Flood Risk at the BMW PGA Championship

This week sees the annual BMW PGA Championship taking place at Wentworth. The Wentworth Club makes a beautiful site for golf, with the estate spanning 700-hectares. It’s heaped in golf history, notably being considered the “birthplace of the Ryder Cup” from 1926. Golf legends have played and won the 18-hole PGA course, such as Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, and Rory McIlroy to name a few, alongside last year’s winner, Shane Lowry. Having previously gone to Wentworth, this blog comes with first-hand experience of being at the tournament in heavy downpours. With the tournament creeping ever closer, we at Unda have looked into flood risk at the PGA Championship.

Mapping Wentworth’s flood risk

The map above outlines Wentworth’s risk of extent of flooding from surface water, showing Wentworth golf course and the nearby surrounding areas. The map shows that the greatest risk of flooding is around Wentworth pond, nearby the entrance to the event. There is also some risk of flooding towards the bottom of the course where Hole 8 and Hole 9 are found. Thus, the map does raise some concerns regarding susceptibility to surface water flooding at some parts of the course. However, Wentworth has mitigation strategies in place to combat flooding, which I am about to take you through.

Reducing static surface water

Wentworth’s design particularly fares well for reducing static water on the green, squashing a lot of the worries that the above flood map shows. The course was recently redesigned prior to the BMW PGA Championship 2017. One of its additions included the installation of “a sub-air system”, which combats rainfall by drying out the course when necessary. This system drains water quickly, optimising the course’s condition. Thus, the system below Wentworth mitigates against the possibility for the course to be puddled over, increasing the likelihood for the event this week to continue regardless of heavy rainfall.

Water hazards

Additionally, the presence of two water hazards at Wentworth, found at Hole 8 and Hole 18 could bring some concern with flooding. This might come in the form of low-lying parts of the bank around the water hazards overflowing during the intense rainfall spells we often get in September. However, with these hazards being manmade rather than natural water features, there is the expectation that they have been designed to be sufficiently drained, with necessary systems in place during extreme rainfall.

Despite some initial concern with the flood map, BMW PGA Championship flood risk is reduced through the course’s design. Through features such as the manmade water hazards rather than natural flowing water, and the course’s sub-air system, effects from heavy rainfall seem to be protected against.