"Ditch digging is my life," says Mike Hill (above), owner and president of International Irrigation, Inc., of Jupiter, Fla. As irrigation subcontractor on the Florida renovation, Hill and his five-man crew have been digging trenches and laying approximately a half-million feet of PVC pipe from the Flowtronex pump station to the extremities of the course. "In recent years golf course irrigation has gone from a pretty simple operation to very sophisticated systems," Hill says. "You used to have a single row of quick couplers, no sprinkler heads, and someone had to go out and turn them on by hand every time you watered. Now the superintendent can call the computer from his home and turn on the system."
Similar improvements have been made in pipe fittings and sprinkler-head deployment. The fittings at This Old Course are made of either PVC or ductile iron. The sprinkler heads are set 80 feet apart and arranged in three parallel rows on each hole, with the middle row throwing water in all directions and the outer rows spraying only toward the fairway, preventing overwatering of trees and rough. "We call it a wall-to-wall system," Hill says. "Those old oaks don't need all that water."