Lake Monger Recreation Club sits beside Lake Monger in Leederville. It’s popular with regulars and groups of guests, who admire the lake’s black swans from the greens and soak up those glorious WA sunsets at the end of a day of lawn bowls.
The bowling club has two full-sized synthetic greens. The club made the switch to artificial grass because it requires less maintenance and watering. But in a Mediterranean climate like Perth, artificial turf retains heat on a hot day, making the turf hot to the touch and increasing air temperatures near the field. Hot artificial turf can also affect bowl speed; a damp green plays faster than a dry one.
In the Perth suburbs summer days can get as hot as 40C, so the club waters their artificial greens before play. Until earlier this year, they did this manually, laying pipes across the greens and walking around with hoses between games. This took time that could be better used playing bowls. The club’s management committee talked to other clubs about options, then approached irrigation specialist Tony Smith from The Watershed to ask about automatic systems.
When it comes to sports fields, our goal is to achieve good irrigation uniformity no matter what the surface of a field is made of. For turf you need uniformity to ensure the grass grows evenly. But consistent watering is important for artificial turf too. Bowls roll slower on hot dry artificial turf, so if sections are left un-watered, bowl speed can be uneven.
Hunter sprinklers are renowned for their uniformity. The new Hunter I-80 combines a wide radius of water distribution, throwing water up to 29m, with exceptional uniformity, even in windy conditions. A sprinkler in each corner covered the 40m2 bowling greens with ease.
Another factor that made the Hunter I-80 the perfect sprinkler for the job is it’s the first commercial sports turf rotor with no-dig Total-Top-Serviceability. If you need to service a regular turf sprinkler, you must dig a hole to remove it from the ground. Bowling greens don’t like to dig up sprinklers for cleaning or maintenance to maintain the quality of their green. The I-80 is totally top serviceable. You can remove the inside of the sprinkler from the top without digging a hole, which makes it ideal for bowling greens and golf courses, where turf quality is everything.
Another neat feature is the Hunter I-80’s turf cup cover. Plastic sprinkler surfaces can be slippery and unattractive. The Hunter I-80 offers an option for a rubber cap or a turf cup, where you can grow turf on the top of the sprinkler. When the sprinkler retracts you can’t see anything. Lake Monger Recreation Club went with a turf cup cover for aesthetics and safety.
Bowling clubs are also concerned with application rates, especially if they need to water between games. Players don’t want to stand around for half an hour and wait. The application rate of most rotor sprinklers on the market is 10ml/hour. The Hunter I-80 offers 16ml/hour, cooling the greens faster, so folks can get on with play.
When it came to installing the sprinklers, the whole club pitched in. A group of volunteers lifted the paving around the green, then Tony and his team dug trenches, laid the pipes, and installed the sprinklers. Once the system was in place, back came the volunteers and back went the paving.
Tony says, “I was talking to the club just the other day, and they’re very happy with their new set up. It’s a lot less work for them. Because the club is beside the lake, the greens can get a bit windy, so they can also run the sprinklers independently to give hot, windy corners more water as required. It’s working well.”
“I’ve known the Nelson team for 20+ years, pretty much as long as I’ve been in the irrigation industry. They’re great guys, good to work with, we get on well together and they help us out whenever we need support. We go with Hunter products and Nelson every time because of the great technical support.”