Both the regulation-length Boulder Course and the executive-length Pebble Course at the Cathedral City, Calif., facility sit in the Whitewater Wash and sustained heavy erosion damage during the February storms. The resort called in California-based Earth Sculptures to begin renovation work almost immediately.
When flood waters rushed through desert washes after heavy rains on Valentine’s Day this year, dozens of golf courses that are built in the washes were damaged through erosion, mud and debris, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reported. But Cimarron Golf Resort in Cathedral City, Calif. might have taken the worst of the water’s wrath.
C+RB reported on the flooding in February.
Both the regulation-length Boulder Course and the executive-length Pebble Course, each sitting in the Whitewater Wash, sustained heavy erosion damage, with exposed pipes and damaged greens clearly visible from the Ramon Bridge that runs along the south boundary of the Boulder Course, the Desert Sun reported. Four months later, 27 of the 36 holes remain closed, but the clouds that seemed to hang over the future of the golf resort have parted for bright sunshine at Cimarron.
“I believe this is going to be our best season yet,” said Katie Myers, the General Manager at Cimarron. “The course is going to be back and better than ever.”
Myers’ optimism stems from the end of much of the repair work the two courses needed after what she called the 70-year flood that hit the courses in February, the Desert Sun reported. Both courses are in the Whitewater Wash, with areas of play built up above the bottom of the flow channel that is controlled by the Coachella Valley Water District.
The design of the course allows water to flow though the golf course with no damage from a normal desert rain, the Desert Sun reported. But in February, Palm Springs received 3.69 inches of rain while the Waterwater area that spills directly into the Cimarron wash received 6.38 inches. All of that water rushed through Cimarron on its way to other courses down valley.
“You don’t really see the extent of the damage until the water is gone, but I knew it was going to be bad,” Myers told the Desert Sun. “The water level started rising in the channel and that’s what causes the damage to the golf course.”
The damage to the holes in the channel was bad enough to raise a question about the future of the golf resort, the Desert Sun reported.
“There is always the doubt. Is it worth it to fix it?” Myers said. “There is always a concern there, because it is a large dollar amount to repair a golf course. But the owner [Warrior Golf] ultimately made the decision that it is worth repairing. It is worth fixing.”
Repairs began almost before the flood waters had receded, with Cimarron working with Earth Sculptures, an Indio, Calif.-based golf course construction and renovation company, the Desert Sun reported. Earth Sculptures officials were at Cimarron the day after the huge flooding.
All 36 holes were closed by the flood, but Cimarron opened the back nine of the Boulder Course less than three weeks after the flood, once irrigation systems were repaired enough to water those nine holes, the Desert Sun reported. That nine suffered little erosion damage and doesn’t require golfers to cross the deepest parts of the channel.
“We have a lot of members. We have a lot of customers who love this golf course and care about this golf course,” Myers told the Desert Sun. “So we kept business coming in as well as making sure that we had an open communications with our customers [through social media] about updates, repairs and so forth.”
Repairs to all eight main lines of irrigation at the course were a priority in the recovery, then shaping and sculpting of the fairways and rebuilding of eight greens, four on each course, the Desert Sun reported.
“My superintendent said we are building nine holes from scratch. We reconstructed a few holes, so there are going to be some minor changes,” Myers said. “We had John Fought, the original designer, come out and meet with us for a day. We took him out on the golf course and we showed him what we changed, why we changed it. Nothing major, just shifting some greens. Just some slight modifications in trying to keep those greens out of the channel so we can avoid this in the future.”
Repairs to the practice area were also important since Cimarron is the site of the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School in the desert, the Desert Sun reported. The course also provides golf packages for the nearby Staybridge Suites.
With repairs to the infrastructure complete and the sculpting and shaping of fairways and greens finished, Cimarron has now sodded some areas of the course while sprigging the greens and fairways, the Desert Sun reported. That grass will grow in during the summer, allowing for a mid-October opening of the Boulder Course and a November opening of the Pebble Course, the traditional opening schedule for the courses.
The rebuilding of some holes and the continued maintenance of undamaged parts of the golf courses should lead to a strong fall opening, Myers told the Desert Sun.
“The course is in phenomenal shape. Everything that didn’t get affected by the flood but that we could not open, we kept in our same normal course condition that we always had,” she said. “In our opinion, the golf course is going to be in the best shape it has ever been in, because it got a break. It got a chance to recuperate. We still mowed it, we still fertilized it, we still watered it. So all the greens that we aren’t sprigging are phenomenal.”
Now, having lost months of income in the peak season in the desert and spending money to repair the courses, Myers and the Cimarron team are looking forward to the return of the golf course and its golfers in the fall, the Desert Sun reported.
“We’re going to have a big grand opening party on October 18, that’s a Friday,” Myers said. “The Boulder Course will be fully open, the restaurant, the putting green. I’ll have La Quinta Brewery here. We are going to be doing a demo day with TaylorMade, a barbecue, have a DJ, make it a big, fun party for the opening.”