The Prairie Club is a nationally acclaimed golf resort nestled among the Sandhills of north-central Nebraska. For more than a decade, golfers have traveled to the remote town of Valentine to experience the world-class golf found at this semiprivate destination. The expansive grounds include two 18-hole courses, a 10-hole short course, a 17-acre practice facility, two driving ranges, and putting and chipping greens.
When The Prairie Club opened in 2010, approximately 4,500 rotors were installed to irrigate the resort’s 225 acres (91 hectares) of turf. Soon after installation, however, the grounds crew began experiencing issues with the system. First, the original heads had to be replaced with new rotors due to poor performance. Even after the update, several greens suffered from dry spots that required time-consuming hand watering.Then staff noticed that the control software took an excessive amount of time to download programs each night. Finally, at the end of 2020, the club was notified that their irrigation supplier would no longer provide parts or service for their central control system.
Due to the recurring issues, The Prairie Club initiated a search for a new irrigation manufacturer in early 2021. After seeing a demo of the Pilot® Network, they knew they’d found their ideal partner in Hunter Industries. In late 2021, the resort’s in-house crew and Hunter technical support team installed 76 Pilot Field Controllers enabled with flexible and easy-to-use Pilot Command Center Software. This revolutionary irrigation control software effectively balances sprinkler demands with water and electrical supplies to determine the most efficient watering cycles possible. Best of all, the highly intuitive software is fully customizable according to the daily irrigation management needs of the resort. Designed to operate using fewer controllers, the Pilot Network is more robust yet simpler to use than the club’s previous system. This has made converting to the new solution an easy process for the resort’s staff. In addition, the flexibility of the Hunter offering helped the club save a significant amount of time, labor, and money during installation because the existing wires were compatible with the new controllers. Along with system performance and convenience, The Prairie Club staff credited the Hunter team’s service, knowledge, and professionalism as another key reason for selecting Hunter products.“Hunter’s Pilot Network provided the performance, flexibility, and ease of use we were looking for, and their service before and after the sale was truly outstanding,” said Brandon Arens, Director of Agronomy at The Prairie Club. “Their full-service technical support and ability to deliver exactly what we needed made me feel very confident in choosing Hunter.”
With efficient and reliable Hunter golf irrigation solutions, the maintenance crew can now confidently keep The Prairie Club in peak condition throughout the season. Fewer controllers means less hardware to keep track of and maintain. Built-in wireless technology ensures the Pilot Network can communicate effortlessly across the expansive property to ensure all areas are getting the water they need to thrive. Nightly program downloads are also much quicker, saving the staff hours of time.“Our golf courses are among the finest conditioned golf courses that I’ve ever seen anywhere,” said Paul Schock, founder of The Prairie Club. “There are a lot of challenges to growing grass in this climate. In some ways, it’s a surprise to people when they come to a place this far away from big civilization and find the conditions that we have. Our greens may be the best greens in America.”When combining best-in-class Hunter golf irrigation solutions with first-rate service and support, The Prairie Club discovered that partnering with Hunter was truly a hole-in-one!