Obtaining funding to upgrade your golf course equipment and irrigation can sometimes be a difficult exercise.
However, for the Eastlake Golf Club, just 10 kilometres from the Sydney CBD; and the Atherton Golf Club, about 75 kilometres west of Cairns in Far North Queensland, the solution was close to hand.
Irrigation and turf care specialists Toro Australia, which has been working with golf clubs around Australia for generations, was able to tailor special finance packages to enable renovations at both courses. The work at Eastlake involved upgrading the irrigation system to a satellite control system, while work at Atherton included a major upgrade of irrigation equipment and the purchase of a specialist mower to improve productivity and facilitate future expansion.
Eastlake Golf Club, Sydney, NSW
The Eastlake Golf Club, a 5881 metre par 72 course located on 56 hectares of Sydney’s famed eastern sandbelt, was founded in 1932. Open to the public, it has more than 1200 members and was recently named one of Australia’s top 50 golf courses that can be played for under $50.
General Manager, Mr George Kozis, said the Toro Finance package enabled the club to update its existing irrigation control system from decoders, sourced from a third-party vendor, with a new Toro Network VPe satellite system to help “future proof” the course. The VPe Satellite combines modular flexibility, ease of use and maintenance along with increased control in a single controller. It is available from 16 to 64 station models to meet all needs. Station based flow management reduces the nighttime water window and optimises pump efficiency. In conjunction with the Toro Lynx Central computer the VPe controllers form a system that provides ultimate performance while saving power, water and running costs.
Mr Kozis said: “The original decoders came from England and could not be sourced anymore. Toro presented us with the opportunity to move to a VPe Satellite system and they came up with a finance package that made sense. “The new system can be operated remotely by our course supervisor using his iPad or smart phone. It is flexible enough for him to be able to operate the system manually and turn on individual sprinkler heads when required, which is great in periods of hot, dry weather.”
“Since I’ve been here we have lost three decoders to lightning strikes and replacing them proved problematic, costly and time-consuming as the new decoders needed to be programmed. Now with the new Toro VPe Satellite system in place, these problems no longer exist.” Mr Kozis said Eastlake Golf Club had a good relationship with Toro, which provides most of its mowers and maintenance equipment. Installation of new wiring and satellite boxes was completed in October 2013.
Atherton Golf Club, Atherton, Queensland
The Atherton Golf Club is a 5458 metre par 70 course, one of two 18-hole courses on the Atherton Tablelands. With almost 230 members, the course was built in two sections with 12 holes irrigated from a dam fed by treated wastewater and the other six on more expensive mains water.
The Toro Financing package has enabled the course to upgrade the irrigation system so that mains water is no longer needed for irrigation and provision has been made to expand the system further in coming years.
The upgrade included the installation of new communications cabling around the course, a new Toro GDC control system, connectors, decoders, a new mainline, pipework, solenoids and the installation of a new variable speed pump and a Toro AF800 Automatic Suction Scanner Screen Filter. The club also purchased a new Toro Groundsmaster 3400 Triflex mower as part of the package. With proven Flex suspension these cutting units float freely over contours and undulations of the greens, which results in a superior quality of cut and after-cut appearance.
Atherton Golf Club’s Manager, Mr Owen Harvey, said the new irrigation system had been connected to the 46 existing stations that currently irrigate the course’s greens and tees. “However, the new system can handle up to 200 stations, which will allow us to expand watering to cover the fairways as well in the future,” he said. “All watering can be programmed to take place at night, which has pleased our players, given that the water source is treated grey water. “The system is set up so that if we receive more than around 30 ml of rain during the day, the irrigation will automatically close down.”
Flexibility of payment
Mr Harvey said a key benefit of the finance package had been its flexibility. Toro Finance can tailor repayment schedules to meet the seasonal needs of borrowers. “This flexibility has certainly helped the club’s cashflow.” said Mr.Harvey
Toro’s Irrigation Representative for Far North Queensland, Jeff Harrison, said that as part of the financing arrangements, Toro Finance directly paid the contractor who undertook the work once it had been signed-off. “This provides the local contractor with the comfort of knowing they will be paid promptly on sign-off,” he said. Mr Jim Grimshaw of Tableland Pump and Irrigation Repairs and Service, which had worked on the Atherton upgrade, said this had provided additional assurance when undertaking the work.