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Archive for Friday, June 14, 1996

COURSES SHOW SIGNS OF WATER DAMAGE

June 14, 1996

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All four Lawrence golf courses suffered at least some damage from last week's rain and wind storm.

Alvamar and Lawrence country clubs, Alvamar public and the nine-hole Orchards layouts all sustained tree damage and lost some bunkers and cart paths.

Bridges were also affected, especially at the Orchards.

The storm 10 days ago was so bad it forced all the courses to close for the day.

"Our gauges had 9.2 inches in less than 30 hours," said Les Brown of Alvamar. "From that, we lost parts of two cart paths, and it weakened the bridge between No. 2 and No. 3 and took boards off. Otherwise, we didn't have anything like the Orchards."

Two Orchards' bridges were damaged and the one at the No. 9 hole was wiped out.

"The water was devastating to the golf course," said owner Ed White. "It comes in from town with thousands of gallons of water. We had the rains in July of '93, the rains in June of '95 and now May and June of 1996. This is the worst."

White blames the damage on city fathers.

"This has been from poor city planning and draining plannage. Pure and simple," White said. "Essentially, this is what happens with the developments around here. The storms come through the main passage through the golf course. I'll spend thousands of dollars to right the wrong that's been done. If this was a public course, the city would take money out of the general fund and repair this with the taxpayers' money.

"But it's not a public entity and, needless to say, I'm extremely upset with this predicament. This all could have been corrected when they initially planned the storm drainage. But the city didn't for whatever reason it chose to."

Actually, Mayor John Nalbandian said, no city could have prepared for the deluge that fell last week.

"The engineers can only do so much," Nalbandian said. "Sometimes Mother Nature puts the engineer in his place."

Lawrence Country Club sustained the least amount of damage from the storm.

"We lost play on Saturday a week ago," fifth-year golf pro Jon Zylstra said. "It's pretty big when you lose a whole Saturday. But the course is coming back through and drying out and we're back in full swing."

Another hazard partially damaging to the courses -- mainly the greens -- are metal spikes. Alvamar Country Club suggest the use of soft spikes, but the other three courses show no preference.

"We encourage people to use soft spikes, but it's not mandatory," Alvamar CC pro Randy Towner said. "Sixty percent of our golfers wear soft spikes, but we want to make sure people are comfortable in what they're wearing."

Metal spikes run around $5, while soft spikes range from $5 to $14.

"Personally I don't have a preference. I play just as well in soft or metal," Brown said. "But people claim they play better in (metal) spikes, just depending on their style of swings."

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