When it comes to golf course maintenance, most golfers tend to think about lawnmowers and the “mystery shed” they accidentally hit with their last slice.
What they may not realize is that beneath the ground they’re standing on resides hundreds of miles of underground wires, ~ 2,000 sprinklers and control boxes that make up the $2 million-dollar irrigation system that most modern golf courses have.
Golf course irrigation system maintenance is critical in keeping the course playable and preventing the need for having to replace or make major repairs to the $2 million-dollar system. We’ve come up with some simple maintenance tips you can follow to help ensure the longevity of your irrigation system.
Daily maintenance starts long before the first golfer reaches the tee box. Sprinkler nozzles should be checked daily for wear, tear, and clogs. Look for wet spots that would indicate a malfunctioning irrigation system — the same goes for dry spots.
You should also look at and log the water usage from the night before. By writing down how much water is used, you can get a baseline that will tell you if any potential problems are occurring based upon increased water usage.
Since the sprinklers run at night, any anomalies occurring might not be immediately noticeable. Have your maintenance crew check the turn rate of the sprinklers – are they moving faster or slower than the other ones?
Have them look at the sprinklers themselves and inspect for leaks or broken pieces of plastic. Are there sprinkler heads that have not fully retracted back into the ground? This could be a sign of a clog.
The software that controls the database should be updated accordingly as well. Check on any open repair work orders and see if there are any hold-ups such as parts that are on backorder or ones that have been discontinued.
Since golf course grass tends to grow very fast due to the regular watering schedule, check the sprinklers to ensure overgrown weeds or turf are not blocking their ability to function properly. A quick trim with a pair of kitchen scissors should do the trick.
Look at the pump station, filters, filter screens, and any other mechanical parts that could break or malfunction. Now is also a good time to inventory and purchase additional irrigation repair parts.
The annual maintenance schedule is essential in the prevention of catastrophic failures of major mechanical equipment such as pumps or regulators. Now is the time to fine-tune your controller programs. There have been several studies performed that indicate many golf courses are over-watered by anywhere from 40 to 50 percent.
Look at the weather patterns in your area. If you live in an area where you get a lot of rain in the spring or summer, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Most software programs allow for a “winter” and “summer” watering schedule. Look for areas of grass and turf that need water the most and make sure these areas are getting attention.
Clean Sprinkler Intakes Annually
If you use a pond or lake for your sprinkler intakes, it’s essential to have them cleaned at least once a year (maybe more depending on local climate). Leaves, debris, and other organic muck can get sucked up into the intake system and wreak havoc upon an irrigation system.
Leaves can get sucked up past the gates and into the pipes and cause sprinkler heads to remain in the “on” position overnight, thereby overwatering an area and causing potential damage to the turf. This is where a professional underwater diving company can help prevent expensive long-term damage by periodically cleaning the intake screens.
Have a Game Plan
When it comes to golf course irrigation systems, they tend to break down at the most inopportune times, such as the hottest week of the year. Just a few days of the grass not being watered can cause playing conditions to decline rapidly. Have a plan written down and the necessary parts in stock to help prevent any costly downtime.
Make sure rare and hard-to-find parts are purchased and stocked in plentiful supply. You can also create a checklist of who to call and what steps to perform in the event of an emergency.
Golf Course Irrigation Intake Screen Cleaning
At American Underwater Services, we specialize in helping golf courses maintain their sprinkler intake systems. Give us a call today at (866) 594-1272 or contact us to learn more about our commercial diving services that can exponentially lengthen the life of your expensive golf course irrigation system.