Heavy rains are keeping some golf courses in Sacramento and Stockton closed with flooded fairways and muddy conditions. Surrounding golf courses also face the threat of additional flooding from the damaged Lake Oroville dam, located 70 miles from Sacramento, that has caused the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. More storms are expected later this week.
Golf courses in Sacramento, Calif., and Stockton, Calif., are dealing with excess water on fairways and greens from heavy rains, as potential flooding from the damaged Lake Oroville dam that has prompted evacuations of nearly 200,000 further threaten the region.
According to an Associated Press report, water levels in the spillway have continued to drop in the last several days. At its peak, the water level was at 902 feet, but as of Tuesday morning, it’s at 890 feet. The goal is to have the water level down 20 feet before Thursday’s storm arrives.
Most golf courses in the Sacramento area are soaked and unplayable, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported.
Campus Commons Golf Course is literally under water. Tuesday afternoon, Dry Creek Ranch Golf Course in Galt, Calif., was on the brink of its namesake creek overflowing onto its back nine. Before the early week deluge, both courses were set to fully reopen this weekend after being closed for a month, the Bee reported.
“You have to laugh; otherwise you would go crazy,” said Campus Commons owner/general manager Wendy Arinno.
Campus Commons was destined to flood again when water officials announced Monday that flow in the American River would be increased to 30,000 cubic feet per second. That’s the magic number for river water on the course, Arinno said.
At Dry Creek, owner/GM Chris Choe said he was praying the creek that runs through and alongside his Galt course doesn’t overflow again. Seven inches of rain in early January sent water over levees on Nos. 1, 9, 10, 12 and 18, the Bee reported.
The Dry Creek grounds crew spent the past month clearing fallen trees and, with the course’s pump again operational, drying out the back nine. Another flood could mean another month of closure, the Bee reported.
Those looking for deals at online booking sites have created more problems, Choe said. Paying as little as $10 to play the front nine with a cart, many have ignored repeated pleas and signs to keep carts on the path and have created muddy ruts, the Bee reported.
“I turn my head for a minute and they’re driving everywhere,” he said. “I have had to kick many of them off. That’s what you get with that kind of clientele.”
Campus Commons lost eight trees, mostly cottonwoods, in the January flood. The flood-water sand left behind had been spread evenly and plied with grass seed over the past two weeks, work that could largely go for naught depending on how high the water rises this week. Flood water went completely across the course to the bike trail on the other side in January, the Bee reported.
“If they let out 35,000 (cubic feet per second), we’re starting from scratch,” Arinno said.
The golf course at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex also has drenched fairways, the Sacramento, Calif.-based KCRA reported.
“Your ball will hit a puddle and stop,” golf shop associate Nick Wallace said. “We’ve lost over 26 trees in our facility and obviously that makes a lot of work for the maintenance crew.”
The golf course was spared some of the serious water damage of other nearby clubs, but the golf shop said the weather definitely affects play. The fairways are too wet to drive a cart, KCRA reported.
“It’s going to basically splash mud everywhere,” Wallace said.
Still, die-hard golfers, like Alvaro Estrada, are not letting the weather dampen their game. “There’s no puddle on the greens, so you’re OK to practice your short game,” Estrada said.
The courses depend on the continued business of golfers like Estrada. “We’ll be open for business and ready for players, rain or shine,” Wallace said.
Both players and courses hope the rains clear soon and drive more business back to the greens, KCRA reported.
“We’re hoping for a great spring season once this rain deluge stops for us,” Wallace said.
Golf courses in Stockton, Calif., are similarly waterlogged, the Stockton Record reported.
Both Swenson and Van Buskirk golf courses were closed Saturday and Sunday, according to Joe Smith, head professional at the courses.
Because of recent rains, the course conditions “have become hazardous and we can not allow anyone on the course for this reason,” said Smith.
The courses were expected to reopen on Monday, the Record reported.