5 July 2022

Golf clubs delighted with newly commissioned irrigation systems

From October 2021 to April 2022, MJ Abbott installed three large irrigation systems at the following golf clubs: St George’s Hill (Weybridge), Stoneham (Southampton) and Knighton Heath (Bournemouth). Over the last few weeks they have all been handed over to the clients, who are all absolutely delighted.

Golf clubs delighted with newly commissioned irrigation systems

St George's Hill Golf Club

St George’s Hill Golf Club

St George’s Hill have been a client of MJ Abbott for over 20 years. We installed a Rain Bird irrigation system back in the early 2000s and continued to maintain the system until it came up for replacement with a design and tender process led by Roger Davey from Irritech Ltd. We were delighted to be awarded the contract, which enabled us to continue our long relationship with the club.

St George’s Hill is an extensive site with the prestigious golf course weaving its way through the estate in three separate loops of 9 holes. The project had many challenges due to the extent of the site and the scale of the irrigation proposal. The works provided for a fully future proofed site wide system to all areas of the course, from the landscape areas at the club house to the greens and surrounds, and not least the three and four row fairway system.

One of the greatest pressures we faced was achieving such a large scale installation over the 27 holes within a very tight window of opportunity, with a fixed deadline of the 1st April 2022 following which the club had some important golf events that could not be affected by any course works. With some careful planning and resourced with the right team of plant and labour for the duration of the project, we were able to complete it on time giving the club a fully operational site wide system at the end of our last shift on the project on 31st March.

The system has subsequently been in continual use with the recent dry weather and, with the help of Chris Gosden and his team on site, we ensured that the system had the nozzles optimised, arcs adjusted and pressures set to ensure that the system gives the optimal coverage across the playing surfaces. With the system passing through some initial cycles post final adjustments, Irritech came back to site to carry out a site wide test and we officially handed the system over.

We very much enjoyed the project and hope our relationship with St George's Hill continues for many years to come. 

Knighton Heath Golf Club

Our first introduction to Knighton Heath was through a tender process led by Roger Davey from Irritech. We tendered for the project, which at the time was due to be an Autumn/Winter 2022 installation.

When we reviewed the project and it became apparent we had a small gap in our programme that could accommodate the project over Winter 2021/ Spring 2022, we engaged in conversations with the club to see if there was an opportunity to bring the project forward by a year. With some negotiations on scope and timescales, we were awarded the project to install a new Toro irrigation system to the greens, tees, approaches, surrounds and the 16th Fairway along with a new water storage tank and pump station.

We commenced the installation in January 2022 with a completion target of early to mid-April, given the dry ground conditions and the highly likely requirement for irrigation early in spring.

With a small but driven team we completed the project in early April which gave the club a state-of-the-art Toro irrigation system that Graham Hastie (Course Manager) is looking forward to putting through its paces to further develop the condition of the playing surfaces.

With the system being fully operational and running many cycles over the last few weeks, it was successfully handed over the club after a thorough testing visit by Roger from Irritech.

Stoneham Golf Club

Stoneham Golf Club has been making noticeable headway with course improvements over recent years with the course manager Matt Plested pushing the course to new levels of presentation. In order to aid with the desire to improve the presentation of the course, Matt quickly established that the irrigation system needed improvement.

With a completely new irrigation system design and specification drafted up by Adrian Mortram Associates, MJ Abbott were successful in tendering for the project.

The project consisted of Toro Infinity and Flex B series sprinklers to a site wide irrigation layout to all playing surfaces including greens, tees, surrounds, approaches, fairways and walkways. At the head of the system was a new Grundfos based pump set and Permastore water storage tank.

Stoneham has some challenging ground conditions, being predominantly clay based, and has wet parts of the site through the winter months, which meant we had to tread very carefully to install the irrigation system while causing very minimal disruption to both the playing surfaces and the access routes around the site.

The main installation of the project was completed by the end of February 2022 with commissioning following into March to bring the system up and operational well in advance of the spring irrigation requirements. With a couple of months of operation during some peak spring weather under its belt, the system was operationally checked by Adrian Mortram and officially handed over. 

Irrigation Supervisor Mark Peat described some of the challenges: "Overall, the project went well, however we had to work in very challenging weather conditions. Due to the project commencing during late September 2021 with an irrigation requirement still possible on site, one of the initial challenges was keeping the old irrigation main live whilst we were installing the new main line which was met with a few challenges due to the signal cable not running with the pipework making tracing the pipework very difficult. The wet weather and the hardness of the ground proved challenging, however Matt and his team at Stoneham were great to work alongside and helped us overcome these obstacles. All round it was a great success, and the client was happy with the final result. We all enjoyed working at Stoneham Golf Club and hope that we can continue our working relationship with the club for many years to come."

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