Aurora Hills Golf Club, Aurora, CO

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New Rain Bird IC™ System improves water management at Colorado golf course
New IC System adjusts easily to manage challenging soil conditions and a high volume of golfers

Project Overview
Built in 1968, Aurora Hills golf course has some of the best greens in town. The 18-hole course is walkable and has a mixture of trees and naturalized areas. However, very tight clay soils make Aurora Hills a difficult course to maintain. The dry, arid Colorado climate and the slow infiltration rates caused by the heavy soil make irrigation scheduling a significant management challenge. The course was operating a decoder-based irrigation system. The new Rain Bird IC System was installed on several holes using the Hybrid feature of the central control package, which allows two types of field hardware to run seamlessly on the same central control system. 

Project Challenges 
Aurora Hills is very popular among local golfers, logging up to 55,000 rounds per year. To address this maintenance challenge the Aurora hills team needed a smart, integrated irrigation system that allowed for maximum flexibility and control. “Aurora Hills is about providing the best playable course for the golfing public. In order to do that, we needed an efficient irrigation system. Growing grass starts with water management,” said Mike Osley, course superintendant. The goal of the irrigation upgrade was to minimize the impact on the golf course and improve the irrigation system. To address the challenges of the climate and soil and allow as many golfers to enjoy the course as possible, the team needed a smart, integrated irrigation system.

Aurora Hills installed the Rain Bird IC System, which provides a centrally controlled system with increased functionality. This allowed Osley and his staff to effectively manage the irrigation challenges on the course. The IC System is a revolutionary control platform that intelligently links the rotors directly with the central control. Using significantly less wire and 50 percent fewer splices than traditional irrigation systems, the Integrated Control Technology™ eliminates satellite controllers, and reduces waste and maintenance concerns. “The IC System revolutionizes the communication between the central control and the sprinkler head,” said Osley.
“Because of its simple design, the IC System has less wire and components, which translates into labor and overall savings,” said Osley. Integrated Control Technology is built right onto the sprinkler with the IC System, which means fewer splices and a reduced potential for errors or failure. The system eliminated decoders and secondary wiring. With the IC System, there is no need to manually record and enter station addresses in the computer. A swipe of a scanner records the address of each IC Rotor, which is then uploaded to the central control software. The Aurora Hills team worked with Rain Bird to successfully install and test the new IC System. “Working with Rain Bird has been nothing less than professional and the partnership we developed was really quite special,” said Osley.

The system upgrade allowed Aurora Hills to fine-tune their irrigation schedule to maximize turf quality while accommodating the needs of the golfers. As the requirements of the course grow and change, Osley and his team can easily expand the IC System, and Rain Bird’s intelligent two-way communication with every IC sprinkler on the golf course means the team can manage troubleshooting through intuitive diagnostics in the central control software. With fewer parts, wiring, and wire splices, the IC System offers consistent, reliable performance. “The IC System is a step above a decoder system and several steps ahead of a satellite system,” said Osley. “The diagnostics and simplicity are what I see as the next step for irrigation systems.”

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