Around 7000 metres of poly pipe is being installed underground on the fairways to bring the Narrandera Golf Course up to one of the best in country NSW.
The irrigation works upgrade has been funded by a $475,000 Stronger Country Communities Fund and a $186,000 Infrastructure Grants program.
Nozzle performance and design of the new automated sprinklers are set to save 25 per cent of the course water usage, along with savings on labour efficiency. The club is also hoping to claw back its ranking as one of the top courses in regional NSW.
Club President Jeff Osmond said work got underway two weeks ago, with the project expected to be commissioned in early September.
The course will remain open to play, with no more than two fairways closed at any one time.
“All the main pipes are in and within three weeks we will be doing most of the fairways –it’s magic to get it going,” Mr Osmond said. “We will be able to get the course back to some semblance of a good course like it used to be.
“We’ve had to cancel several ladies and men’s tournaments plus pennants as the course has not been presentable. Players would come from all over the Riverina to play at Narrandera in the past – this will benefit the town as a whole. We hope to get back a lot of members who won’t play because of the conditions.”
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the $661,000 project would boost tourism in the region, giving a huge injection to the Narrandera
“The club has worked so hard to keep the watering up to this ground annually,” she said.
Watertek was awarded the tender of a Toro based irrigation design for the 18 holes. Wagga branch manager Michael Abbott said the system comprised about 8km of pressurised 75-160mm pipeline and a fully automatic pump station pumping at the rate of 30 litres a second at 900 Kpa.
“The pre-programed pump station has the capacity to be run by wifi,” Mr Abbott said. “The club has the opportunity to change the programs to suit the environment.”
Mr Abbott said the autumn break had made it easier for earthworks on the drought-stricken course, with some local tradespeople used.
“While this is unique to Narrandera, it is a very high quality system the club has purchased.”
Toro territory manager (Wagga) Michael Lenehan said Sydney consultant Peer Brueck oversaw the Group One design.
“It has been designed to a championship irrigation spec,” Mr Lenehan said. “This is a Toro GDC decoder system – a single row system with integrated flex golf heads. As the fairways are not as wide as some other courses, it is a single row system up the centre of the fairway and every sprinkler head is individually controlled.”
Mr Lenehan said individual sprinklers had a variable run-time based on slope, gradient and gravity.
“This will give even water distribution on the high slope down to the bottom,” he said. “Over summer, normally one megalitre of water would be used on the course via manual labour using quick couplers with brass impacts, while the new design will mean a 25 per cent saving on water through nozzle performance and design.
“The new system is automatic so there is more time for staff to do fertilising or mowing rather than manual irrigation.”
Club member Noel Crighton said Toro professionals had voted the Narrandera club as the fourth best country golf course in NSW. But, the drought-affected course quickly fell away in the rankings.
“It takes one person three full days to water all the fairways with manual plug-in sprinklers,” Mr Crighton said. “Because we are all volunteers, we don’t have that person so the course over the last two years has got to a desert state.”
The club has a 300ML high security and general purpose licence to pump irrigation water from the main canal for 4km to a holding dam on the western side of the course.
“This new system is designed to backflow from a connection to Council’s grey water so we have the opportunity from sourcing from either the canal or grey water,” Mr Crighton said.
Michael Lenehan said the club would claw back its rankings on the back of the new irrigation system, encouraging more people to visit Narrandera.
“I expect members to say this will be short term pain for long term gain – nobody will be begrudging as they have been waiting so long for a fully automatic watering system,” he said. “In the future they will have one of the best country courses to play on.”