Keighley Golf Club
By David Markham
The West Yorkshire club have taken radical action to beat the floods. The course, which is on a flood plain alongside the River Aire, has frequently been under water.
Now the club are putting the finishing touches to a 145-yard long ditch, which is already paying dividends in the battle to prevent flooding.
Head Greenkeeper Philip Palmer said: "We have increased our capacity to hold flood water by making the ditch. The ditch enables the river to flood the course a lot quicker but it also drains at the same time as the river falls. In other words, we are helping the river to flood our course but the water will subside at the same rate as the river falls.
In the winter of 2000-1 we were flooded for more than eight weeks. Since I came to the club in 1991 we have had four bad floods per winter, but this is increasing as winters are becoming milder and wetter.
Last summer was the turning point for the club. Our course was flooded in June and it left us with a lot of silt. It was a mess and it affected club members and visitors alike.
Members are now wanting to play reasonable golf all the year round, but when a course is flooded to a depth of three feet it is very difficult."
The ditch cuts across the sixth and seventh fairways, which are the worst two fairways for flooding. As well as constructing the ditch the club also undertook some drainage work on the third and 12th holes.
Representatives from the Environment Agency visited the club to discuss the flood problems before work began.
Outside contractors started work on the ditch at the beginning of October. Now, Keighley's own greenkeeping staff are completing it. The ditch has a ten-inch reinforced concrete base with a fall of five feet from top to bottom.
Motorway style drainage channels have been laid and cemented in; the edges have been back filled with a 40mm clean stone providing a firm base to work on. The work will not be completed until May, but benefits have been felt straightaway, says Philip.
The club have also constructed two new bridges across the ditch and renovated the drains adjoining the ditch to make sure the drainage system works efficiently.