Golf Course Management

JUN 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 63 of 157

Not long ago, in the middle of the night at Sky Valley Country Club in northeast Georgia, a streak of light from a fashlight cut through the stillness as a lone fgure made his way around the fairways. Top: Steve Mason, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Sky Valley CC, says the computerized central irrigation control system at the northeast Georgia club (also pictured on Pages 58-59) allows the crew to focus on important maintenance details. Photos courtesy of Hunter Bottom: Bob Dobson, president of the Irrigation Association and owner of Port Monmouth, N.J.-based Middletown Sprinkler Co. 60 GCM June 2013 He wasn't casing the property with ill intent. No, he was manually turning on pumps and sprinkler heads to get the irrigation system up and running. And this was not an isolated event. Every night, he prowled the grounds in this ritual. But no more. Since the course installed a central control system in 2007, the irrigation system springs to life all on its own and the crew member gets a full night's sleep. If you think industry innovations in irrigation technology have no impact on a golf course staff and superintendent's daily life, think again. At Sky Valley, the 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift that struggled in the dark with a manual quick coupler system and the 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. shift dedicated strictly to watering tees were both eliminated. No longer living like vampires, all of the grounds maintenance crew now works by the light of day. "Now it's all through the computer. It's automatic versus manual, what we had years ago. We basically set the water up in the afternoons, it sends it to the feld, we go home and it waters overnight," says Steve Mason, the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Sky Valley and a 13-year association member. "We really have no labor involved with the irrigation system anymore. Whatever minor problems we have, we fx. Not having to have somebody ride around at night with fashlights, it's a huge safety factor there. We ran into a lot of overtime to have a guy come in evenings to manually turn pumps on, turn heads on and things like that. It's allowed us to focus on other things, spend more time on other parts of the golf course, a lot of detail work." Over the past two decades, advances in golf course irrigation systems include the rise in popularity of computerized central control, improved effciency of sprinkler nozzles

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