The Best Golf Course Drainage Systems for Your Property

Golfers have high expectations when it comes to golf courses. If the ground isn't pristine and stable enough to play, they won’t want to come. Maintenance is critical for keeping a golf course in good condition, but all the maintenance in the world won't matter without proper drainage. Taking the time to work with the architect to ensure there is adequate drainage around the putting green and common areas will protect the course, minimize maintenance requirements, and ensure that your golfers are happy. 

Here is what you need to know about golf courses and drainage systems:

Importance of Golf Course Drainage

Importance of Golf Course Drainage

Without proper drainage, a golf course's greenkeeper cannot effectively do their job. Areas on the course with poor drainage are more difficult to keep well-maintained, especially with the high expectations of avid golfers in mind. Poor drainage can lead to soft ground, however, the actual physical damage takes longer to show.

Over time, without the proper drainage, a golf course will begin to deteriorate. As the damage worsens, maintenance will become more complicated, forcing the golf course to shut down in order to perform the necessary repairs. This can lead to a significant loss in revenue–especially if you don’t address the root cause of the issue.

What Golf Course Drainage Systems Need

One of the primary needs of golf course drainage is a high flow rate. Golf courses are susceptible to flooding from stormwater, so ensuring the drainage system can handle a high input level is critical. Appearance is also something to consider; golf courses are known for their pristine appearances, so you want to ensure any drainage system you install does not detract from that beauty. Whatever system you choose should also have a design that ensures golf balls and other small equipment and accessories are not getting lost in the drain, or are easy to retrieve. 

Considering the amount of maintenance that a golf course requires, you will ideally need to invest in a drainage system that is easy to maintain. Systems with automated cleaning capabilities provide even more benefits, as the maintenance crew will have even more time to care for other course areas.

Drainage System Options

Golf courses can utilize a few different types of drainage. You want to work with a golf course architect and drainage expert to decide what system is best for your course. You can also mix systems to ensure that every area of your course has adequate drainage.

French Drains


For a practical, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing drainage system around the course, there are French drains. French drains are subsurface systems that help divert water from a high point, where the drain starts, to a connected outlet at a lower point. These drainage systems feature an underground trench covered with a bed of gravel to help water flow to the end of the trench. At the end of the trench, a perforated pipe transports the water to a connected outlet.

Retention Ponds


Retention Ponds

Retention ponds are another option for golf course drainage. Retention ponds are artificial structures made to hold stormwater and other forms of water runoff. They are permanent structures, and the water level varies based on the amount of water runoff. Unlike other systems, for retention ponds to be effective, they require regular maintenance, including mowing, weeding, and keeping inlets and outlets open for water flow.

Catch Basins

Catch basins are another effective form of water management for golf courses. They are similar to French drains and involve an underground trench with a pipe that moves water from one location to a designated water runoff outlet, like a retention pond. The trench gets covered with soil, with only the drain cover remaining visible to provide an opening for the water to enter. Unlike French drains, catch basins are located in the lower areas, catching the water as it flows downward.

Slot Drain

French drains and catch basins make great golf course drainage systems around the actual golf course, but you won’t want to use them in the common areas with hardscaping. Slot Drain's 7,000 Series system is a sleek system that blends seamlessly with the surrounding hardscape like check-in areas, clubhouses, and pathways. The system features a slim, highly durable channel that doesn't require a drain cover and efficiently handles high flow rates and heavy traffic.

Keeping the Green Pristine

Never overlook the importance of drainage, especially around a golf course. While it won't be immediately noticeable, a lack of drainage can effectively destroy a golf course, which can cost thousands in repairs and lead to a significant loss in revenue. 

When planning a golf course, it’s critical to ensure adequate drainage in every area to prevent standing water, and combine drainage methods for a more effective setup. Having golf course drainage systems in place from the beginning will save you headaches down the road and make sure you don't have to stop operating because of a major storm. Contact Slot Drain today to keep your golf course well-drained and in pristine condition.