Feature Design

Water Features

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Water features take the form of creeks, rivers, lakes or oceans and have many purposes on the golf course. Challenge, aesthetics, sound, environmental enhancement drainage and water storage for irrigation, are the direct result of placing water within the layout.

Construction requirements often make it necessary to include water features as a source of material for shaping of the golf course. Costs are lowered when soils removed to create lakes are used to build greens, tees and bunkers.

The placement of water to act as a hazard for challenge is carefully considered. The challenge is directed primarily towards better players with options always available to avoid the hazard. Since hitting the ball into the water is such a severe penalty, it is positioned to be visible to the golfer so that there are no surprises. Lateral hazards are more forgiving than forced carries. Water features running diagonally across the fairway create alternatives for all golfers.

For maximum visual impact, water should be viewed from an elevated site. The larger the expanse of water, the more impressive it looks. Vistas across water are created from strategic locations such as the clubhouse, entrance drive and elevated tees. Keeping a lake free of weeds and algae is feasible by ensuring the water is deep and the surface area is large. Shoreline treatments range from natural vegetation to elaborate rock walls, depending on the desired appearance and construction budget.

One of the most appealing aspects of water is the relaxing sound produced from rapids, waterfalls and fountains. The sound has a calming effect and is useful for marking aggravating noise from traffic, machinery and other golfers. Wave action on rock or wooden shorelines can also have the same effect.

Water is an important feature in environmental protection and enhancement. Drainage from the course can be directed toward lakes and reservoirs where it can be recycled through the irrigation system. Lakes within the golf course can store water for an extended time to permit purification from natural forces.

Storage for irrigation is important in providing a reliable source of clean water. Volumes suitable for extended periods of low flow can limit the removal of water from streams or rivers. Capturing runoff can save water by limiting the amount taken from outside sources for irrigation. Soil structure will determine if the reservoir will hold water or if a liner will be necessary.