Golf Course Architecture - Issue 56: April 2019

45 the course to championship length – over 7,400 yards from the tournament tees, one of five sets on each hole – reconstructed tees and greens, and saw ten new lakes designed to create a dramatic and spectacular course. Key to the design principles practiced by the Swans in the rebirth was a focus on protecting the natural environment and important habitats as the holes were built. Fundamental to this was comprehensive planning in the management of water for the courses: where it came from, where it was to be stored, how it was to be used and how its quality could be sustained. This was embodied in the system design specification developed in collaboration with Rain Bird Europe and its authorised service partner In-Aqua, based in Zagreb, Croatia, to provide Royal Bled with one of Europe’s most advanced irrigation systems. The design concentrated on conserving, harvesting, recycling and optimising the use of water on the golf course. The comprehensive and long-term strategic plan drew together these interdependent elements of best practice and related them to the wider environment of the course, given its proximity to the Triglav National Park. One of the requirements set out by the architects was to create a system to encompass the wholesale King’s course renovation and the future development of the Lake’s course. This was reflected in the pump station sizing and design as well as mainlines and cables. Royal Bled pays for irrigation water supplied from a lake at the hydropower plant some five kilometres away, but supply pipe limits the daily volume available. Consumption reaches 1,500 cubic metres per day at peak, so In-Aqua was also asked to prepare a water management study proposing options for supplying water from a nearby river and for the movement of water through lakes at the course. They also installed temporary flow measurement at a nearby spring to establish its capacity. The irrigation system proposal included water sourcing and lake management, in addition to irrigation system design, pumping and pH control, central control programming, advanced weather and soil sensing features, and other adjacent systems. Critical to In-Aqua being commissioned for the project – alongside its ability to provide wider water management support and a comprehensive programme for the King’s course – was Rain Bird’s capacity to deliver the requirements and its consistent commitment to its systems. Slovenia is prone to lightning strikes, recorded as often as three or four days Photo: Royal Bled The par-four sixth on the King’s course at Royal Bled