Irrigation upgrade: The Castle Course pt.3

The final phase of the irrigation upgrade at The Castle Course involved:

  • Installing a new pump house.
  • Connecting the existing pipe work to the new system.
  • Protecting the electrical system.
  • Testing and commissioning of the new system.

Whilst the new Infinity Sprinklers were being installed across the course, in the back ground work was being carried out on the new pump house.

Our irrigation consultant advised that to help improve the hydraulic (pipe) system, the new pump house would be better situated closer to the top of the golf course by our storage tanks.

The current one is in the greenkeeping facility and water is gravity fed from the storage tanks. The new pumps would require being lower than the bottom of the storage tanks to maximise the water stored. This meant digging a deep hole!

Hole being excavated for the new pump house

The area was hard cored i.e. a stone material put down as a foundation before our property team built a concrete plinth with cut outs for the new pipe work to be fitted in.

Pouring the concrete

The new pump house is a purpose built cabinet built off site by a company called ‘Grundfos’. Given its size, it had to be craned into position.

Easy does it…

Inside the new pump house

Once it was in position, the existing pipe work needed connected. Two methods were used; butt wielding and fusion wielding, both use heat to melt and join the pipes.

Fusion wielding

Butt wielding

There were several connections required around the course including the new pipes (discussed here in part one of this three part series) at the pump house as well as disconnecting and joining at the old pump house. All the joints were pressure tested to confirm there were no leaks.

In the past, The Castle Course on several occasions has been hit by lightning causing electrical problems when trying to run irrigation programmes and a lot of man hours fault finding. When the original system was installed, surge protection on the golf course wasn’t available. Now, surge protection can be placed around the course using a plate and rod buried into the ground at the end of the cable paths.

Hammering in the rods

Hole being prepped for fitting one of the plates

As various stages of the project were completed, testing was carried out on pipe joints, wiring connections and making sure the pump house was working correctly and talking to the control system. The system needs to run each irrigation head for three minutes and five times over without any failures in electrical or hydraulic performance. The hydraulic side required some late nights following the sprinklers to make sure performance and pressure was correct.

Electrical faults… wasn’t all problem free! 

Pressure testing sprinklers

Once all parties involved with the project were happy, commissioning of the irrigation system was able to take place and handed over to us to fully manage. It’s great to finally see the project completed as planning started late in 2016 with ground broken for irrigation pipes in September 2017.

What I don’t know about irrigation at this point, I don’t think is worth knowing!

Words by Jon Wood, Course Manager – The Castle Course

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