Why do Golf Courses Have Ponds? (4 Reasons)

Besides the fun and excitement of the game itself, the beauty of golf also lies in the environment you play golf in.

Most golf courses feature stunning scenery, beautiful natural landscapes, and breathtaking vistas.

A big part of creating this wonderful setting belongs to lakes or ponds you will find at almost every golf course.

Even when the site of a golf course doesn’t feature natural bodies of water, they are additionally incorporated during the construction process.

While it may be annoying to have your ball land in a water hazard, a golf course just wouldn’t feel the same without water features, and having them greatly increases its appeal,

Still, besides being pleasing to the eye, ponds and similar features on a golf course also have other roles.

Below, I’ll explain why do golf courses have ponds and why are they so important.

So, let’s dive in!

Why do Golf Courses Have Ponds?

Golf course with pond.

Irrigation and Drainage

Ponds serve an important practical role at golf courses, as they are used as irrigation reservoirs, flood detention areas, and drainage containment.

They allow courses to properly use and reuse water which is particularly significant with all the environmental issues we face nowadays.

In most cases, local municipalities on whose ground courses are built, require that golf courses use their own water for irrigation and other similar purposes, such as serving as environmental filtering and creating flood-control areas.

This works in the way that drainage from the entire course is directed toward ponds where it can be further recycled and reused for irrigation purposes.

All this both prevents the course from becoming too dry and helps avoid mud and dampness issues on fairways.

Additionally, adding ponds can lower the cost of course construction, as removed soils can be used to build bunkers, tees, and greens.

Aesthetic Appeal

There’s no doubt that ponds on the golf course add to the visual appeal and enhance the natural scenery along the holes.

The larger the body of water, the more impressive it looks, which is best assessed when viewed from elevated positions.

That’s why vistas across the water are commonly created at locations such as the clubhouse, elevated tees, or course entrances.

Golfers commonly pay a decent amount of money to spend the day at the golf course and a big reason they do so, besides the game itself, is the opportunity to enjoy wonderful scenery and relax in a natural environment.

Golf course ponds are certainly a big part of this experience.

Wildlife Preservation

Besides providing a sustainable irrigation and drainage system, ponds on golf courses also have an additional environmental benefit.

Golf courses are often an important habitat for the local wildlife.

The well-maintained golf course often plays a bigger role in preserving local wildlife than parks or farms and ponds play a huge role in that.

Commonly, only about 30% of the entire area of the golf course is playable.

The rest often provides undisturbed habitats for wildlife. This also includes golf course ponds, and some courses even stock ponds with fish to maintain the natural balance and restrict algae growth.

Strategic Challenges

Of course, an important aspect of ponds on golf courses is that they act as hazards or difficult obstacles for golfers to overcome to get to the green.

The placement of ponds on the golf course is carefully considered, so the course will be playable, while still having bodies of water as serious challenges for players.

This, among other things, means that ponds have to be clearly visible, as hitting the ball in the water is a rather severe penalty.

Ponds generally cross the fairways forcing the golfers to hit the ball over them.


While you may think that ponds on golf courses are only there to look nice, their significance is much greater.

Sure, ponds and other bodies of water add a lot to the visual appeal of a certain golf course, but also have other important functions necessary for the proper operation of the golf course.

Ponds make the game more challenging by creating natural obstacles for players, playing an important role as a part of irrigation and drainage systems, and helping preserve and foster local wildlife.

Without ponds, the entire experience of playing golf would suffer and your day at the golf course certainly wouldn’t be so enjoyable.

John Miller
John Miller

Hello, I’m John, a 58 year old passionate golf player and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

Mike Adams Golf