Abstract: Before starting a golf course renovation project, identify irrigation system impacts. Contractors need mainline locations and elevations before starting work.
Golf course renovation planning begins by identifying all irrigation components within the proposed work limits. Superintendents know their system best, so they should manage this process. Some like to send this task to the contractor but this may result in irrigation disasters because they may not know all the specifics of your system. Identify mainline and lateral lines with hand digging or a wire tracker, available for rent from established irrigation suppliers.
When the project begins, identify the parameters and total area included within the project limits so that your contractor will know the project size. This information is usually identified in the project plans or flagged out in the field by the designer. Mark-out these limits with the contractor nearby to avoid dreaded “work limit creeping” whereby the work area expands and the contractor will want additional compensation for additional topsoil, shaping, sod and irrigation impacts.
After locating pipeline and isolation valves, identify salvageable irrigation components. Consider irrigation laterals and control wire disposable items. In the age of sustainability, it’s amazing how many usable valve boxes, valves and sprinklers are trashed. Choose the items you want to save, and be sure that they are cleaned and stored after removal, not left in a pile near the work site.
If the mainline will stay, identify it with large orange stakes. Establish mainline elevations to insure that final construction grades will provide enough pipe cover without creating a noticeable tomb-like effect that will disrupt the feature aesthetics. Be sure that it doesn’t conflict with drainage pipe inverts.
Work with the contractor to flag new valve box and sprinkler locations. Valve box locations must avoid foot and vehicle traffic, and sprinklers must be spaced to maximize coverage. Test the new system to insure coverage before sodding.