MJ Abbott

Primary drainage to golf course

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lancashire


Primary drainage needed at iconic Open Championship venue

Founded in 1886, the iconic Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club is one of the premier links courses in the world. This renowned course is one of the courses in the Open Championship rotation, whilst also a host to the Women’s and Senior Open, Walker Cup and two Ryder Cups.

The club employed a consultant to design primary piped drainage to problem wet areas throughout the golf course.

MJ Abbott’s long-standing association with the club started in 2001 with the installation of a new irrigation system. The company competitively tendered and won the drainage project, making a start following the golf season in September 2016.

Project challenges

Low lying in places, pure sand ground conditions

This links golf course is very low lying in places and is built over pure sand.

From experience we were aware of the high water table issue in mid winter, so we programmed the low lying areas first, before the water table level rose. This planning proved to be irrelevant, since the water table had already started to come up in September. This meant that any trench excavated soon filled with water and sand collapsed from the trench sides. The programme allowed for difficult trenching for most of the installation, however mother nature dictated an alternative programme at the start of the project.

The club were very understanding of the challenges from the outset, so the programme was updated, and work proceeded.

Because of the very low lying nature of the course, drainage pipework and pumping chambers had to be installed 2.5-3 metres into the water table.

Contracts Director Nathan George comments: Full credit to our staff, who persevered with what will probably be one the most challenging drainage installations our company has carried out in recent times”.

Our approach

Essential drainage infrastructure

The scope of work comprised the following:

  • Installation of main carrier drainage infrastructure through low lying areas of the course
  • Construction of outfalls and pumping chambers
  • Installation of primary mains and lateral drainage within fairways, carry areas and around greens
  • Installation of bunker drainage.

Future-proof drainage

The drainage system has proved very successful and will enable the club to extend and enhance in time.

Our long-standing relationship with MJ Abbott gave us the reassurance that they were going to install this system correctly despite the extremely difficult ground conditions. They faced some hard challenges with the weather and the water table, but the end result is the one we wanted, the system has worked very well.

Paul Smith

Head Greenkeeper, Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club