DP World Tour star Ricardo Santos took time out from his busy playing schedule this month to help Clube de Golf Santo da Serra mark the completion of a €2.5m irrigation project that has helped to make the Madeira course a golf pioneer and model for water management.
Portuguese ace Santos joined a group of club officials, members and local dignitaries who gathered at the 27-hole venue to celebrate the official inauguration of the new state-of-the-art irrigation system that will monitor a pipe network of around 37km – and will help to reduce the club’s water consumption by nearly two thirds.
As part of its water conservation programme, Santo da Serra has installed 237 new valves and another 61 electro valves across the different playing areas of its three nine-hole layouts over the last 18 months, which will be managed by 240 stations located on the course. Monitored by 17 satellites, they will not only detect a leak in real time but also collect data related to meteorological conditions and the amount of water used in each irrigation.
With the club now having been able to strategically place its 1,297 sprinklers across its three courses – the Machico, the Desertas and the Serras – it has managed to dramatically reduce the area that needs irrigating to just 15 hectares, with the amount of water needed going from 2,200m³ to 868m³.
In addition, Santo da Serra has completed the renovation of four on-course lakes that it uses for irrigation, including increasing the capacity of its largest lake by 17,000m³ to 28,000m³ by capturing the venue’s annual rainfall. It is estimated that the combined capacity of the lakes is now around 40,000m³, a volume that will reinforce the storage capacity of the Lagoa do Santo system.
And it not just golfers and visitors that will benefit from the eco-project, with the system also providing for the provision of water for firefighting operations by the Civil Protection helicopter and, in extreme conditions, the supply to farmers in neighbouring municipalities.
Ricardo Abreu, general manager at Clube de Golf Santo da Serra, said: “We have a duty to all our members and guests to deliver the best playing experience possible and we weren’t able to do that with the previous system that was old and badly out of date.
“The new irrigation will transform the way that we operate on a day-to-day basis. Everyone at the club is enormously proud of the work that has taken place and we believe our integrated remote management system will set the benchmark for clubs seeking a smarter, more efficient solution to golf course irrigation.”
Clube de Golf Santo da Serra – one of three world-class golf venues in Madeira alongside Palheiro Golf and Porto Santo Golfe – is committed to delivering long-term sustainable eco solutions. The club has also recently updated it golf academy and clubhouse and its work to preserve the environment has been mirrored by the other clubs in the idyllic Portuguese archipelago.
Porto Santo recently introduced a range of new measures aimed at lowering its eco-footprint and making golfers more environmentally conscious, with upgrades being made across its golf and clubhouse facilities in the coming months to reduce water, plastic and electricity usage and improve recycling levels.
The installation of a new pumping system in the lake on the fourth hole to improve irrigation efficiency and cut golf-course water consumption; the sale of bamboo tees in the pro shop to encourage golfers not to use plastic golf ones; and a new rubbish house to improve recycling levels are just three of the changes being introduced, while Palheiro Golf is also working hard to deliver increased sustainability in and around the golf course.
As well as registering with the Golf Environment Organisation, the venue has dramatically reduced the carbon footprint of the course by using a black sand endemic to Madeira in all its bunkers, with future plans including the purchase of new golf-course maintenance machinery.
Located approximately 1,000km from the European mainland – and just 500km from the African continent – Madeira enjoys an amazingly mild climate, ranging from 25°c in the summer to 17°c in the winter, with very mild average temperatures and moderate humidity, making it the perfect year-round location for a golf break.
The best way to enjoy the island’s golf is with a Madeira Golf Passport which, providing holders with an unrivalled golf experience, is available to both individuals and groups and can be booked on a three or five-round basis.
For further information on Madeira, go to www.madeiraallyear.com.