The seven-minute film produced by the United States Golf Association documents the yeoman efforts by the club’s grounds maintenance team, led by Superintendent Terry Hutcherson to get the golf course at the Houston, Texas property reopened in just over a month, after last year’s Category 4 storm dumped 50 inches of rain on the area in less than a week.
In its January 2018 cover story, “Lessons from a Challenging Year,” C&RB reported on the efforts of the management team at Lakeside Country Club in Houston, Texas, to recover from the extreme flooding that the property experienced after Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, stalled over the Houston area and dumped 50 inches of rain on it in less than a week.
Now, a year later, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has produced a seven-minute film documenting exactly what Lakeside’s grounds maintenance staff, led by Superintendent Terry Hutcherson, CGCS, had to deal with after Harvey hit —and the remarkable work the team did to get Lakeside’s golf course reopened in just over a month.
“The golf course was a lake,” Hutcherson says in the film. “Even the cart paths had 12 to 15 feet of water on them.” In addition, 44 trees on the course had fallen from the stress caused by the flooding and Harvey’s 130-mph winds.
The film describes how Hutcherson talked recovery officials into letting him climb a fence to assess the damage, after which he discovered that fortunately, Lakeside’s maintenance shop was the only part of the facility that wasn’t under water. That allowed him and about one-fifth of his staff (many still weren’t able to get to the club, and some had to deal with the loss of their own homes) to start to “form a plan to save the golf course” and begin the recovery process.
The most critical, and ironic, initial part of that process, Hutcherson says in the film, was that the course’s greens badly needed irrigation when the sun came out and baked debris and as much as two inches of silt onto their surface.
“They were like walking on concrete,” Hutcherson says. “Greens are made for water to go through them, not stand on them. Finding a way to get water on them [after the flood had receded], when we still had no power, no pump stations and no satellite [communication for the irrigation system] became our first priority, and it was hard for people to understand.”
While Hutcherson originally thought he would be surprised if any golf could be played at Lakeside through the remainder of 2018, the determined efforts by the superintendent and his crew resulted in the course’s par-3 holes being reopened in 16 days, the front nine in 33 and the entire golf course in 43.
Getting the course reopened that quickly, says Lakeside’s General Manager Craig Schaner, CCM, in the film, was critical to helping to restore “a sense of community” for the club’s membership and to begin to help ease the “heartache and disruption” felt by many of the members who had also had their own homes flooded.
And the determined efforts of Hutcherson’s staff, along with those made by Schaner and Executive Chef Craig Meyer as described in C&RB’s January cover story, helped to spur momentum for rebuilding Lakeside’s clubhouse and other facilities, along with driving plans for a full restoration of the golf course in the coming years.
The full USGA video on Lakeside’s recovery effort can be viewed here: