Friday, May 20, 2011

Irrigation Controller Upgrade

By Brad Rook, CGCS
IGM Golf Course Superintendent
In 1995 the irrigation system at Silver Lakes Country Club in Helendale, California was completely renovated. The system included a 5000 gpm pump station, 16” to 4” mainlines, 2” laterals, 4,000 Rainbird 700 and 750 heads as well as 88 Rainbird MSC 24 station clocks. The heads were individually wired back to the clocks but were paired up, with 3 to 4 heads per station in fairways, roughs and perimeters causing inefficient water usage.
In 2000, IGM added 3 more legs of communication wire and 74 clocks. This nearly gave us individual head control. In 2008, we were having a very hard time getting the clocks repaired because parts were hard to get. The costs were so high that it did not make sense to have them repaired any longer.
At the end of 2008, we started the first phase of upgrading the clocks to a Rainbird PAR Plus with 72 station capacity. One of the nines was completed in February of 2009. The other two nines were started in December of 2010 and were finished at the end of February 2011.   
The process included obtaining funding from the Association by preparing a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Subsequently, a presentation was made to the Board of Directors.  Detailed maps and clock assignments were then made for re-wiring the new clocks. All of the flow zones and branches were redone in order to give us more control of the system. The old clocks were taken off of the concrete pads and the new clocks were installed. In most cases, all of the wiring had to be put back into one clock where there were two. We went from 88 flow zones and 24 branches to 500 flow zones and 34 branches. Then all of the data needed to be reprogrammed in the computer.  The irrigation maps are broken down into separate holes, finalized, laminated and put into binders for the GCS, AGCS and irrigators.

Brad Rook, CGCS
Brad grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and started working on golf courses when he was in high school. He graduated from high school in 1974, has three years of college and has taken over 45 seminars from the GCSSA. He has been a member of the GCSAA since 1984 and a Certified Golf Course Superintendent since 1994. His Superintendent experience has taken him to Utah, Nevada and California at municipal, public, resort and private courses. He also has extensive construction experience including course construction and three irrigation renovations, several complete bunker renovations, cart path renovations and countless small projects.  Brad has been part of the IGM Team since June 2000. Brad and his family are very active in their church.  He and his wife Michelle have 6 children and 6 grandchildren. In his free time Brad likes to read, spend time with the family, building anything, working on houses and cross-stitching. Someday he hopes to be able to build a kit car of a 1954 Jaguar XK 140.