This week we blow down our irrigation system for the winter.
What that means is that we rent a 375-750CFM compressor. We connect it to the irrigation pipe coming out of the pump station and replace the water with compressed air. To do this we start at the pump station and actually blow out the water with the compressed air. We push air through the main line and open the valves that go to the ponds to clear the main line first. After that we do holes 5 & 6 and then work 4-1 and then 7-9. We do the Driving Range, clubhouse, #10, maintenance area until we get to gender road. We then work 11-13 and 17-16. this pushes all of the water toward #15 tees. We finish with 14 and 15 and end at the tee complex on 15.
The whole process takes between 2 1/2 days to 5 days depending on weather and how well the compressor builds up pressure with existing irrigation leaks. At each stage we turn off the lateral valves to the greens, tees, and fairways to reduce the need to pressurize the lines already cleared. We don’t want to be ‘Air Hogs’.
in the past we would have two to three people entering codes for the heads. Last year we went with myself entering codes and my assistant manually turning off valves and moving manual valves to pre-drain the lines of water. The Quick Coupler Valves at the tees and greens are open valves with no pressure restriction (Heads require 80 PSI to pop up.) which is where we use the extra runners. (The process moves faster with less water in the lines.)
Bu the end of the week the irrigation lines will be done. We do the same thing to the pump station. The following week we start to break down the unnecessary items on the course for winter (like water coolers, ball washers, fairway yardage posts, and bunker rakes.) Then by Thanksgiving we should have the course stripped down and ready for any snow cover and freezing temperatures.
Mark Novotny CGCS