Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The TORO Infinity STEALTH - the Ninja of Irrigation

No, not this ninja, Mrs. Esterhouse...a different ninja.  A good ninja.

Given a long enough golfing career -- be it professional, amateur, or hobbyist -- everyone does it.

Everyone takes a dreaded bounce.

Now, we're not talking about a bad hop off of a hard berm, or a kick off of a rock, or even a jump from a cart path.  No, no, no, no, no.  We're talking about that one, singularly special kind of bounce...the bounce off of a sprinkler head.

It's the absolute worst when it comes to luck, because you can have a picture perfect drive or approach completely ruined because, well, dagnabbit, that lousy irrigation designer just had to put the head right there, didn't he?!  You didn't do anything wrong, it was all them.

You're not the only one, trust us.  It even happens to the pros, and it can imperil championship play.
Let's take a look at a case study, and let's begin by setting the stage.

If you recognize this hole, then you already know what's coming...

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon in April of 2014, 66° F with an 11 mph southwesterly wind.  You're on one of the most lovingly tended courses in the world at Augusta National, and you're in the top tier of one of the most prestigious competitions in the sport...the Masters.

Let's reiterate that...the Masters.

The leader has already closed out his second-round day with a string of five back-to-back birdies (!!!) to finish seven under with a three stroke lead.

Let's be honest...it only hurts worse that his name is "Bubba."

Meanwhile, you've already had a rocky start by overshooting on the short 4th, leaving you with a bogey.   Then on the 10th, a chip onto the deck went a little sideways, and you bogeyed again.  You weren't able to get it out of your head on the 11th, and bogeyed again.  All of a sudden, that cut-line is looming very close, and casting a long shadow over your every stroke.

It's fine, though, you think to yourself.  You've already won this two years ago, you can do it again.  It's all in your head, and the game is already 90% mental.  You've got a good lie right in the fairway, and you know you can do this.

You take a two practice swings, the second better than the first.  You can see it in your head...the ball landing on the back of the green near the fringe, and yanking back towards the hole to leave you a kick-in for a crisp par.  This is where you put it all back together.

You swing.  Contact is good...follow-through is beautiful.  Oh, it's in the air, and it is looking good.  Oh, baby, it is looking good!  There she goes, there she goes, oh, it's pretty, it's so pretty!  She's coming down, she's coming down, right on target.  And then....

....................well, then.

Your name is Rory McIlroy, your next shot is nigh unplayable from those...pretty...azaleas.

Although Rory would make the cut for round three with a par on the 18th, he would not go on to take home a green jacket that year.  And, although it was not that single error that sank his bid for that year's verdant vestment, it set the internet alight with discussions about rules, conditions of play, and just sour luck at even the professional level.  Thousands upon thousands of golfers worldwide went to Twitter, Facebook, Message Boards, and Blogs to share their own opinions and personal stories of the heartbreak of that approach.

TORO took a different approach.  Rather than duel with established rules, opinionated viewers and fans, or superintendents who had no recourse, they just figured out a way to eliminate the issue entirely.

Available as of Spring 2017, TORO released the Infinity® STEALTH.


The STEALTH is a kit manufactured and released by TORO that attaches to any existing Infinity body, right on top of the riser head.  This kit isn't just a bit of artificial turf sitting on top of your lid like a top hat, either.  It's a cup that not only allows for 1 1/2" of root growth for natural turf, but also aids drainage to prevent root rot.  

Placing the turf in the cup is easy enough; just take a piece of sod that matches the desired turf, cut it close to shape, fill in the gaps with sand, and then just walk away.  Just walk away.  Keep watering as normal, keep cutting as normal, keep playing as normal.  There will be no need to isolate the turf from the surrounding grass for any reason, and it will not impede the normal function of the head.

Where's Waldo?  THERE he is...

If you're worried about access to the head, don't be...like any other Infinity Series product, the STEALTH Series kit includes the Smart Access® feature, which allows easy access from the top to make adjustments and reach critical components. The Smart Access feature also makes it easy to add new technology in the future.

As simple as looking under the hood.  Maybe even simpler, if you drive a Chevy.

It's not only appearance and ease-of-play that are improved by the STEALTH.  As TORO discovered during their beta testing of several hundred installed units throughout the U.S. over the last year, the STEALTH also showed that it reduced labor (in the form of trimming around lids), the risk of tripping (by crew and members/guests), and improved the maintenance and cutting experience (by providing a seamless and continuous contour of turf).

The tech has been developed, and the tests are in, and now the Infinity STEALTH has realized its complete launch.

This doesn't have to be you.

Call Professional Turf Products at 1-888-PRO-TURF (776-8873) today for even more information, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!