New TORO GDC Controller to revolutionise Irrigation Management

Lucy Ohstenin Industry News
toro gdc donarchCourse designers, irrigation consultants, installers and greenkeepers will all benefit, says Toro

Toro Irrigation believes a highly-innovative Golf Decoder Controller (GDC) system it launched at this year's BTME is set to revolutionise golf course irrigation design and management.

Described as the most powerful decoder system available for golf course irrigation, GDC uses proven technology from the worlds of aerospace and aviation to provide what the company claims is the most flexible, easy-to-install and simple-to-use irrigation controller ever seen.

It will benefit everyone, they say, from golf course designers and irrigation consultants to installers and greenkeepers.

At the heart of the new control system is its ability to operate many more sprinkler stations (up to 800 per cable path, and with up to 50 stations operating simultaneously) off only a single,
2 x 2.5mm2 cable. This ensures, in most cases in the UK and Ireland, the need for only one or two cable paths per course.

This removes the need to calculate and design specific cable zones which were previously limited by the number of sprinkler stations that could be operated off one cable path (up to 112, with only 10 stations operating at the same time); which meant numerous cable paths with the design. GDC also makes installation easier and more cost effective.

Two different GDC systems are available - a stand-alone version which accommodates up to 200 stations and features a new easy-to-use programming interface; and a PC-based system using Toro's proven SitePro central control that can work with up to 3,200 stations.

toro site pro The new GDC decoders can be installed as far away as 4,500m from the stand-alone unit or central controller. Key to the system are innovative, low-power DC latching solenoids on both the sprinkler heads and solenoid valves, which are controlled by AC-powered decoders. Because the solenoids are opened by a quick, low-voltage DC pulse, there is significantly less current draw created, with no 'holding' voltage required to keep the solenoid open. Therefore up to 50 stations can be opened simultaneously, allowing greenkeepers to create and run more efficient irrigation programmes, water more precisely and reduce watering windows significantly.

Simon Squires, irrigation area manager, Northern Europe, The Toro Company, says: "One of the fundamental benefits of the GDC system is its great flexibility. Golf course designers are now free to be more creative with their designs than ever before - because they don't have to worry about the more-traditional limitations of irrigation systems. So now courses can be as challenging and stunning as their creators want. For irrigation designers, voltage drop and cable sizing constraints are a thing of the past, as the electrical aspect of the design could not be simpler now."

The added flexibility provided by GDC's modular construction also makes it ideal for future system development. So, say, when courses need to renovate or lengthen holes to match advances in golf technology, the system can be easily expanded to improve control capability and sprinkler capacity.

Three golf courses in Britain where installations using the SitePro GDC are already well underway are at Castle Stuart Golf Links, near Inverness, which is a new construction comprising two 18-hole courses; Royal Dornoch, also near Inverness, the established Championship links course; and at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club, near Colchester, for its two 18-hole parkland courses. toro gdc

All three courses have very different types of terrain - new links, old links and parkland - demonstrating just how flexible GDC is in meeting the varying needs of golf course environments of whatever type or location.

Commenting on his new system being completed at Royal Dornoch, course manager Eion Riddell says: "I'm looking forward to having such a flexible watering system at my fingertips. It will really improve our water management and give us the ability to irrigate exactly when and where we need to. And because the new decoder controller can be at some distance from the sprinklers, we have been able to design the course irrigation for optimum effectiveness, without being constrained by the limits of the system."

Toro Irrigation products are distributed in the UK by Lely (UK) Limited, Station Road, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 1QH. Tel: 01480 226858. Email: Website:
Article Tags:
Industry news