Otterbine news SEEING IS BELIEVING AT ‘ACE OF HEARTS’ Thanks to the ingenuity of deputy greenkeeper Lewis Mattholie and Otterbine’s Fractional aerators , Brickendon Grange Golf Club has two new beauty spots at the club for golfers to enjoy. With the problem of slightly stagnating water in the ponds flanking the eighth and eighteenth holes and the occasion of the club’s 50th anniversary to mark, Lewis decided to tackle the problem. “The water needed some TLC, it was stagnating and starting to smell. I knew the answer was an aerator so I decided to create a makeshift unit with a hose and end plug to demonstrate the effect of a fountain!” The management committee could instantly see how a fountain would rejuvenate the two holes by bringing beauty and tranquillity. By choosing Otterbine’s Fractiona l five-in-one aerating system , the club benefits from improved water quality too. The Fractional transfers an impressive 1kg/2.2lbs of oxygen per hp/hr and has pumping rate of 115m3/ph, which keeps the ecosystem of smaller areas of water in balance. Lewis confirms: “The water quality has vastly improved.” In fact one member of the club was so taken with the two new fountains they offered to pay for both! Which leads us to ponder the club’s nickname of the ‘ace of Herts’. While we know it’s so named for its geographical location, with such kind-hearted members we wonder if it’s more appropriately named the ‘ace of hearts’! news lines . summer 2017 . 11 Insider knowledge Rob Green, inset, is Reesink Turfcare’s senior technical support for Toro Irrigation. The phrase – ‘industry stalwart’ – most certainly applies to Rob, with over a decade of experience installing, programming and maintaining irrigation systems, and now training. We caught up with Rob hot on the heels of presenting at the Turfcare Professionals Irrigation Training Day, co-hosted by Reesink and turf irrigation specialists Aquaturf , in Dublin. Why was there a need to hold an irrigation training day? Irrigation is a topic often left in the background. The result of this is when problems do arise, they can come on quickly, catch you out and won’t always have an obvious solution, meaning a contractor has to be brought in to rectify the issue. The training day provided information that can be applied to all brands of irrigation equipment, advice on the best sprinkler configurations for different areas of a course and hopefully helped end-users develop a trained eye to implement preventative measures against potential problems or ably respond to existing ones. What is the most common issue with irrigation systems? The most common issue I come across on site visits is negligence. Too often a system has not been installed to a suitable standard or is no longer set up properly. As a result performance will suffer: cables that aren’t potted correctly, sprinklers that aren’t set up properly, debris in the pipework from installation and incorrect data within the controller are all common situations. It’s why we always promote allocating the time and care needed for the installation of each and every system. It is imperative for supplier and installer to oversee everything to ensure the standard of installation matches the quality of the product and clients don’t incur unnecessary operating costs and repair time. Why do you think irrigation systems get overlooked? I’ve noticed users are sometimes hesitant to meddle with their irrigation systems due to an uncertainty over the outcome of any changes made. For that reason, quite often irrigation maintenance doesn’t attract the same attention as the specialist machinery cutting the grass. Given that other than the land and its bricks and mortar within, an irrigation system is likely the biggest asset you can own, this never fails to surprise me. We think it’s time to start applying the same principles to irrigation maintenance that are applied to machinery maintenance. We show end-users how equipment can be made to last longer, do a better job and reduce operating costs. What are your top tips for irrigation maintenance? A big part of my role is faultfinding within existing systems and providing advice on in-house maintenance. Things such as replacing old greased filled crimps for new 3m DBY/R units, routinely checking controller data matches sprinkler setup in the field, inspecting arcs to confirm application area is correct and checking that service earth points are always secure are easy to do and make a big difference, instantly. How did the irrigation day help with these kinds of issues? The two outdoor sessions I co-presented with my colleague Cevan Edwards brought a fully operating sprinkler system above ground. By having the whole sprinkler on display we were able to demonstrate best operating practice, show what potential faults look like, and help people identify and deal with these problems in a proactive manner. We could point out the hydraulic tubing, which is fitted to the outside of the Toro Infinity sprinkler body, and attached to the sprinkler below ground and away from damage. And the gear drives of the Flex and Infinity sprinklers which are all lubricated with water rather than oil. This detail provides a fundamental understanding of all aspects of irrigation and dispels any pre-existing assumptions of how some sprinklers operate. Call Rob at Reesink on 01480 226948 for more information. Leeds Castle in Kent has recently installed a Toro Lynx control system with 180 Flex 35 and Flex 55 sprinklers on all the greens, approaches and tees of the nine-hole golf course, plus the short-game practice area, putting green and partial fairways to holes one, two and nine. Installed by MJ Abbott, the project has been such a success that irrigation has subsequently been brought on to the castle island too, with a further 130 sprinklers providing water to the croquet lawn, Maiden’s Tower garden and upper and lower level gardens.