Is Your Golf Course Flood Proof

It is a highly valuable real estate that must be protected. Heavy rains do not cause significant problems in some golf courses. However, golf courses in floodplains have to spend more on repair and maintenance and face revenue losses. 

So, you need a design that can mitigate flood damage. Here is how to deal with floods. 

Business Plan 

  • Have a long term plan for revenues, expenses and lost plays days. 
  • Store documents off site or keep them on the second floor and also keep digital copies.  
  • Have proper insurance. It should cover more than tree loss.   

Regional Hydrology 

In case you don’t know, hire an engineer and get an idea of the watershed and flood potential. Your golf course hydrology and related problems are unique. 

Golf Course Design 

Fairways, Tees and Greens 

  • Consider the recorded 100-year flood elevation and raise greens to 12 to 18 inches above that level. If the 100-year flood elevation is not possible then it should be at least 50 or 25-year flood elevation. 
  • Raise tees to 50, 25 or 10-year flood elevations. 
  • Raise fairways to 10, 5 or 2-year levels. Have lakes, lowered roughs and other areas that can act as detention reservoirs.
  • In case you cannot raise fairways, you can ensure quick drainage by re-grading fairways with 3 – 6% minimum slopes. 
  • Design drainage and irrigation systems that allow to lower the levels of lakes. This increases storage capacity before it rains. 


Make sure that you don’t have an undersized drainage system. Expect serious clogging problems if your drainage system has small pipes and catch basins. 


  • Larger drain pipes with more capacity
  • Larger catch basins 
  • Choosing the right pipe size

Note: Floods in hot weather can kill turf within 3 days. 

  • Add manholes every 300 to 500 feet. These manholes should be 48-inch. Drainage trunk lines should be large enough to clean easily. 

Cart Paths 

Paths allow you to access different areas. You don’t have to worry if you have higher paths. So, raise your cart paths. Make sure that you can handle drainage issues.    

Slopes and Channels 

Depending on soil type, water flowing at 1.5 – 3.5 feet per second can erode bare ground. Depending on the type of grass, turf can resist erosion even when the flow is doubled. You can use erosion control netting for channel banks. You can also reduce flow damage by using rip rap or gabion walls. 

Golf Course Equipment 

Jacobsen golf course mowers and every other golf course equipment are very expensive. Make sure that your investment is protected against floods.

Irrigation System 

Consider the following while installing a new irrigation system: 

  • Make sure that the pump station and controllers are above flood levels.    
  • The computer should be on the second floor.  
  • Minimize controllers and wires by using a 2-wire decoder system.  
  • Use 18” swing joints. 

Jacobsen golf course mowers and other modern pieces of golf course equipmentmake it easy to maintain a golf course. However, the current weather also has an impact on golf course maintenance. Heavy rains and floods keep golfers out of action. When you see aerial photos after heavy rains, you can see homes in the neighborhood relatively high and dry but golf courses are under water.