MJ Abbott

Golf course reconstruction, drainage and irrigation

Vidauban Golf Club, France


An exclusive and prestigious golf club

The golf course at Vidauban Golf Club, a privately owned exclusive club on the French Riviera and originally designed and built over 20 years ago by Robert Trent Jones, was in need of some improvements to the course and practice facilities.

MJ Abbott Limited carried out an extensive refurbishment project of nine months’ duration under the supervision of architect Mike Gorman of Robert Trent Jones II and agronomist and project manager John Clarkin of Turfgrass.

MJ Abbott transported 15 articulated lorry-loads of plant and equipment from the UK to install a full primary and secondary drainage system to the fairways and semi-roughs, construct a new practice green, a putting green and practice tees, install a SubAir drainage and ventilation system to all 19 greens, and install a new full fairway Toro irrigation system with the latest Infinity sprinklers, under the supervision of irrigation consultant Yves Kerambrun of K’Consult. MJ Abbott also carried out a major soil improvement programme including sand top dressing and overseeding, grass species exchange, and extensive hydroseeding.

Project challenges

Rocky ground conditions and heavy winter rains

The site is rock and heavy clay and suffered badly during periods of regional heavy rains which generally happened between October and February. These major rain events were a challenge but the following works were completed:

  • Construction of new practice putting green
  • Construction of new practice range tees
  • Construction of new short game practice area and bunker
  • Installation of 22,000 linear metres of primary drainage
  • Installation of 70,000 linear metres of secondary drainage
  • Application of 3,000 tonnes of sand dressing
  • Installation of Toro full fairway satellite irrigation system
  • Installation of SubAir drainage and ventilation system to 19 greens
  • Replacement tarmac cart path system tied back into all natural turf areas
  • 25,000m² bark mulch placement beneath feature umbrella pine trees
  • Overseeding of all greens and tees
  • Seeding of significant areas of fescue roughs.

Dramatic improvements in drainage

The project had a number of challenges, not least the rocky terrain, but MJ Abbott’s specialist rock trenching wheels were more than up to the task, resulting in huge improvements to the drainage and the ability for the maintenance team to get out on the golf course within a few hours of the extreme rainfall events often experienced in the region in the winter months, where previously they would have needed to wait for days or weeks.