When considering improvements to your present irrigation system the task can be daunting and, indeed, you may find it easier to just decide to start again and renew everything you have.
This, of course, adds up to a considerable amount of money and, invariably, when presented to your employers, will be given little attention because of the sums involved - £100K upwards, dependent on what you want.
You are much more likely to get the resources to improve the system you have, if work is carried out in stages over a period of time, and at finance levels which suit your club's budget in any given year - so, how do you do that?
Firstly, you have to look at what you have and write down all your faults, including the time and labour spent trying to keep what you have going, and, of course, any instances where there has been interference to members and visitors playing the course. It is very beneficial to cost this in real terms because this, on its own, will justify any future spending. In extreme cases, the future costs can be less than the costs to keep an old, inefficient system going over a given time.
Reputable companies will work with you on this and give their time free of charge with no obligation - it is in their best interests in the long term.
Once you know what you want you can look at financing the project, and this is where you have many options on timing and designing it to suit your club's budget.
The system is built up in sections as follows:
• Water supply
• Electricity supply
• Housing for the pumping facility and automatic controls
• Pumping facility
• Automatic control system
• Main pipework to the golf course
• Mains pipework throughout the golf course
• Pipework for greens
• Pipework for tees
• Pipework for approaches (if required)
• Pipework for fairways (if required)
• Hydrant boxes containing control valves, decoders to control sprinkler configurations and hand watering points
•Sprinklers for the given area to be irrigated
In principle, the different sections of the system can be separated out, and completed separately to suit the amount of funding available.
However, it has to be done in a very strict and planned way, so that what is achieved is part of the overall plan, and money is not wasted putting something in the ground which is thrown away later when upgrading another section.
In overall financial terms it will cost more to do it this way because the site is being visited more often (especially equipment transport costs) and materials will probably increase in price over the period. However, it is a way of starting the process without frightening off your employers.
Invariably, once an improvement plan is agreed, everyone wants it to be completed more quickly than when first discussed, so people are more likely to explore other avenues of finance and, of course, the overall plan should be reviewed each year and adjusted accordingly, dependent on funds available.
Again, we must stress that you should seek the help of a reputable irrigation company who will sit down and take you through the different options available to suit your individual needs, ensure the end product is exactly what you want, and at a cost suitable to your budget.
Duncan McGilvray, Managing Director, Enviropro H20 Limited, Irrigation & Water Management Specialists