With the world running low on freshwater and the cost of water (including effluent) rising, it’s an exciting and challenging time to be in the irrigation industry, especially in golf course maintenance. Just ask David Angier, the senior marketing manager for Riverside, Calif.-based Toro Irrigation, who realizes how vital his company’s role is in golf and sustainability when it comes to water management.
“We have a long list of new product development projects,” says Angier, noting that they include sprinkler, nozzle, software and field control projects. “We have more projects to do than engineers to work on them.”
In many cases, the projects are all about making existing projects better.
“When superintendents tell us they need a sprinkler that does this or that, that’s the type of requirement we put into the project’s scope,” Angier explains. “We want to build as much innovation as we can into a new product, and we want it to meet the needs of our customers.”
Each project has the goal of helping customers better manage their irrigation, Angier says, citing a recent project involving Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California, which was facing the prospect of lower availability and higher costs for its water due to new state mandates.
Robert Trent Jones II led a renovation of Poppy Hills and partnered with Toro Irrigation to conserve water on the course. Toro Irrigation’s Precision-Sense mapping of the original Poppy Hill’s course was done to quantify soil moisture, slope percentage, turf vigor and other factors that affect water use. Poppy installed a new Toro irrigation system, including Toro Lynx Central Control with GDC two-wire field control, sprinklers and 54 Turf Guard sensors to measure moisture content in the soil and provide information used in controlling individual sprinkler heads.
From a sustainability perspective, Toro Irrigation’s goal to help superintendents save water has as much to do with economics as it does with being environmentally responsible. The time is coming when fewer and fewer golf courses will receive free water, Angier says. Not only that, but the electricity to pump water is also getting more costly, says Carl Standifer, Toro Irrigation’s southwest golf sales manager. He notes that the company wants to help superintendents “fine-tune” everything — from water use to power use — to help their courses be more sustainable.
“We’re tying it all together,” Standifer says.