The Nest
Golf Club

Managing an older hydraulic irrigation system comes with
difficult challenges like maintaining adequate water pressure
and the inability to control individual heads.


To retake control, the team at The Nest Golf Club searched for a solution where they could improve water distribution, remotely monitor heads and make routine maintenance easier — and in the process, maintain consistent water pressure levels for the most efficient coverage.

Introduction

Nestled inside the gates of Pelican Landing in Bonita Springs lies The Nest Golf Club, featuring two 18-hole courses that challenge a wide spectrum of golfers. For years, greenkeepers used a hydraulic irrigation system that provided spotty water coverage and was prone to leaks. Pinpointing the issues was difficult and time-consuming.

But it wasn’t just time that was wasted with the old system. The team knew they were using more water than necessary without a way to cut back — and in southwest Florida, where good water is a commodity and more people are moving in by the day, conservation of water became a crucial component of their much-needed course renovations.

Challenge 1: Inability to control the hydraulic irrigation system

With a hydraulic irrigation system, if there’s a problem with a single head, it runs (or leaks) until someone closes the valve or shuts off the pumps. And on a massive property utilizing three pump stations a few miles apart, managing and fixing issues was always a huge headache. As a result, maintaining proper water pressure was a critical challenge.

Solution: Install a system where each sprinkler head is individually controlled

Replacing the old hydraulic irrigation system with an electrically powered one means Jason Zimmerman and his team can now monitor sprinkler heads individually to quickly spot and fix any issues. Installing rotors that allow for optimized heads means pressure regulation and arc adjustments can be made from the top of the rotor, requiring only a common screwdriver.

How We Did It: Installation of the Rain Bird® IC System™ with new 752 Series Rotors

Following Dave Ragan’s designs, Nutt Construction first increased pipe sizes, added additional loops and tied in extra main lines. Next, they incorporated new 752 Series Rotors to allow for individual head control and improve coverage. Combining this new infrastructure with the new IC System improves water flow throughout the property and drastically reduces maintenance time.

“With the old system, I would run six sprinkler heads and start dumping pressure because the hydraulics were all tied together,” says Jason Zimmerman. “With our new system, I can run 16 heads at one time with no worries.”

Challenge 2: Running multiple sprinkler heads at once

With some of the older golf course irrigation systems, it’s not uncommon for two or three rotor heads to be tied together in the middle of a fairway and on tee boxes. If the course design is diverse — sandy spots, areas around lakes, south-facing mounds, low-lying areas and so on — it’s a requirement to either run three heads at once or none at all.

A process like this creates uneven watering, which typically requires grounds crews to spend time hand-watering selected spots to achieve consistency.

Solution: Provide individual head control to optimize water placement

With individual head control, crews can change the output percentage from head to head and put the right amount of water exactly where they need it.

How We Did It: Installation of a Rain Bird® IC System™

The Nest is saving in reduced water use, and the team expects water savings to increase to around 25%–28% by the time they’re done with both courses, helping the surrounding community conserve a precious resource.

“Thanks to our new Rain Bird System, we’re seeing over 20% in savings in the cost of water — and we pay for a combination of running wells, buying reclaimed water from the city of Bonita and more,” Jason says.

Challenge 3: Multilingual staff

Communicating with a crew spread across nearly 200 acres of turf can be a challenge even when team members all speak the same language — but throw in a second language like Spanish, and misunderstandings and mistakes can feel inevitable. Even the most efficient golf course irrigation system can lose some of its effectiveness when co-workers aren’t able to easily communicate about exactly what’s needed and where.

Solution: Provide a golf course management tool that offers multilingual capabilities

With CirrusPRO, The Nest now has the ability to toggle between English, Spanish, French and more. Grounds crews can grab their mobile device to quickly understand what’s happening and where in their own language via CirrusPRO™ Central Control.

How We’re Doing It: CirrusPRO™ Central Control System

With CirrusPRO the team will have the ability to select the language of their choice to communicate with everyone. Their “old school” radios of the past that required multiple codes to turn on a sprinkler head won’t be necessary.

Instead, using the mobile map, users can simply touch the screen to easily make changes in the field. Not only does CirrusPRO simplify communications by eliminating the need for translations, it also allows all selected users on the team to water a dry spot or make adjustments in the field efficiently.

Results

Thanks to the new Rain Bird irrigation system, the team at The Nest is seeing water savings and a healthier golf course. They attribute this to better water pressure and individual head control, which in turn leads to better coverage.

But to the team, proof of success is in the positive feedback they continue to get from club members. As Jason puts it, “They see the difference between our renovated course completed last year and the one that hasn’t been renovated yet. There’s a big difference — and when they’re happy, we’re happy.”

Testimonial

“Our courses are sandy, and when the tubes in our old hydraulic irrigation system leaked, we could never find them because they don’t leave a wet spot. Our new Rain Bird IC System gives us individual head control, allowing us to spot and address any issues quickly — for us, that’s huge.”

-Jason Zimmerman
Director of Greens & Grounds
The Nest Golf Club


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