Golf Bunker Drainage

The Legendary Golf Course Architect, Pete Dye, once said that skill needed for the best golf course designs lay in the ability to make drainage look good. At EcoBunker Ltd we wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.

Our company was founded by an expert in drainage. Richard Allen is a qualified engineer with over 30 years experience’ in the design of civil engineering infrastructure, specialising in solving the trickiest of drainage and flooding related challenges. You can learn more about Richard’s drainage experience here, which includes over 12 years at Director level, leading a team of specialists working on projects all over the UK and Ireland.

Our Approach to Drainage

When working on new projects, we ensure as far as reasonably practicable to design out future problems, and ensure that features (especially golf bunkers) can be easily maintained. We assist golf course architects using our construction skills to direct surface water away from golf bunkers through a sensitive but thorough appreciation of ground levels and potential flow paths. Of course, it is not always possible to keep a bunker dry all the time, so we ensure adequate and appropriate drainage is specified for each project. Furthermore, drawing upon our detailed knowledge of drainage maintenance, EcoBunker Ltd understands the difficulties faced by greenkeeping teams, and as a result we have developed a novel way of ensuring that drainage problems can be identified easily, without resorting to disruptive excavations work, often based on guesswork.

Take out the guesswork

When it comes to stubborn existing drainage challenges, it is highly advisable to take a structured approach to investigation, analysis, design and construction. All too often a drainage problem (often in a bunker) is addressed by digging a bigger sump and filling with clean stone. Sometimes this works, but often the results are disappointing. Our approach is to take out the guess work by thoroughly investigating and analysing the problem before jumping to any design conclusion. Where necessary we are able to conduct testing such as infiltration analysis using approved Building Research Establishment (BRE) industry guidance. This approach invariably delivers the cheapest solution, that works and is easy to maintain.

Percolation rate graph


All our bunker projects benefit from an expert overview of existing drainage performance, and if this review reveals that the project would benefit from extra drainage measures we will discuss this with our clients.

Some of our projects have provided us with  significant challenges. At Maesteg GC, Richard Allen resolved a drainage problem that no one had been able to solve for 12 years. This project was awarded Water Management Project of the Year in the Golf Environment Awards. Richard has also solved similar difficult problems on a fairway at Pyle and Kenfig GC. More recently we have advised on drainage issues at Garnant GC, Temple GC and The Monmouthshire.


Richard Allen B Eng (Hons)

Civil Engineer and CEO of EcoBunker Ltd