Woburn Golf Club is one of the most famous golf centres in the UK – if not the world. Officially opened in 1976, the Duke’s Course, which hosted the 1979 British Masters, was eventually joined by the Duchess’ Course in 1978 and, in 2000, by the Marquess’ Course. Each course has its own personality and foibles and all three are well respected by the local and international golfing community
Located at Little Brickhill, near Milton Keynes in England, the three courses are nestled amid mature woodland on the Duke of Bedford’s Woburn Abbey estate. The woodland setting gives the courses much of their appeal; but the stunning fairways and greens also add to the overall picture.
Like all golf courses, the work behind the scenes to keep the courses looking this good is staggering, with a full army of grounds-keeping staff working around the clock to maintain the courses’ immaculate appearance. As well as traditional mowers and hand tools, the ground staff also rely on technology to help them in their day-to-day jobs. One particular new installation saw PKM Solutions and Routeco work together to deploy technology from Rockwell Automation and one of its Encompass Product Partners, ProSoft Technology, in a very interesting and novel configuration.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the grounds staff at Woburn Golf and Country Club is irrigation and water supply to water features. With acres of rough, fairway and greens to manage, the three courses all require significant quantities of water and this has to be managed very carefully to ensure the right amount of water is in the right place at the right time.
The primary irrigation infrastructure comprises a reservoir, which feeds two remotely located tanks – some two miles away – using pump stations. These tanks need to be closely monitored to ensure that water level do not drop too far. An automated system is certainly the obvious solution, but with the distances involved, communication can become an issue.