“I look forward to continuing to learn about the role”

By Alistair December 16, 2023 07:01

Irrigation expert John Kidson talks to Nick Wilson, the irrigation technician at The Addington Golf Club in Surrey for the last three and a half years, about his role, in a bid to help others learn more about life working in the irrigation industry.

How did you gain your role?

I started at The Addington in June 2020 – just after Covid – as a greenkeeper. During my interview I was told there were vast changes and improvements starting soon, which I was keen to be a part of. Part of these improvements was to install full irrigation on fairways, approaches, surrounds and greens. Nearing the end of this process the golf club asked the installation company to show a greenkeeper the basics of irrigation. I offered to help and learn something new. I also had the opportunity to shadow an engineer on the snagging list and I enjoyed the different challenges that came with irrigation. Soon after the handover was complete, I was offered the role of irrigation technician at the club.

How much of your time is spent on irrigation?

During the summer months when the system is at full pressure, I work on it two or three afternoons a week. During winter it’s less so, however I still make sure that everything is set up and ready to go when the system is turned back on in early spring.

Do you control your own stock?

I do control my own stock, yes.

What type of ground does your site have?

We have a lot of different challenges with the type of ground we’re on, some areas are gravel, some are also on clay and on some occasions, we are lucky enough to be on sand. It varies from hole to hole and area to area.

The course has undergone vast amounts of improvement work over the past years, how has this affected your irrigation system and your role at times?

We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go through such changes and it is all about adapting to different changes each time they happen. The system was designed in a way to allow us to complete the changes over a length of time. Some sprinklers were set a long way into the rough in expectation that the course would change and eventually have those sprinklers as a part of our everyday programmes. We’ve been able to introduce more and more sprinklers to our programmes as our playing corridors are widening and we are adapting to the challenges of growing grass / heather in areas we previously were not.

Do you take moisture tests and what is a good percentage range?

We do take moisture readings on the greens and the optimal range is between 20 to 24 percent.

Do you have more knowledge of irrigation now than when you first started the role?

Yes, massively. New challenges help me to learn more and more each time and I’m looking forward to continuing learning more about my role.

Are there any areas you wish to gain more knowledge on within irrigation?

There are a few areas, the main one would be to learn more about the inside of pump sheds and the massive role they play as part of keeping water pressure high around the course.

Thank you for your time, and it’s always a pleasure seeing the course.

Follow John on social media @JKIrrigation


By Alistair December 16, 2023 07:01

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