June 2017’s Champions of the Green are the team at Vidago Palace, Portugal, host of the 2016 Bonallack and Patsy Hankins Trophies pitting Europe against Asia-Pacific. The club has been highlighted owing to their efforts to minimise water use across the course.
The golf course was renovated in 2008-2010 into an 18-hole Par 72 course. Throughout the planning and construction phases of this renovation the golf design team worked with irrigation and drainage engineers and environmental experts to ensure the course's environmental compatibility with the local topography, landscape and the important mineral aquifer upon which it is located.
“We recognisie water efficiency as a key priority for not only our club but also our region” said Paulo Ferreira from Vidago Palace. “The newly renovated course was designed with this in mind, and further to design features in 2010 we invested in one of Rain Bird’s state of the art computerised irrigation systems, the StratusÔ II.”
Rain Bird’s StratusÔ II has allowed the club to accurately monitor, record and react to water levels across the course, providing real time remote irrigation control via a web enable mobile phone.
The system is designed as affordable and easy to use. With ET-based control it uses information from an automated weather station (located within the golf course) together with data from soil probes, evapotranspiration, crop coefficient, efficiency of the irrigation system and exposure factor (sun, shade, forestry and stream), to adjust irrigation schedules on a daily basis for optimum plant health and water savings.
“This irrigation system means we have very high irrigation efficiency across our course, enabling us to not only minmise water use but to also minimise our costs” continued Paulo Ferreira. “We’ve seen cost savings not only directly though reduced water use but also through a reduction in energy use, with pumps and sprinkles being used less.”
Along with installation of the Rain Bird irrigation system the team at Vidago Palace golf course have reduced water consumption on the course by running the irrigation system during the morning hour, readjusting sprinklers to avoid paths regular checks and regularly monitoring water data and site audits to ensure any leaks are quickly discovered and fixed. Continual staff training and regular tune-ups of the system are also carried out to ensure peak efficiency is maintained.
Away from the course Vidago Palace also practice water conservation measures in the club house and maintenance buildings with the installation of low-flow toilets, faucets, showers and urinals in buildings. The club has embedded further initiatives across the spectrum of sustainable golf into their daily operations and in 2014 they become GEO Certified® - a credible international recognition of their commitment to nature protection, resource efficiency and community value.
You can see Vidago Palace Golf Course’s full, independent, GEO Certified® Verification report at www.golfenvironment.org and you can start your own path to sustainability with golf’s sustainability platform at www.getoncourse.golf