Good drainage is the foundation for all sports turf surfaces, not only for stability reasons, but also because it enables oxygen to enter the soil after the water has percolated through.
To tackle the problem of poor drainage performance on old style push-up clay based greens, a greens primary drainage design system for non USGA greens has been designed by PJA and successfully installed at several golf clubs.
The system provides a cost effective method of installing deep (min 500mm) piped drains which achieve the necessary hydraulic potential to deal with sub surface drainage issues. Combining the pipied system with appropriate decompaction, aeration and topdressing procedures thus creates a drier, firmer surface all year round that will sustain machinery and mowers much earlier in the season.
The depths and specification of the backfill stone & rootzone materials are perhaps the most critical elements of all within this process, as it is vitally important that the trench lines are not susceptible to drying out in the summer months. The particle size distribution of subsequent topdressings is also another important aspect for achieving the best results.
An elaborate system to control flooding on the golf course at L'Ancresse Common in Guernsey was designed by PJA which dealt with a severe fooding problem leading to course closure. The system consisted of 4 chambers with pumps permanently installed enabling salt water to be pumped back into the sea, whilst the fresh water is pumped back through the irrigation mains to a storage lagoon for re-use in the summer. (See article). The system does not drain the site, as natural water is required for cattle drinking pools on the Common, but it deals with flooding (excess water) by the use of a mixture of solid, and perforated pipes set at different depths above and below the water table.
As an example of a more simple, yet very effective drainage system, at the newly constructed Clandon Park Club, PJA designed a money saving tees drainage system using just 10m - 15m of piped drainage in each tee, yet ensuring that the important competition areas of each tee are well drained to keep them in good condition for winter play.