Somewhere down in the middle of a big puddle at Heritage Pointe, director of golf John Wilson put down his shovel last long enough to talk about what he described as the perfect storm.
Pine Creek raced through the popular 27-hole, public layout a week ago Friday night and wiped out four of the seven bridges on the Heritage and Pointe nines. Sludge and silt had to be washed off some of the fairways. The three bridges that weren’t washed away needed repair work.
The damage shut down the Heritage and Pointe nines for a week.
“It’s the biggest hit we’ve ever had,” sighed Wilson, who can’t even estimate the cost of the repair work because there’ll be both a short-term and long-term tab. “We had a bad flood in 2005 but this one was (20 to 25 centimetres) higher.
“Something obviously has changed up stream so we’re going to talk to Alberta environment to see if we can determine a long-term solution. We also got hit in 2007 so the perfect storm’s been happening far too often.”
Six days after what is usually little more than a babbling brook turned into a racing river that stretched as wide as 40 yards in some points, Wilson is awed by the work accomplished by golf course manager (fancy title for course superintendent) Dave Boyd and his staff. They returned to 18 holes this past weekend. And, today, all 27 holes are slated to be back in play.
“We have an incredible group of guys here,” said Wilson. “They were putting in 20 hours a day. And I have to tell you the golf course is incredible … the tees, greens and fairways are perfect.”
So here’s a big tip of the cap to not only Boyd but also to assistant superintendents John Halpin and Ryan Cassidy, equipment technician Eddie Jager and project foreman Geoff Smith for a job extremely well done.
And another to Wilson, who showed he not only can swing a golf club, but also a shovel, a water hose or a hammer when needed.
“Ahh, I just tried to stay out of their way,” he said. “I just tried to be supportive and help where I could.”