The old system consisted primarily of double-row irrigation throughout the course. It was also referred to as a “block-style” system, meaning multiple sprinklers were controlled by one electric remote valve. There were approximately 600 sprinklers on 76 acres of maintained turf. Spacing was consistent with irrigation system designs of that era, with fairway sprinklers spaced at 75-plus feet apart. This design provided little control, and its distribution uniformity was particularly poor, given National’s windy conditions and required sprinkler throw distance.
With the old system’s challenges continuing to build, the club decided in late 2006 to move forward with a complete irrigation system replacement. National’s irrigation system renovation was justified and approved based on the long-term benefits of water management and improved uniformity. The renovation would also serve as a tool to help Salinetti continue to deliver championship-level playing conditions.
The new irrigation system was designed with 4,000 sprinkler heads and a new Rain Bird control system. Fairway irrigation was designed at closer 65-foot triangular spacing with single sprinkler control. By applying a precise amount of water only where needed, low trajectory, part-circle, block-type sprinklers make it possible to irrigate the narrow strips of primary rough while consistently maintaining the unique native-area mow lines. Part-circle sprinklers irrigate small tee tops independently of the surrounding roughs, allowing Salinetti to customize the amount of water to the two different surfaces with totally different plant-water requirements. National is subject to a constant wind due to its location between the Great Peconic Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, so the designer and Salinetti chose the specific spacing and pattern as well wind-tolerant nozzles designed to deliver uniform irrigation even in the constant wind that often exceeds five miles per hour.
Salinetti can now precisely control when, where and how much water is applied to the different turf types throughout the property for proven, responsible water savings. The large number of sprinkler heads throughout the hundred acres and tighter sprinkler spacing give Salinetti the ability to irrigate specific areas and control both playability and turf health like never before. The new sprinklers’ dramatically improved water distribution uniformity provides greater efficiency, resulting in shorter runtimes, achieving excellent turf heath with less water. Multiply that over the thousands of sprinklers and the water savings add up quickly.
Now that the system has turned 10+ years old, the collected data over the lifespan of the new, modern system shows the return on investment associated with fewer labor hours, less power, lower water consumption, greater playability and improved turf health. Furthermore, Salinetti and his staff are less stressed thanks to their reliable, efficient irrigation system with its built-in intelligence to make application and runtime decisions.
National has solidified its position as an elite course due to the architectural brilliance of its century-old design and layout. Obviously, the meticulous manicuring and course conditioning provided day after day by Salinetti and his staff contribute to this honor. These tasks are made easier by an efficient, reliable irrigation system capable of providing precise water distribution. Responsible management of the now-10-year-old-system by Salinetti and his staff has resulted in water, energy and resource savings that testify to the importance of efficient irrigation.
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