Golf Courses: Why So Much Water?

If you have ever golfed, you have probably been faced with landing your ball in a water hazard. If you are a frequent offender, you may have even wondered why course designers insist on incorporating so much water! While the widespread use of artificially constructed golf course ponds and other water hazards didn’t begin until sometime after WWII when modern earth-moving equipment became available, they quickly became de rigueur as golfers came to expect the appeal of dramatic “natural” landscapes incorporating forest, grasslands, water and gorgeous vistas. While the specific components of celebrated golf course design have changed over recent decades, the basic elements have remained the same.

No matter where they are located, most golf course designs incorporate water features. When used well, water features influence golf strategy, provide for irrigation reservoirs, drainage containment and flood detention areas, while providing aesthetic value. Construction of golf course ponds and lakes on particularly flat landscapes can even provide cheap fill dirt for the construction of rolling hills or other desirable features.

In today’s world, as environmental conservation has taken center stage, the use and proper re-use of water on golf courses has become increasingly important. Local municipalities require golf courses to supply their own water for irrigation and to serve double duty as flood-control areas and environmental filters. Today’s golfers also demand better irrigation and drainage than was expected in the past. As a result, virtually every golf course incorporates a large irrigation reservoir lined with an impervious membrane as an absolute minimum.

An added environmental benefit to the installation of multiple ponds, lakes and other water features on a carefully maintained golf course is the habitat that is provided for local wildlife. In fact, well-managed courses offer better habitats than some farm and park ponds. While the average golf course is comprised of only about 30 percent playable area, the lakes, forest and other natural areas meandering through and around golf courses provide a surprising amount of undisturbed areas for forage, cover and nesting. In fact, researchers have found that golf courses have proven to be more valuable from an ecological standpoint than even state parks and nature reserves about 50 percent of the time!

Whether the golf course designer’s ultimate focus is on aesthetics, strategy, or environmental conservation, the fact is that pesky water hazards are surely here to stay. At BTL Liners, we are proud to have worked with some of the industry’s best designers on the construction of stunning courses. Our liners are used to ensure that water is conserved even in the most challenging environments, and we are pleased that our efforts contribute to the preservation of wildlife and valuable ecological resources. For information and expert technical assistance with our geomembrane liners for golf course lakes and ponds, or for a quote on your specific project, call us at 541-447-0712 or visit us online at www.btlliners.com.

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