Kew Golf Club is the third oldest club in Melbourne, and one of the most prestigious in the state. Spanning more than 60 hectares, the course sits in a serene pocket of land just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD and busy freeways – but feels miles away.
Formed in 1894, Kew Golf Club has seen many changes in its time, the latest project being a full course upgrade set for completion by the end of April this year. This upgrade includes a complete overhaul and change out of their irrigation system, from Rain Bird to a full Toro installation.
The irrigation fit out started last year, when Kew Golf Club Superintendent Cameron Hall made the decision along with the club to add a complete irrigation update to their greens replacement program.
“We started last February as a trial, and we liked the results so we continued onto another five holes by the end of 2016, and this year we will have the last 12 holes completed with the new Toro Lynx system by April,” says Cameron.
Contractor Brendan Graham from A&M Watering is completing the installation. A&M have around 30 years experience, and won the Kew Golf Club tender against three other companies overall.
As the complete upgrade program is currently a work in progress, there are still some holes hooked up to the old irrigation system, but Cameron is looking forward to soon having the whole course integrated to Toro.
“When I started here almost 18 months ago there were too many inefficiencies with the old system. Since then we have built a relationship with Toro through our equipment, so it was natural to look to them for this next step.
Our old system has been good, but the Toro Lynx system is better suited to our needs,” he says.
Cameron and his team are most impressed with the INFINITY™ Series Sprinklers, which carries an industry first SMART ACCESS™ patented technology where maintenance crews can gain access to the sprinkler’s internal components without digging the system itself up.
“The level of control is the main thing for us. All your controls are inside the head in the INFINITY sprinkler. The decoder, the pilot valve and critically the wire splices.
We used to have to grab a shovel and dig down, whereas with this one you just need a screwdriver to take the top off and service the sprinkler from there,” says Cameron.
With more than 1000 sprinklers on site at Kew Golf Club, this level of control will assist Cameron and his team now, and way into the future should they encounter any problems.
“It will be a massive cut down in maintenance in years to come. In the next few years it shouldn’t change much because we shouldn’t have any problems, but down the track we will notice a difference for sure,” he says.
Not only will maintenance time benefit and leave staff free to focus on other pressing issues around the course, it will also positively impact members at Kew Golf Club. Should there be a minor fault in one of the sprinklers, an entire hole no longer needs to be closed off for the system to be dug up, the INFINITY heads allow maintenance to continue without being intrusive.
Another drawcard for Kew Golf Club’s move to an all-Toro irrigation system, is their ability to access help at any time through Toro’s National Support Network (NSN®), the first of its kind and exclusive to Toro central control system users.
Toro Irrigation Regional Manager Clint Shaw says the NSN program is a team of Toro technicians based in Australia, some of whom are bilingual, that offer assistance to customers in everything from small system upgrades, to large scale golf applications.
“Our National Support Network is a 24/7 service where a technician is available to talk users through any troubleshooting or product training.
NSN can remotely link up to a user’s computer system to help them with anything they need. We also have a rapid replacement warranty, which is a major difference and first for the industry. Basically it means we will have a replacement computer on site within 24 hours if you need it,” says Clint.
Toro’s NSN is designed to make sure little time is wasted fixing technological problems, therefore allowing golf clubs to maintain high standards for their members, something Cameron has found extremely valuable.
“We have a phone line we can ring 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they’ll walk us through any problems or queries.
They use NSN Connect™ to remotely access the irrigation computer and can assist immediately, it’s fantastic,” he says.
It’s no doubt Toro’s irrigation department is pushing boundaries in technology, and making the life of a Superintendent much easier with products like the INFINITY Series sprinklers and their National Support Network. Not to mention the ability to monitor your golf course’s irrigation schedule from the comfort of your own home via your smartphone or tablet using the Lynx Apps™, instead of coming into work on weekends or the middle of the night if something should go wrong.
In a digital, fast-paced age, where everyone expects perfection constantly – including on a golf course – it is brands like Toro that help make this a little more realistic, affordable and achievable.