Water costs are one of the biggest expenses for golf clubs. At the same time, it is better to prepare now that we will not always have an infinite amount of water at our disposal.
I can still see a large number of golf courses are still relying on mains water (potable) as their main supply of irrigation water.
This is unsustainable for turf irrigation and a potential source of business risk for golf clubs.
Drought is a major challenge for Madeira’s agriculture and golf clubs. Priority will always be given to domestic and industrial users over perceived ‘leisure’ users.
That’s why I like to share exemplary cases where the golf club recognized the problem and did something about it.
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra – €2.5m irrigation project
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra has just completed a €2.5m irrigation project. The new Toro irrigation system will monitor a pipe network of around 37km – and will help to reduce the club’s water consumption by nearly two-thirds.
As part of its water conservation program, Clube de Golf Santo da Serra has installed
- 237 new valves and
- another 61 electro valves across the different playing areas of its 3 nine-hole layouts over the last 18 months, which will be managed by 240 stations located on the course.
- Monitored by 17 satellites, they will not only detect a leak in real time but also collect data related to meteorological conditions and the amount of water used in each irrigation.
The club now has been able to strategically place its 1,297 sprinklers across its 3 courses.
It has managed to dramatically reduce the area that needs irrigating to just 15 hectares, with the amount of water needed going from 2,200m³ to 868m³.
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra – on-course lake renovation
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra has also completed the renovation of four on-course lakes that it uses for irrigation, including increasing the capacity of its largest lake by 17,000m³ to 28,000m³ by capturing the venue’s annual rainfall.
It is estimated that the combined capacity of the lakes is now around 40,000m³, a volume that will reinforce the storage capacity of the Lagoa do Santo system.
This investment will help the firefighting operations by the Civil Protection helicopter and, in extreme conditions, the supply to farmers in neighboring municipalities.
Thanks to the cooperation with the Golf Environment Organization, Clube de Golf Santo da Serra has dramatically reduced the carbon footprint of the course by using a black sand endemic to Madeira in all its bunkers.