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Golf Course Intelligence

Category: Random Thoughts
Date: 2005-06-12

I went off early to the golf course this morning. I talked Wade in the pro shop after I was done. I told him that I'd been concerned about the course with all of the runoff and high water. He told me an interesting story.

The background: The American Fork River (which would be called a creek, where I come from) is channelled through American Fork, and through the length of our Tri-Cities golf course. The spring runoff has been very high, and two weeks ago I could see that the river was within 18 inches of overflowing its banks along the 15th fairway. In fact a small section of riverbank did erode and cave in, but did not amount to much damage to the course. For a stretch of about 500 yards, the river is channelled through a 6-foot culvert under the 10th, 1st, and 5th fairways. My concern has been that debries, a fallen tree, or whatever might get lodged in that culvert and the damming would wash out some of the course. And two weeks ago the situation was obviously critical because that culvert was running with a tremendous force of water at a level above its midpoint.

It isn't alway so. Typically, in the summer the stream is diverted to irrigation canals, and the river bed is dry. Just to the north of the tenth fairway at the inlet to the culvert the river widens out and a cart path goes down through the riverbed for a shortcut back to the club house. Not now! That cart path is under 2 to 3 feet of fast flowing river.

Wade told me this surprising tale. About two weeks ago, while the river was at its highest, a kid driving a golf cart, who obviously had less than normal intelligence, thought that he'd drive the cart through the river, crossing just north of the culvert inlet. The good news is that both the kid and the golf course survived. The golfcart fared somewhat worse.

As the story was told when the cart got too deep into the river, the front was grabbed by the force of the water and sent toward the culvert. At that point a bit of intelligence appeared to surface in the driver, as he jumped from the cart and into the river. The cart proceeded into the culvert where its roof was ripped off. Miraculously, the cart was propelled the entire length of the culvert without becoming lodged. The battered cart was extracted from the river south of the fifth fairway by the golf course's largest tractor and a hefty chain.

I'd bet the cart driver won't be trying to ford rivers with a golf cart a second time.

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