For many, using the least amount of water on a golf course is the best course of action. However, sometimes how much H20 ends up on a layout has nothing to do with irrigation practices and everything to do with weather patterns.
The worst-case scenario is a facility that experiences repeated flooding. According to one golf course architect, there are few if any ways to prevent it. The best course of action is putting together an efficient reaction to the deluge.
In Florida, for instance, it is common for golf courses that are part of real estate developments to be used as runoff areas for heavy rains. Homes are built on ground that is at 100-year flood levels while the course is at a 25-year-flood height, says golf course architect Tim Liddy, principal of Tim Liddy/Associates.
“It’s like a bowl of water and the course is under the bowl of water,” he says.
Specifications are so precise on projects where courses are the bowl that whatever an architect adds during a renovation or build he must also remove. Bring in fill for one tee complex and that amount of soil must be removed from the site; there can be no change in the holding capacity.
Liddy says it’s best to not try and prevent the flooding, since the costs can be astronomical, and concentrate on a plan of action to get the water off the layout as efficiently as possible, often times with sump pumps.
“It’s better to let the golf course flood and then drain it,” he says.
Most turf varieties can handle being submerged for 24 hours under fresh water.
For courses where only a small portion floods on a regular basis, Liddy says, “A combination of amending poor soils, drainage and elevation are the cure for holes that are too low in the floodplain.”