Solving Golf Course Drainage Problems Starts With A Plan September 1, 2016

Seepage drains often are part of successful drainage improvements. 

Poor drainage is a major concern at many golf courses. Drainage issues cause undesirable playing conditions, cart restrictions and course closures, leading to unhappy golfers and lost revenue. Furthermore, consistently wet golf courses also are more difficult and expensive to maintain.

Fortunately, poor drainage can be fixed. However, unlike a parking lot or street, removing excess water held in the soil of a golf course requires special drainage techniques. While some drainage issues may be easily remedied, in many instances a specialist is needed to develop a drainage master plan. Here are three things to consider when facing drainage issues:

1.    Start with a plan – Sometimes it is difficult to see the big picture when addressing drainage issues. Simply providing a superintendent with a trencher and budget for drainage pipe may not be enough to successful resolve complex drainage issues. Often, a drainage engineer should be consulted to help develop a comprehensive drainage master plan. A master plan is an impressive document that identifies the cause of drainage issues while providing solutions, a realistic cost appraisal and an estimate for how long it will take to address drainage issues. Master plans can range in size from one hole to an entire course depending on the scope of the drainage issues and the priorities of the golf course.

2.    Consider hiring a contractor – Depending on the project scope, hiring an experienced and well-equipped contractor may be the best and most economical way to complete a drainage project.

3.    Close work areas – Drainage projects can occur without closing the golf course. However, the hole where drainage work is occurring should temporarily be closed. Also, large-scale drainage projects can be performed in phases, sometimes over a 3- to 5-year period.

Poor drainage negatively impacts the golf experience and economics at many golf courses – don’t let it drag down your facility. Work with an expert to create a drainage master plan that will quickly and efficiently solve drainage issues and improve playing conditions. 


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Large-scale, complex drainage projects require planning and coordination with a drainage engineer due to the many factors involved.