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fe ature ◗ Peter Kinch, Ian McQueen and Robert Cowan

Cart paths and bridges fell victim to the flooding creek at Royal Woodbine Golf Club. credit: Royal Woodbine Golf Club

“Damage was extensive and included ripped up cart paths, fairways, rough and bunkers. Fifteenhundred square feet of the number five green had been torn off and washed down the river. There was also major erosion of creek banks.” Robert Cowan, Royal Woodbine Golf Club

18 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com

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Robert Cowan – Royal Woodbine Golf Club

Monday July 8 started out as a beautiful summer day, with partial sun and cloud, a high of 29 degrees Celsius and a slight wind out of the south-west. That all changed around 5 p.m., when an all-time record rainfall began. When the rain ended several hours later, 126 mm had fallen and Royal Woodbine was completely flooded, with some fairways under six feet of water. The following morning, the golf course was still impassable and the maintenance department was dark due to a power outage caused by the storm. By twelve noon, in my shorts and running shoes and walking through two feet of water, I could view the south nine, while the north nine was not accessible until late the following day. A roadway underpass separating the two nines was washed out to a depth of eight feet. By Thursday, we had built a temporary road and the north nine was accessible— and not too soon with temperatures in the high 30 degree Celsius range and a fungicide application badly needed. By Friday, July 12, an assessment of the

damage had been completed, a contractor hired and a temporary fix to get the golf course open was underway. Damage was extensive and included ripped up cart paths, fairways, rough and bunkers. Fifteen-hundred square feet of the fifth green had been torn off and washed down the river. There was also major erosion of creek banks. Over the next 10 days, 11,000 square feet of cart path was prepped for paving, 26,000 square feet of bluegrass sod rolled out, 54,000 square feet of bentgrass fairway replaced, 160 tons of boulders placed to secure bridges and 65 bunkers cleaned and refilled with 600 tons of new sand. The golf course opened 10 days later with one temporary green and two temporary tees. It was fully open by August 8 – only 32 days after the largest single day rainfall ever recorded at Pearson International Airport (less than one mile from the golf course). Although we are now fully open, there are still a lot of areas that need to have a little work done on them in the fall to get back to the shape we were in before the flood. GM

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