Australia's most
informative golf website

golf guide 24


How Does Golf Course Drainage Work?

Golf is one of those rare activities that bridge the gap between competitive sports and a relaxing, almost meditative pastime. For some, nothing is more relaxing than heading out onto the course for a quiet round of 18, preferably with the cooperation of the elements. In particular, rain.
Unfortunately, water doesn't stop being a problem once the rain goes away, waterlogged fairways and greens do not make for a relaxing game of golf. So, how do you keep golf courses from flooding?

Natural Drainage
One of the most cost-effective ways to keep a golf course from turning into a swamp is to fashion the course with an outward slope wherever possible. This will cause the water in those areas to run away from the golf course, preferably in the direction of a body of water, or somewhere with decent drainage. This has the advantage of being absolutely free from a maintenance standpoint. Unfortunately, it is not a method you can use everywhere unless you want a very bland and predictable golf course.

Professional Plumbing & Drainage
Of course, for more effective drainage, you might want to seek out a professional to utilise specialist golf course plumbing methods, in areas where natural drainage can't do the trick. We spoke with Cameron at Blocked Drains To The Rescue a plumbing & drainage specialist in Sydney, “The first step is to establish where drainage is needed, which is anywhere that water rests for long periods after rainfall”.

He went on to say that, “One popular method is to use swales. Swales are essentially shallow ditches with gently sloping sides. Water in these ditches filter through the soil, losing any debris it may be carrying, before entering the drainage system underneath.”
Another method is a gravel pit, which is more commonly used where it is not feasible to get a piped drainage system in place. A gravel pit is exactly what it sounds like-a pit full of gravel or another type of drainage stone material. Water will always take the path of least resistance, and a material like gravel is much easier to permeate than soil.
In its most basic form, golf course drainage involves a lot of underground perforated pipes, though the mechanism by which the water gets down to those pipes may be different depending on the layout of the course. Unfortunately, there is no version of golf course plumbing that does not require ongoing attention from professionals.

golf course

Watering Golf Courses
Somewhat ironically, given that we have just been talking about keeping our golf courses dry, watering them is also a problem for plumbing. Especially in Australia, where our summers can be long and dry, leaving the grass without the hydration it needs.
Typically, a combination of methods are used to keep the golf course green and healthy.
Sprinklers are, of course, the ideal solution from an ongoing perspective, but they are not always feasible to use over the whole course due to the masses of piping needed. Mobile water tanks and hoses are also options, though they obviously require more work in the long run.
Generally speaking, golf courses tend to use sprinklers for key areas, such as greens, while taking a more hands-on approach for the rest of the course.