One of the many challenges faced by Atalaya Golf & Country Club’s course maintenance team is keeping our irrigation system in good repair. This ongoing work is carried out year-around, even during the COVID-19 lockdown.

A hidden problem in maintaining high functionality of our irrigation system is the expansion and contraction of its pipes. Usually, such expansion and contraction happens in the longer sections of the pipelines. When pipes expand and contract, leakage or sometimes even the complete failure of the system results. In tandem, course damage and water wastage are caused. Since failures usually occur at the system’s joints, Atalaya’s maintenance crews, as a precautionary measure, are in the process of replacing old joints with modern, moveable ones that expand and contract. These new joints will help to eliminate the problem altogether.

The system’s sprinkler heads are another problem area that require regular upkeep. (We have 2,146 sprinkler units between the Old and New Course.) To make our courses more playable and provide for drainage after rains, Atalaya uses large quantities of sand for topdressing all fairways, greens, tees and roughs. This topdressing coupled with the natural movement of clay within the soil causes the sprinkler heads to become recessed deeply into the ground. When sprinkler heads are beneath the surface, their functionality is impaired. To alleviate this problem, Atalaya’s grounds’ staff steps in and raises them back to their optimal operating height to yield proper performance.

Our irrigation system is essential to the sustainability of both of our courses, and we are proactively developing solutions to maintain the system with minimal staff while our courses are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new reforms not only allow maintenance work to be carried out more easily but also insure that our facilities are better sustained.