Dear Members,

As I draft the latest member update, April's monthly rainfall figures currently stand at 58.8mm (18mm in the last 24 hours) with more in the forecast over the next 48 hours. This follows on from the 1720mm recorded from March 2023 until March 2024.

Course closures have frustratingly been a common occurrence since the turn of the year, and we are not isolated in this problem with very many clubs also experiencing a rise in less access to their course. Consequently, the progress on the winter programme has been hindered. With these two points in mind, we felt it appropriate to start on these particular subjects.

Met Office report that this has been the wettest winter for nearly 250 years and wettest 18-month period since 1836. The impact of this has been significant throughout the Club, and whilst we continue to assess the full effect of this winter, work has continued on the course, albeit at a slower pace than we would have liked and we look to better understand the drainage capabilities we have on and off-site. To do this, we are exploring three main lines of enquiry:

1. R&A Drainage Survey

We are currently in discussions with the R&A about the potential of them carrying out a full drainage conditioning survey to better understand:

High level review condition of existing piped drainage system:

  • Observe manholes and flow
  • Observe outlet and resilience
  • Observed existing watercourses
  • Review infiltration rates

Prepare a DWG/PDF drainage masterplan for Fairhaven GC:

  • Detail routing and falls for proposed pipework
  • Detail proposed outlets

Commissioning a survey such as the above would require a significant investment and we are currently in discussions to better understand what foundation and framework this would provide for us moving forward. In future, the implementation of such a plan would be of sizable expense and we must consider this as part of the discussion process. However, it is important to stress that we remain focused on exiting this winter more informed than we entered it and this could be a strong option to underpin such understanding, hence its consideration.

2. On-going Internal Assessments and Planning

If it is felt that the route with the R&A is not financially viable, we are continuing to assess and plan how remedial works would see the improvement of several problematic areas around the course, including both not restricted to 3rd and 15th greens, access from the 7th approach to the 8th fairway, around the 8th approach and 9th tees, and the access routes around the 12th teeing ground. This would be in addition to assessing areas that have become extremely saturated this winter for the first time, for example the area across the road on the 1st hole and also access from the 11th tee to 11th fairway.

When making such assessments, considerations surrounding current pipe capability and conditions, and also where the water exits our site and what the external capabilities are, which leads to our on-going consultation with local government. 

3. Consultation with Local Government

Drainage on-site is only one part of a large regional infrastructure issue. With this in mind, myself, the Golf Course Director, Director of Building and Estates and Simon Bone met with Local MP, Mark Menzies on Sunday 3rd March to discuss the influence of external factors on our capability to move water. For completeness, we have provided the acknowledgement letter Mark Menzies in reply to our raised concerns ( click here), but further correspondence between the Secretary of State, Environment Agency and Lancashire County Council has been passed back to the Club are part of the overall communication.

Below, we have provided three photographs which demonstrates significant and unusual behaviour with regard to water movement on our site.

Photograph’s taken at 10.30 on Friday 23rd February 2024 (left) and 09:30 on Saturday 24th February  2024 (right):

The following photograph was taken at 10:00 on Sunday 25th February 2024:

The above drainage issues has created challenges with the winter programme of works, although our team have battled hard against the conditions to deliver some positive results. Below we have detailed some of these...


The re-revetment and refurbishment of approximately 19 bunkers as shown below:

The conversation of bunkers on the 3rd hole from revetted to natural faced as detailed in the photograph below:

We are most pleased with the early results, as are our Golf Course Architects and as the development matures and growth starts to take place with warmer more conducive weather, then we look forward to the establishment of these changes.

Disappointingly, the ground conditions on the 6th hole were not conducive with the ground works required to convert the bunkers on that particular hole to natural faced hazards and therefore this item of works will not be carried out.

On the 3rd hole, we saw the removal of the two greenside bunkers, these being replaced with a swale / run off to the left of the green. Again, we are pleased with how this area is presented, and whilst increasing the challenge presented, will become more sustainable and economical move forward.


This winter, without doubt our largest item of work planned was the  re-development of the 2nd 17th teeing grounds.

Whilst this work was carried out, weather conditions were atrocious and despite this, the team and contractors have managed to deliver what will be hugely beneficial project from both an agronomy and ecological perspective.

The splitting of the teeing grounds will see the future betterment of the facilities for Members in many years to come. One question we have had since completing the item of works was about the addition of individual Blue Course teeing grounds. During discussions, we decided that this was the best way to proceed as the result would see us be able to maximise playing surfaces for Members on a daily basis by extending the areas available for Red, Yellow and White tees, which is the main goal to ensure we provide quality playing surfaces year-round for you to enjoy.

We note that remedial works are still required to make good of this area and this will be carried out when ground conditions and water table levels permit.


As part of the winter programme of works for 2023/24, we aimed to carry out changes to pathways, specifically on holes 5, 10, and 16. The water table has not permitted these works to take place and consideration will be given as to how we can facilitate these outside of the winter period when the additional works around drainage etc will be possible.

Due to the saturation levels and water table height, standing water has become a common occurrence across the site. We do, in exceptional circumstances look to try and remove such water to facilitate works to continue. However, over the past several years, we have acquired and invested in several items of machinery by redeploying contractor spend more economically. Such investments allow us to carry out remedial works on areas where standing water has been for several months quicky and efficiently.

We are most grateful to Members for their continued support in what has been a frustrating and challenging period. Let us hope for a summer of favourable weather conditions and many enjoyable golfing occasions at our fine Club.

We will release our second Member Update which will be focused on Membership, Food & Beverage, and changes to Club Policies in the coming weeks. 

Best regards,

Mark Duncalf

General Manager