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Irrigation Irritation!

Parker Stancil

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I don’t mean to imply that I dislike irrigation by titling this blog “Irrigation Irritation.” In fact, I love irrigation. I was introduced to the turf industry at the age of 16 when I helped install an HDPE system at Mountain Lake Country Club in Lake Wales, Florida. 

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16 year old Parker getting after it on the skidsteer!

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Here’s me plowing some 6-inch mainline back in 2015.

Here at Great Northern, we have a Rain Bird HDPE system. The entire system is high-quality, and the pump house is pretty cool!

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Interesting pump house design, might withstand nuclear fallout!

We have 5 30-kilowatt electric pumps and a jockey pump that’s around 20-kilowatts.

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Shiny new pumps running at 30 kilowatts each. That’s 150,000 watts total, excluding the smaller jockey pump.

I say “Irrigation Irritation” because of the water quality that is used for irrigation at Great Northern. The pH of the water we pump from the lakes around the course is around 9.0. Creeping Bentgrass, like our tees and greens, prefers a soil pH of around 6.5 (6.0-7.0), therefore the 9.0 pH water we use would be detrimental to the various turf surfaces. To combat this issue, we utilize an Acid Injection System. 

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The water sure is pretty, but not good for the turf.

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This system analyzes the current pH of the water along with how much water is being pumped through, then shoots little bursts of acid in the mainline to adjust the pH of the water being used.

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The pump for the acid.

We pump a water amendment with Sulfuric Acid (pH of 1.0), which makes up about half the weight of the product, into our mainline to regulate the water pH to a neutral 7.0.

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The pump for the acid.

The product we use is made by Plant Food Company, and it comes in 1000-liter containers. It’s a 15-0-0 liquid fertilizer with 16 percent sulfur. Sulfur is great for lowering your soil pH.

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I give all the credit to the master of irrigation, Michail Trivonow, from Bulgaria. He’s shown me the ins and outs of the irrigation system, and I’ve been running hose with him recently here at Great Northern.

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Michail getting ready to handwater 14 green.

Water management is arguably one of the most important skills for a turf manager to possess. When it comes to water management, I have learned to address the issues at hand, take my time, and do it properly.

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Guest Paul Roche - Golf Water

Posted

Nicely done! Great comment " The water sure is pretty..." Many don't know of the challanges with growing turfgrass with poor quality water.  

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