LANCASHIRE-based Duncan Ross Contractors have completed a project at Heswall Golf Club, Wirral, to remove a ditch and carry out drainage improvements.
Heswall Golf Course stands on land with some historic 'ridge-and-furrow' topography and the improvements retain and integrate this historic feature of the course.
Ridge-and-furrow is an archaeological pattern of ridges and troughs created by a system of ploughing used in Europe during the Middle Ages, typical of the open field system. It is also known in the North East of England as 'rig and furrow agriculture' and is fairly common on golf courses like Heswall, constructed on land previously used for agriculture.
Established in 1902 on the Dee estuary, Heswall Golf Club has seen many improvements over the years - the latest following the purchase of 27 additional acres incorporated into the course design and opened on July 7, 2007.
During construction of new holes a ditch crossing the fifth fairway was left in place as an interesting feature and water hazard. Over time it had become stagnant and overgrown causing delays and irritation to the golfers.
Duncan Ross, Managing Director, was asked by Chair of Greens Trevor Moon to find a solution to include filling in the ditch whilst providing adequate drainage to dry out the surrounding area.
With vast experience and knowledge of modern drainage techniques, Duncan is also a local man with a deep understanding and empathy for the historical use of the land. He believes in working with the features that make these lands unique and is willing to incorporate them into modern practices wherever possible.
He recommended a solution that uses the embedded furrows as pathways for new drainage lines - in other words enhancing the existing natural drains using up-to-date methods rather than employing costly ways to destroy them and rebuild alternatives.
"We could see that by narrowing the spacings it would be feasible to install a drainage line along the furrows that ran alongside the ditch and in a herringbone pattern drawing water away from the site," says Duncan. "The total area covered would be around half a hectare."
"I like Duncan's alternative and sympathetic approach," says Trevor. "He works with us as part of the greenkeeping team, showing exceptional understanding of the needs and safety of the members while work was continuing. His plan was well-designed and has given us an elegant, economic answer that retains the integrity of the course with due respect to its origins.
Turf was lifted from other areas of the course and used to cover the exposed areas so it blended in completely leaving no trace of where the ditch had been.
Duncan Ross Ltd www.duncanrosslanddrainage.co.uk was founded in the 1960s from an extensive background in agricultural land drainage. These specialist skills have since developed across sportsturf, environment and conservation projects. The company is now one of the leading exponents in sportsturf drainage, pitch construction, renovation and maintenance.