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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

Rain Bird

Category

Corporate Headquarters

Azusa, California

Website

Key Employees

Anthony LaFetra – President
J.Bergantino – Director- Business Development
Stuart Hackwell – Director
Mohan Subramanian – Marketing Manager
Didier Genty – Golf Sales Manager – Europe

Profile

Rain Bird Corporation is a leading global manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services – with a significant presence in the golf industry.

Since 1933, Rain Bird has offered a broad range of irrigation products for farms, golf courses, sports arenas, commercial developments, and homes in more than 130 countries around the globe. Rain Bird has also been awarded 450-plus patents worldwide, including the first in 1935 for the impact sprinkler, which was designated a historic landmark of agricultural engineering in 1990. And the company’s Golf Division has a large portfolio of products, including pump stations, rotors, field controllers, map-based and mobile central control systems, decoders, swing joints, filtration systems, valves, and irrigation accessories.

A superintendent from St George’s Golf and Country Club, host of the 2020 RBC Canadian Open, remotely controls Rain Bird golf rotors on his mobile device. (Photo courtesy: Rain Bird)

 

Rain Bird’s Golf Division uses fully integrated components to design total system solutions for golf course irrigation, which are easier to manage and more efficient to operate than mix-and-match solutions. Every Rain Bird golf irrigation product is engineered with Timeless Compatibility in mind, meaning it will work with any previously installed Rain Bird product, as well as with future Rain Bird technologies.

Rain Bird’s control system can tie in weather station information to control an entire golf course and is used by many properties around the United States. Central controls and pump stations are serviced and supported by a comprehensive Global Service Plan (GSP).

Meanwhile, Rain Bird’s central control systems and other advanced control technologies are designed to help golf course professionals manage water more efficiently, while also saving time and money. The ground-breaking Integrated Control (IC) System connects central control directly to the rotor or valve, with no need for field controllers, decoders, secondary wiring, or unnecessary splices. And the MI Series Mobile Controller provides superintendents with convenient, remote access to their central control systems, so that they can turn watering programs on and off, modify schedules, and perform diagnostics from just about anywhere.

Rain Bird originated when Orton Englehart, a Southern California citrus grower, revolutionized the food production industry and ushered in a new era in worldwide irrigation after inventing the horizontal action impact drive sprinkler. Clem and Mary LaFetra, neighbors of the inventor, recognized the sprinkler’s potential and began to market it. Soon after, they established a manufacturing facility in the family barn and began production.

The company’s name, Rain Bird, was chosen as the result of an ancient Native American legend about a great bird that brought life-giving rain following a terrible drought. One of the first commercial customers in the early 1930s was Los Angeles Country Club. Today, Rain Bird is still based in Southern California.

Rain Bird’s guiding philosophy is currently The Intelligent Use of Water, with a focus extending beyond products – to education, training, and services for the industry and the community. With this in mind, Rain Bird’s Golf Division recently developed a Water Intelligence webpage, which provides a resource to golf courses on how to save water with their irrigation systems.

Rain Bird, which maintains state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, France, and Mexico, is also partnered with the international non-profit Golf Environment Organization (GEO) to build on their shared interest in creating a stronger, more sustainable future for the golf industry. It’s a relationship that Mohan Subramanian, Rain Bird Golf Division’s Marketing Manager, said is globally relevant with the company’s goal of “helping golf courses maintain the best possible playing surfaces with less water.”

Rain Bird golf rotors are photographed at Winged Foot Golf Club, host of the 2020 U.S. Open. (Photo courtesy: Rain Bird)

NGF Takeaways

Rain Bird Corporation is a leading irrigation company in the golf industry, on the cutting edge of water conservation and innovation. Given the water requirements of golf courses — the industry’s most important product — it’s a significant position and a noteworthy part of Rain Bird’s overall business.

New advances in irrigation technology are playing an increasingly major part of many course renovation projects across the country, and Rain Bird is able to help facilities save money, conserve water and give superintendents far greater control of their systems. Fueled by the combination of innovative products and modern solutions for golf courses, Rain Bird is strongly-positioned for continued growth and prominence in one of the game’s most essential categories.

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