As we work our way through yet another dry year at Nemadji, I feel as though a more thorough discussion on things irrigation might be timely. We have already clearly established that the piping at Nemadji is undersized garbage requiring constant digging and repairing. What we have not discussed are the electronic controls here at Nemadji which-you guessed it-are extremely outdated and crumbling fast.

You may have seen the control satellites on the golf course as you play. They are the green pedestals(some with duct tape reinforcement) located throughout the property and they contain the 80’s era electronics that turn sprinklers on and off on the golf course-mostly in the evenings when you are not here but sometimes into the day as well as we have to lengthen our watering window due to the meager pumping capacity we have. Anyway, age, corrosion, and obsolescence are beginning to take their toll on this vital part of the irrigation system. Repairing them is always an adventure as you never know what you are going to find.

Upon arriving at a satellite on 14S to discover why it is not working, I found the following gibberish on the display:

Bad Clock 7-7-2023

Upon opening the box for closer inspection, I found this:

Snake resident 14S Satellite 7-7-2023

And this:

Wasp Nest 14S Satellite 7-7-2023

This box had been run over 5 years ago or so and was never quite right since then. We finally took matters into our own hands and installed a new satellite:

New Satellite 14S 8-3-2023

This relatively low cost($2000-everything is expensive these days) satellite should get us through the next few years until we have a new system installed that will not have these on the golf course at all. Technology exists now that allows us to control everything via a computer in the superintendent’s office with access via portable electronic devices like our phones as well as 2-way radios. These new boxes are a stopgap measure allowing us to hold on until a new system is in place in a few years.

Sometimes these boxes are damaged by players who run them over:

Satellite 11W Green 7-19-2023

This satellite was run over by a player who promptly, and honorably, owned up to their error. We all make mistakes. Luckily nobody was hurt but the damage done to this satellite was terminal. Limited to non-existant parts availability and cost made this unit more expensive to repair than replace. Which we did with a unit similar to the one on 14S. These are just a few examples. The shop is full of dead clocks that we have replaced this year with more going bad every week as we lean on the system more:

Bad VT-4 and LTC Clocks 8-4-2023

Keeping Nemadji alive during times of drought stress really is a battle-and a costly one at that in time, money, and stress. Much work goes into doing our best to present as good a product as we can to our patrons. This is our job-we do what needs to be done but I often wonder how much better of a job we could do at Nemadji if we were not tying up so much time and money into a dying irrigation system. We could be adding sand and drainage into bunkers, edging bunkers, brushing areas that need it, aerifying and topdressing tees, plugging out weak areas in greens, really anything besides this. I look forward to that day.

See you on the golf course.