Thursday, 24 September 2020
Irrigation overhaul makes grass greener for Boonah golfers

by Dick Forsyth

Boonah Golf Club, in the heart of Queensland’s Scenic Rim, is on the threshold of a greener future following a major overhaul of its course irrigation system.

Recognized as one of South East Queensland’s premier 9- hole, par 72 layouts, Boonah’s playing surfaces have long had access to recycled water as a safeguard in dry times.

Now, thanks to a unique partnership agreement with Queensland Urban Utilities, formalized in December 2019, recycled water volumes on the course can be significantly increased above the 52ML base rate that has been traditionally supplied.

The joy for golfers, whether they are beginners or A graders, is that fairways will appear wider, because of the extended reach of sprinklers between tree lines. 

Boonah Golf Course Superintendant, Cameron Crepin, who has known mostly dry times since taking over 2 years ago, called the project a game changer for the course and practice driving range.

“All pre-2017 sprinklers have been replaced with 260 new sprinklers installed, giving us a total of 440 all up. Plus the underground mains have been replaced with more than 8km of new poly, including most of the original system installed in the late 1980’s,” he said.

“Work is now complete, so the Club is equipped with a modern watering system that will be fit for purpose for another 30 years. “

Cameron can control the entire system from a couple of computer screens in his office, or from his mobile phone, a huge benefit in terms of flexibility and time management.

“The biggest benefit is the reduced watering time needed thanks to the variable speed pump. Where it would take 15 hours, mostly at night, to water the course with the old system, this does it now in about half the time,” he said.

The mutually beneficial project has helped QUU future proof its recycled water operations so that it can better manage water levels in the treatment ponds, thus reducing any risk of overflows contaminating the nearby Teviot Brook.

Boonah Golf President, Ray Humphrey said a key part of this was construction of a large turkey dam, estimated to hold nearly 13ML, on club land which was undertaken by Klan Bros, a local earthworks contractor.

“This agreement with QUU will remain in place until 2038 and includes an incentive payment for the club if quarterly usage exceeds 12.5ML,” Ray said. “To manage additional mowing a Toro Groundmaster 4000D was included in the project.

“The turkey dam also provides QUU with an emergency holding capacity for significant rain events when they occur, so it has been a win for both parties.”

The irrigation work has been done by Turf Irrigation Services, a Brisbane-based firm that has completed many similar golf course projects.

Local contractors were used for other components: Smick Electrical installed a new power panel including connection to the dam pump system; and contractor, David Gnech did the associated fencing and cattle watering point.

The Club also has used the recent Covid-19 restrictions period to do internal clubhouse improvements, namely installing a dedicated café bar in the Member’s area and renovating the function room to make it more appealing for weddings and other events.

Club Manager, Joey Worley said most of the work was done by volunteer or contributed expertise, such as painting and carpentry, which highlighted the supportive attitude of Members generally.

“There is a great welcoming atmosphere at our Club and these improvements, coupled with what has been done on the course, will ensure Boonah remains one of the ‘must play’ courses in south east Queensland,”  he said.