There is a common catch phrase in the golf industry. It goes something along the lines of cleverly calling irrigation irritation. That’s right. There is nothing that can cause a golf superintendent’s hair to turn gray faster than irrigation.
To get things started, we have to get prepared from the winter. In Iowa, we have… let’s call it… interesting weather. You just never know what you’re going to get. In order to protect ourselves, we have to winterize our irrigation system to help with the freezing and thawing. First order of business in the spring to get things running is installing the intake valve. This is a large hose that is placed in our irrigation pond which sucks up water into the irrigation pump house so water can be distributed on the golf course.
The hose is very heavy. Before it is placed in the pond, a filter must be installed on it, so the irrigation doesn’t suck up gunk. Yeah. That’s a super technical term.
This is very heavy, so our skid loader is used to help place the pipe in the water. The next step includes finding the person on the outside crew who likes cold water best. For this year, that person happens to be my brother, Jason. Jason puts on his waist high waders to get in the pond to help position the intake on the pump house and in the pond. As Jason wades out into the icy cold water, he regrets his volunteerism because the water is higher than his waist high waders.
After a good solid morning of work, the irrigation is ready to be brought up. The first stage is to fill the whole system with water. All of the pipes on the golf course are always primed with water. To fill the system, we require a fairly decent amount of water. Since we had a drought last year, we are anticipating lots of leaks this year since the system wasn’t used much last year and the drought caused a lot of shrinkage that the spring rains have now expanded and will likely cause breaks in the pipe.
Whoo hoo! A job well done.
What did you do on this super cold day? Any swimming in cold ponds going on around town?