08 Mar 2019

Toro Irrigation Saves Water by 25 Percent at Royal Birkdale During Record Heatwave

Royal Birkdale Golf Club has saved 25 percent on water consumption during the 2018 heatwave thanks to Toro.

The timing could not have been more fortuitous as Royal Birkdale Golf Club turned on its new Toro irrigation system in April 2018 just in time for one of the hottest summers the country has ever experienced. 

Little did Chris Whittle, course manager at Royal Birkdale, know, as the tender process for a new irrigation system started in September 2017, that within weeks of installation a record equalling heatwave would hit the country. 

As golf courses fought to prevent their turf from being burnt brown and water costs rose accordingly, Chris was in the fortunate position of having efficient, accurate and precise irrigation at his fingertips with a new Toro Lynx central control system and all new sprinklers, including Toro Infinity, across the 240-acre 18-hole links course in Southport, Merseyside.  

“The time had come to replace our system,” says Chris, who has been course manager at the prestigious club for almost a quarter of a century. “We had a Toro system that had always served us well and the service from distributor Reesink Turfcare, L.S. Systems and Robin Hume Associates has always been great so there was no question we’d go with anyone else, but we needed more control. Lynx was the obvious choice and no sooner was it installed than it was put to the ultimate test!”

And the system triumphed in the face of adversity, says Chris: “We’re delighted with the results Toro has delivered. We spent some time learning the system, there was tweaking required as we set it up, making it specific to the course and making sure we maximised its capabilities. Once that was done, operation was easy and straight-forward. As I’m sure you can imagine having remote access to make real-time adjustments was particularly useful this summer! 

“Prioritising water allocation meant we kept the course playing well, looking fine and in the best possible health,” Chris continues. “Not only that, but despite the need for more irrigation than we’ve experienced for many years, we made huge savings in water consumption.”

25 percent savings and that’s a conservative estimate, says Chris: “It was a figure that was unexpected in how significant it was. We hoped to make savings with the new system obviously, but not while we contended with extreme heat and lack of rain, the worst of which we hadn’t seen in years! When we realised how much we’d saved we couldn’t believe it.”

Royal Birkdale has held more championship and international events since World War Two than any other course in the world and has been voted the number one golf club in England, one of the top five clubs in the UK and among the top 35 in the world, so standards were expected to remain high despite the conditions. And Toro could be relied upon to help do just that.