Course drainage programme benefits Burton-on-Trent

Annabel Gilbert in Drainage & Irrigation

Burton-on-Trent Golf Club is nestled in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside and has over one hundred years of competitive play at its current historic location. The picturesque, mature course is set in 150 acres of woodland and boasts immaculate fairways and fast multi-tiered greens. Course Manager Leon Dalton talks about his ten year plan and how recent drainage work has improved course closures this winter, despite the inclement weather.

"The course here is built on heavy clay and has predominantly clay based greens. In previous years, we have always had to close holes and shorten the course due to flooding and wet ground making certain areas difficult to access with buggies and trolleys in the really wet months."

"Last year, we embarked on a ten year plan to improve the playability of the course with a view to reducing, or putting a stop to, the course closures. We started the work last year by thinning out woodland areas to improve the air flow and, just before Christmas, we began to implement a new drainage system, primarily on fairways and rough ground, and also linking into some pre-existing drainage on the 6th hole."

"We were in a fortunate position in that a member of the club drew us a plan of the existing drainage system, which was instrumental in piecing together the jigsaw of what we already have, what is working and what we needed to improve. We spent a lot of time working with our irrigation specialist John Kukla from John Kukla Irrigation Services to get a really accurate plan before we started the trenching. John cat scanned all the existing pipework and we painted a map of it directly onto the turf. Mick Claxton from Shelton Drainage also produced us a detailed drainage plan which was invaluable. It was really worthwhile spending so much time on the planning, as we didn't have any issues once the work started."

"We hired the drainage machinery from Shelton Sportsturf Drainage and they also supplied us with a skilled operator to run the main trencher. It proved the ideal solution for us. We hired a Shelton Supertrencher+760, 6 Tonne Fast Flow Hopper and 3 Tonne Gravel Band Drainer. Andrew Curtis from Shelton drove the tractor with the Supertrencher and my team backfilled the trenches with gravel."

"We managed to complete all of the drainage work in five days. The installation all went very smoothly and you could see improvements from the first heavy fall of rain, which was about one month later - water just poured out of the drains; even on short runs you could see how well they were performing and it's been great to hear club members commenting on how well it's working, they can literally see the water leaving the ground as it is pours from the outfall pipe. I would definitely recommend it, it's been well worth the money."

"We've got another busy year ahead. We'll be de-silting ponds and clearing ditches this summer, and then we plan to embark on some more drainage work next year."