Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Waterford Recovering from Waterlogging

Here in South-Central Texas, it seems as if it's been raining for a month. But no matter what residents in the San Antonio area think, we haven't been hit nearly as bad as the folks just a little north of us got hit last month.

In some parts of Central Texas and the Hill Country, particularly in and around Marble Falls, there was a deluge in late June. As much as 19 inches of rain fell is as little as four hours.

What does that type of rainfall do to a golf course? Especially if said course sits on the banks of a lake?

Lake Travis, on whose shores the new Waterford Texas golf course sits, rose nearly 60 feet in the aftermath, from around 643 feet to 703 feet. That was bad news for Waterford:

Two of Waterford's holes (Nos. 11 and 18) are right next to the far-north shore of Lake Travis, a huge body of water that has risen from 643 feet above sea level six months ago to almost 703 feet as rainwater and runoff poured into the lake.

The fairways of both holes - designed at 698 feet - were overrun with water as high as 3 feet in some portions. The majority of that water has dissipated and left minimal damage to the fairways. The greens on these holes are at 705 feet and were not affected.

The two holes are separated by a cove into the development's marina and clubhouse village. That cove is spanned by a cart/footbridge whose bottom is normally 20 feet above the level of the lake. Three weeks ago the bridge was almost completely underwater. But in mid-July, thanks to the opening of at least six gates on Mansfield Dam on the extreme south side of Lake Travis, the waters had subsided to covering just the entrances to the bridge. The water level has fallen below the bridge line this week, but more rain in the area has slowed the drop.

"We have really seen the lake come up to historic levels, and I think we have come through it all very well," said Waterford's general manager, Jimmy Terry. "Those holes were built with a flood-type situation in mind, but the fact that the lake has come up so far so fast has brought the lake more into play than one could have truly imagined when the course was in its planning stages."

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