An irrigation system was first installed at The Brisbane Golf Club over 60 years ago with a minor upgrade completed in 1994. With the exception of new holes where new irrigation has been installed the large majority of our irrigation system is well above its life expectancy and requires regular repairs and maintenance from our course staff to address failures. The current irrigation system does not have great coverage and is not sustainable in the short and long term.
The Committee engaged an irrigation consultant to prepare the scope of works, project specifications and design for the replacement of the irrigation system. David Hanby from Hydropumping has over 28 years’ experience in all areas of water reticulation and drainage. David has been involved in the three most recent irrigation installations in Queensland at Burleigh Golf Club, Nudgee Golf Club and The Pines – Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club.
Tenders were requested and four received and assessed before the Committee made the decision to appoint Project Irrigation as the preferred contractor for the installation. This process also evaluated the two main irrigation equipment suppliers,
Toro and Rainbird, with the project awarded to Toro. Project Irrigation has over 35 years of experience. It completed the recent works the Club undertook on Hole 6 and are currently the lead contractor at Nudgee Golf Club.
Toro is a worldwide leader in provision of precision irrigation systems with a global presence that extends to more than 140 countries. The central component of the project is the Toro Lynx CentralControl System.
The project works will see the replacement of our existing irrigation system. This will include new mainline and lateral pipelines, new sprinklers on tees, fairways, rough and greens, an upgrade to our pump room and a new control system which will replace the unsightly satellite boxes we currently see around the golf course. Our new irrigation system will also be flood proof and we won’t need to remove anything when heavy rains are being experienced.
The objective of this project is to provide an irrigation system, which will effectively and efficiently irrigate the golf course and will be installed in a professional, workmanlike manner. At present it takes two nights to water the whole golf course. With the new system we will be able to achieve that in 8-10 hours.
We expect the project will take up to 7 months and to minimise disruption during this time we will endeavour to install the irrigation one hole at a time. In terms of course routing on the front nine, our aim will be for Members to simply walk the hole being worked on and to play Hole 21. When we do the back nine we have a number of favourable course routings when we work on 10,11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. As we get closer to the start date we will communicate more detail in regard to the proposed course routings.
Our irrigation consultant will oversee the project and work closely with myself, Mitch Hayes and Geoff Kuehner to assist with the day to day management and delivery of the project.
The lateral piping to be used for the project will be installed via ‘‘Vibratory Plough Installation’, which effectively vibrates the piping into the ground. This eliminates trenching or open cutting of our fairways (and eliminates any future subsidence on playing surfaces). The mainlines will be installed in the rough except when crossovers are required and these trenches will be back-filled, compacted and re-turfed as will the holes required to install the sprinklers and valve boxes. While this adds to the overall cost of the project our learnings from other golf courses is that it is critical. It will return the course to optimal playing condition in the short term and guarantee level playing surfaces in the long term.
More information will be provided at the upcoming Annual General Meeting and via a Member Information Evening prior to the proposed start date.
Paul O’Callaghan, Course Chair
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long will it take?
We have allowed 7 months for the total project. Based on experience on other projects, each hole takes about a week, depending on its length and complexity. The hole is back in play straight afterwards.
Q; If it’s a hole a week, why 7 months?
A: If we can do it quicker, we will. But this allows for delays eg rain, Easter, and for set up and clean up time.
Q: How was the design done?
A: The club engaged Dave Handby, an experienced and well respected irrigation expert. Dave will also assist with contractor management and quality control during the project.
Q: How was the contractor selected?
A: A detailed tender document and specification was prepared and sent to four contractors. These were selected based on their track record. The tender also included options for different types of irrigation equipment. We then assessed the tenders based on multiple criteria eg price, equipment functionality, contractor experience, performance and availability.
Q: Who is doing the job?
A: Project Irrigation is our selected contractor. They are based in Brisbane and have extensive experience in this type of work. They installed the piping and bridge on our 6th hole earlier this year.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: We have a budget of $1.5m which is consistent with the spend of other clubs who have completed similar projects.
Q: Where will it start from?
A: Initial works are in the pump house, left of the 4th tee, and the project will work its way out from 4, 5 and 6. Included in this presentation is the irrigation master plan.
Q: How are the pipes laid out?
A: Open trenching of mainlines in the rough except when crossovers are required, then laterally across each fairway using vibratory plough technique. Please see the photo in the presentation.
Q: How many sprinklers are there?
The sprinkler layout is a grid formation with 20 metres spacing. The lateral pipes are spaced 20 meters apart. All in all there are approximately 1,200 sprinklers.
Q: Why replace the system at all?
A: A well-functioning irrigation system is critical to having the course in prime condition. Our current system is well above its life expectancy and we have some pipes which are over 60 years old. Most of the original irrigation systemwas heavily impacted by the 2011 floods.We have frequent equipment failures. Itsdesign is also very basic compared tocurrent state of the art systems.
Q: What are the benefits?
A: The benefits are as follows:
- Maximize our course playability and
- Optimally manage our water and
- Find more time for our course staff tocomplete other important tasksincluding repairs.
- Reduce our costs for maintenance and
- Remove unsightly satellite
- Control our water patterns, remotely ifneeded, down to the individual
- Minimise wet and dry areas as a result of theimproved design and
Renovating an out of date irrigationsystem will not only improve yourefficiency, provide better-qualityturfgrass and enhance aesthetics, it canalso give your course a competitiveadvantage.
– American Society of Golf Course Architects
Q: Will we use less water?
A: Water consumption will undoubtedly be an issue in the future. Ultimately water usage depends on the condition of thecourse and what rain we have. Where we will benefit with the new system is being able tobe more selective on what we irrigate – down to remotely controlling each sprinkler.
Q: What happens if we don’t do anything?
A: A well functioning irrigation system is an absolute necessity for any golf course. Eventually the existing irrigation system will fail. Additionally, course conditioning will continue to be a challenge and we wouldcontinue to face increased costs to maintain the existing irrigation system.
Q: When will it start?
A: We aim to start in March 2021.
Q: Why not start later in the year?
A: With a March start we aim to finish by October which is in time for the rainy season to help the recovery.
Q: Will we still be able to play 18 holes?
A: Yes. Our general plan is as follows– on the front 9 our aim is to walk thehole being worked on, say for theweek, and use hole 21, whereas onthe back nine we use the spare 3 holes and take 3 out at a time. We can optimise this as we gain experience through the project. This should cause minimal disruption to play.
Q: Will our people be involved in the project?
A: Yes. There will be three levels ofinvolvement. The Course Chair, CEO andCourse Superintendent will meet regularly with the Contractor to oversee and manage progress. They will alsoliaise with the irrigation consultant.Additionally, a dedicated course staff member will be appointed to work full time on the project. Lastly, we have also allowed for our course staff to be involved with all restoration works to ensure a quality finish.
Q: Will the rest of the course condition be maintained or will it suffer?
A: No it will not suffer. We have allowed for extra staffing costs for normal course work to cover for involvement in the project.Importantly the scope of works requires the contractor to ensure the old and new irrigation system work concurrently as required through the duration of the project.
Q: Will there be GUR areas?
A: Yes – specifically around sprinkler heads and valve boxes.
Q: Why not wait another year?
A: We have already been delayed a year because of COVID-19 and each year the system reliability gets worse.We need to do this sooner rather than later and the club now has all the plans in place to proceed.
Q: What about the contract details?
A: The contract has been reviewed by the Committee and our advisors.