a new irrigation system.
As previously discussed, the section below the water tank and irrigation pump had been causing us serious problems, with regular and numerous bursts of pipework last summer.
A new system has been on the cards for some time, but the problems last year pushed us into making a start this winter. As such it was decided that we would begin the installation by replacing pipework and sprinklers in the area where most of the leaks have been occuring. Also by taking on a small section first, we’ve given ourselves a chance to see how we could manage an in house installation for the whole project.
For now, the work will link into the existing system for 2023, but we would then resume later in the year, as we look to stage the upgrade over a time frame that allows us to manage the project in house.
For the purpose of this update, I will go through stage 1 of the work that has been carried out in February.
Working to a design, we started by plotting the route of pipework, then lifting turf and placing it to one side.
Then a trench was excavated for the main pipeline, which consisted of 110mm diameter MDPE pipe, laid in 100 metre lengths, each connected together using electrofusion welded joints.
Cable was also placed in the trench, which will connect to a controller to enable irrigation to be operated automatically.
All of this work was carried out using our own JCB excavator, with the team compacting the soil using a hired in wacker, before topping up and relaying the turf.
In order to transfer water from the main line to the greens, aprons and tees, 90 mm MDPE spurs were welded at junctions and also placed in a trench excavated by our JCB in the same manner.
Next came the installation of smaller, 63mm diameter pipework around the greens and aprons. This will deliver water to the sprinklers positioned for the greens and for the greens approach.
Prior to excavation the position of each sprinkler was measured and plotted, with equal distance between each one to ensure even coverage of water over the turf.
With work here being on closely mown turf, the trench was cut using a small chain trencher taken on hire. Again cable was run in the trench with the pipework and all soil was subsequently backfilled by hand and compacted using the wacker, before relaying turf.
Each of these sprinklers contain their own valve and decoder (connected to the cable), so that they can be operated and controlled independently, making watering more precise and efficient.
To connect the greens to the mainline, valves are installed so that each hole can be isolated for maintenance and there is also a hose point on the valve for any hand watering that may be required.
These valves then have boxes installed around them so they can be easily accessed, but in a discreet manner to minimise any interference with golf.
Next the tees sprinklers were plotted, measured to ensure even coverage and then marked out ready for installation. Then turf was lifted and again using the hired trencher, soil was excavated to allow pipework (50mm diameter) to be installed. This time no cable was added, as smaller sprinklers are used here and therefore several can all be run from a single valve at the same time, with just the valve connected to the controller via a decoder through the cable for automatic control.
The final part of the work is to connect into the existing system, which is required in several places. So far we have connected to the current water supply, but still need to connect to the rest of the holes on Morgan’s and the 9 holes under the bridge.
After that we will install the new controller and set up all the decoders on the new sprinklers and valves, so that automatic programs can be initiated.
Altogether, the new main pipework will be on 7 of the holes on Morgan’s course, but it will supply water to all holes. As well as the main line, 4 greens, 4 approaches and 3 tees will have new pipework, valves, cable and sprinklers.
The map here shows pipework installed so far. The red shows the 110mm mainline, with the white showing the 90mm spurs. The yellow is the greens and approaches pipework and the pink is the tees.
The new controller (when installed), will operate all of the new parts of the system, but the rest will still be run by the old controller.
We will continue to prioritise the irrigation work as we head into March, however it should now have less impact on playing the course, with most work off the playing areas or that we can work ahead of play.
On that note, please take all work as GUR (Ground under repair), as there is simply too much of an area for us to mark with a white line. This is the case on the holes Pennington’s, Davy’s, Morgan’s Mound, Toon’s Tier, Reddings Apron, Cottage Corner and Brownies Bough.
I’d like to thank you all for your patience while this work has been carried out.
Also a big thanks to Whitby Tool Hire for the use of their wacker at short notice, which made a huge difference, also to Russell’s Groundcare for the Trencher hire and to Dinsdale Irrigation for their support and assistance throughout.
Finally a massive well done our team of Greenkeepers, Gavin, Paul, Callum, Jonathan and Ryan, who have worked their socks off! I’m very grateful to them for their efforts, but especially so for doing it all with a smile on their faces and with a very positive can do attitude.
As the delivery of irrigation materials got pushed back slightly, we undertook a small change on the Par 3 Metcalfe’s Ace. The right hand side of the green surround was a pinch point for traffic, which led to poor turf condition close to the green. The bunker was also in such a place that it didn’t impact much on play, the turf around it was dominated by lush Ryegrass and the banking didn’t merge into the green very well.
The changes have now removed the bunker and softened the banking into something more natural looking. However any shot hit too far right will not gather into the green, either finishing in a depression or behind a hillock, with shots hit well able to use the slope close to the green to run the ball down onto the putting surface.
The less severe banking will also help to spread wear, with several different routs options available to the golfer when passing the green.
Despite most of our attention being on the above work, it is still really pleasing to hear the positive feedback on the golf courses condition. Having had a very successful Seniors Open and Teeside Alliance event in February it has been great that many from other clubs have also really enjoyed playing at Hunley.
The weather in February has been mostly very good too and this has helped with both the irrigation work and for those playing the course. We have tried to sustain the best conditions we can despite the obvious distraction, but daily course setup has still been carried out, greens have been mown weekly to keep them clean and smooth, fairways and tees have been mown and we have managed winter wear as we would normally.
Thanks for reading and we look forward to the season, which is now fast approaching!!