In-Channel – Courses which modify the flow of water and create intentional hydrologic features in existing river or stream beds. These are by far most common. Their design and construction can also be the most demanding, for the structural integrity of any in-channel structures must be high to withstand constant flow and extreme fluctuation.
Out-of-Channel – Courses that create intentional features for water which has been redirected from a river or stream. The water from the course returns to the same body of water downstream.
Diversion – A structure or system which obstructs or diverts water flow for use off river, like a dam. Diverted water may be consumed for irrigation or used non-consumptively for recreation.
Recirculating or Self-Contained – Courses which employ pumps to move water to and/or through the site. While these are a growing in number around the world their numbers are limited due their complexity and the operational costs associated with running the course, purchasing and maintaining equipment and facilities, staffing, programming and marketing.