Irrigation Control System Part 3 of 3

Irrigation Control SystemStep 5 – Purpose, Presentation & Payoff

Reasons to Replace a Irrigation Control System Include;

• You have older, failing satellites that require costly repairs, or have been discontinued and cause       excessive downtime on a regular basis.
• Satellite electronics or the satellite enclosures are rusting.
• Existing pads that are severely cracked or leaning and about to collapse.
• Older dial type satellites that fail to run the stations for the run times or starts as programmed.
• The course is undergoing some type of renovation that includes irrigation changes.
• Existing communication wire is problematic and unreliable. (Go-radio based communication.)
• You want more control over your irrigation system.

Presenting the Project to Ownership

When presenting a control system upgrade to membership or the course owner, it’s important to be prepared and able to provide them with realistic expectations. Be prepared to answer many questions such as;

• “Why is a new control system needed?”
• “What benefits will be derived from the new control system?”
• “What is this project going to cost?”
• “Who will perform the work and how long does it take?”
• “Can we wait another few years and what are the negatives if we do?”

If your irrigation system is an older block system with 2, 3, 4 or more sprinklers tied into one electric valve, it is highly unlikely that a new control system alone will enhance turf and soil conditions. This needs to be conveyed to ownership so expectations regarding course conditions are realistic.


The payoff or return on investment can be measured in dollars and course conditions. There are numerous benefits, all of which can be calculated and conveyed. To give you some ideas, they can include;

• More consistent course conditions from tee to green and hole to hole
• An increase in membership or public play
• A decrease in electrical and water expense
• A decrease in repair and maintenance labor
• A decrease in budget for irrigation repair and materials
• Extend the life of all underground irrigation components

Step 6 – Additional Considerations

• What is the best season to commence the project?
• How long will it take and how long will a given satellite be out of order?
• Is future expansion possible with renovations? Consider purchasing higher count satellites that allow for expansion. Additionally, install larger sweeps that provide room for future wires.
• If budgets allow, purchase one extra satellite in case of fire, lightning or golf car damage.

Lastly, consider an evaluative site visit by an experienced golf irrigation specialist that will provide a written report with recommendations and reliable budget numbers. And as we always tell our clients, “give me a call if you have questions. Calls are free and we don’t do change orders”

Craig F. Zellers is a principal of Golf Irrigation Consultants (GIC). Our company provides “Turn-Key” irrigation consulting and contractor services including; Control System Installation, Design, GPS Mapping, Programming, Water Audits, Turf Removal Programs, and Troubleshooting & Repair. GIC has installed over 350 satellites. Craig is a Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor and holds a California C-27 Landscape Contractor license. He has worked on golf courses for 37 years and is a former CGCS. Craig can be reached at (415) 342-1030 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.