It seems time and again, the words “irritation” and “irrigation” are used in conjunction with each other. The definition of irritation is “the state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or slightly angry”. With common headaches and issues in the process, the word irritation has been synonymous with working on golf course irrigation systems. However, it does not need to be this way. Creating a basic Preventative Maintenance (PM) Program can help eliminate some of the in-season headaches and frustrations and allow you to be prepared with little added stress.
Implementing a daily checklist, a weekly checklist, and a quarterly checklist will provide a path to a smooth operating irrigation system. Let’s review some irrigation tasks that can be assigned to each of those checklists and help get that PM program underway.
Daily Tasks –
- Check for wet and dry spots on the course.
- Verify central communication to the field.
- Check the pump station system monitor for any irregularities.
These tasks will quickly find if there are any problems with your irrigation system and allow you to handle them before they become a bigger issue.
Weekly Tasks –
- Observe sprinkler operation to insure proper rotation, no clogged nozzles, and no other leakage.
- Review actual water usage vs. projected flow usage.
- Update the central database base with any changes.
- Inspect the pump station.
While these weekly tasks may be a bit more time consuming, they are sure to save time and money in the long run.
Quarterly Tasks –
- Open and close isolation valves to prevent them from sticking on or closed.
- Verify the patterns of part circle sprinklers.
- Raising and leveling sprinklers.
- Visually inspect Controllers (Refer to our March Blog).
While these tasks aren’t done as regularly, they are important. Waiting until a pipe bursts or a fitting fails, is not a good time to realize that an isolation valve will not close and you are unable to isolate the problem.
These checklists are by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a solid starting point. PM programs should be customized for each course. Creating and implementing a PM program will save your course money through water conservation and reduced energy consumption. At the same time, it will improve and help maintain your golf course’s playing condition. Having a PM Program will help prevent systematic failures at inopportune times, like let’s say Friday afternoons or before a club event.
Make sure to assign accountability for the irrigation system maintenance to several team members. By doing so, it will create a shared team focus to complete each task. All staff members should be trained to look for and report any problems they encounter. This will help increase the likelihood of catching any and every issue as they arise and allow for handling them in a timely manner.
By following through on a PM program, you are being proactive and not waiting for an emergency situation where something breaks and must be handled immediately. Stay a step ahead of any issues. Be prepared and make sure to always keep a good selection of sprinkler repair parts as well as a good selection of repair fittings for any size of pipe that is on your course.