Huntercombe Golf Club, which was recently voted the number one course in Oxfordshire by the Top 100 Golf Courses, has replaced its irrigation system with Toro because according to course manager Grant Stewart "it's the best on the market" for covering compact tees and vast greens.
The historic golf course designer Willie Park Junior designed and owned Huntercombe, and to this day the course continues to be played to the original 1901 layout. With some greens on the 18-hole course near Henley-on-Thames over 1000m2, finding the right sprinklers to guarantee thorough, even coverage was of the utmost importance says Grant:
"Huntercombe has large greens. Altogether they cover 1.7 hectares, with some up to 1000m2! We chose Flex 55 for the job because of the distance they can cover. We installed a ring main around the larger greens to control the pressure, which allowed us to feed the heads with water to cover two directions. The heads on my fourth green put out 16 litres of water a second, guaranteeing every inch of that big green is well watered."
Applying equally efficient irrigation to the small tees are the Toro T5 sprinklers. Grant continues: "We have the opposite problem on the tees in that some of them are quite small, so we needed to find a sprinkler that would work well in a much smaller area."
With an operating area of 6.5-12m, it's easy to see why the T5s fit the bill. But something all the sprinklers have in common, including the FLEX 35 also used on the greens, is their maintenance and ease of use, as Grant explains: "The best feature of all the sprinklers we've chosen are the heads which allow us to change the arcs when they are running with no tools. I can move the heads to water any area and don't have to be concerned that the gears will be damaged."
The brains behind this irrigation brawn is the Lynx central control system chosen because trying it at another club showed Grant just how easy it was to use. But surpassing all these reasons for opting for Toro irrigation is the fact that Grant, who has been at the club for two years, with previous deputy roles at Sunningdale in Ascot and Fairmont St Andrews has the support of a greenkeeping team of eight, knows and trusts the brand:
"I looked to Toro irrigation to get the same quality of irrigation product as the machinery we use. I have always used Toro machinery and know it to be reliable, so when the time was right to invest in a new irrigation system there was no question I'd go with Toro, it was more a case of which items in the range would best suit our needs."
Completing the order with Reesink Turfcare is a selection of Toro machinery including the Groundsmaster 3500-D, two Greensmaster TriFlex 3420 mowers, a Multi Pro 1750 and a Workman MDX-D, all of which will no doubt play some part in helping Grant and the team in their endeavours to reduce thatch in the greens. The aim being to improve the species of grass in the playing surfaces and aid regeneration work over the next couple of years, with Grant concluding: "We're very proud to now be a 'Total Solutions' club."