There has been a lot written about the 2010 Ryder Cup: the combined efforts of the greenkeepers, the co-operation from the public in adverse weather conditions and the effects on the players.
What could have been a disaster turned into a triumph of determination in the face of adversity. Many companies that provided products and services have rightly highlighted the contribution these made and the event has taken its place in history as one of the most memorable Ryder Cup’s to-date.
Yet one of the unsung heroes of the event was the course itself. The Ryder Cup 2010 was able to proceed because of the combined efforts of a whole host of people, but it was undoubtedly the drainage system that had been installed when the course was expanded that was the real hero of the day.
Initial criticism from the media directed at what was perceived as the waterlogging of the course, quickly turned to admiration when it became clear that despite extraordinary intermittent heavy bursts of rainfall resulting in 52.2mm between 5.30pm on Thursday and 10.00am on Saturday, the course was bone dry two to three hours after each heavy burst.
“Despite the heavy rainfall and the perception that the course was under water, it was only two hours after initial flooding from a heavy rain burst on Saturday before we were out cutting the fairways and greens,” said Jim McKenzie, Director of Golf Courses at The Celtic Manor Resort. “In fact, the greens and tees stayed completely dry.
“Even the long, flat fairways were draining efficiently. They just needed a little extra help to guide the water into the man holes to speed up the process because of time pressures. Our biggest hindrance was not the course itself, but the public areas. The storm drains in the surrounding streets were unable to cope with the sheer quantity of water, so it then became a public safety issue.”
Nigel Wyatt, Director of MJ Abbott Limited, who installed the drainage system, was delighted but not surprised at its performance: “We are always confident that any scheme we install will cope with extraordinary conditions, but Celtic Manor lies in an area that experiences high levels of persistent rainfall and the scheme was designed with a network of storm drains to meet these needs.”
The Twenty Ten Course was built in two phases to a design by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design. Nine holes were taken from the original Wentwood Hills Course and nine new holes were built by MJ Abbott.
Some 25km of drainage was installed within the new holes and consisted of storm drains and a primary piped drainage scheme. In addition, the indigenous soil was mixed with imported sports sand at a ratio of 50:50.
Storm drains from 600mm diameter – 300mm diameter, dependent upon the area of catchment in relation to the distance to the natural outfall, were laid from the natural outfalls to the location of each hollow within the course. At these locations, storm water catchbasins/chambers were installed. The storm water system was installed also as an outfall for the primary drainage system.
The primary drainage system consists of main and lateral drains installed within the fairways and semi rough. Main drains are installed as an outfall for the lateral drains which are spaced at five metres and laid across the natural slope of the land in either a grid or herringbone formation according to the slopes.
The primary system consists of 150mm diameter to 80mm diameter perforated plastic pipes. Trenches were filled to the subsoil surface with aggregate and blinded with appropriate sand. The system was installed prior to the return of the sand/topsoil mix so the sand over the trench lines was placed to a depth of 200mm as a cone, the topsoil mix being placed between the trench lines and incorporated to ensure a permeable material exists over each primary drainage trench.
The original holes incorporated into the Twenty Ten layout were drained in the same way without the sand incorporated into the topsoil. A secondary drainage system was installed within the fairways of these holes consisting of sand bands 20mm wide, 150mm depth at 300mm spacings.
“The drainage system was tremendous,” said Jim. “All the efforts of the men and women who lent their support throughout the tournament would have been fruitless if the course had not coped as well as it did. It was a fantastic job all round.”
MJ Abbott Limited www.mjabbott.co.uk
Celtic Manor Resort www.celtic-manor.com