The new drainage system installed at the Wheat City Golf Course during the last few years is about to get a really good test.
The massive storm system that dropped 124.4 millimetres of rain on Brandon from Friday to Sunday has caused the Assiniboine River to rise just shy of the dikes on the course’s first hole and the river is expected to go up another five feet due to water draining from Saskatchewan. Wheat City manager Bryce Wilson and his crews are preparing for the flood and he’s keeping his fingers crossed the damage won’t be as bad as the 2011 flood that caused the course to be shut down for more than a year.
"This will be one heck of a test for the drainage project we’ve done the last couple years," Wilson said. "We’re confident that if we can get the water off as soon as it drops low enough, then we can pump it off."
Wilson sees one saving grace to the situation: The water level is supposed to rise quickly, but it’s expected to recede just as fast. He believes if his crews can get the water pumped off the course as soon the river drops they can limit the damage.
While things aren’t looking good for the next week, the Wheat City will open its doors again on Friday or Saturday. Holes 13 through 18 will be open to the public and Wilson remains positive that all 18 will follow in a few weeks.
"We’ve done all the reconstruction and fully reconstructed now, so the quicker we can get the water off, the quicker the water drops, there won’t be a lot of damage and hopefully we’ll be running 18 holes in a short time," he said.
Here’s how some other Westman courses are faring:
Virden: Areas of the Virden Well View course, Manitoba’s oldest golf course, are still under water, including the fourth hole, where the top of the ball washers are barely visible. The board members were going to meet last night, but postponed until they see how much the water rises. Board member Graham Freeman hopes the damage is not season-threatening, but admits it’s too early to tell.
Melita: Club president Wayne White called it the worst flood ever in Melita, saying the course was a huge lake. The water, which washed away one bridge and is still over the course’s main water pump, is receding now, but Melita won’t reopen any time soon. Even if it takes a week for the water to leave the course, White believes it may take at least a month before players can return.
Minnedosa: The bottom nine and driving range are closed, with the range as well as the first, second, third and fifth holes under water. The back nine, however, is open to walking but it is very wet.
Oak Island: The back nine is open and in good shape. The front nine still has a few spots with water on it and crews are working to get it off and make repairs to open all 18 holes by Friday.
Glen Lea: Crews worked hard to get the water off the course and make repairs, and it paid off with Glen Lea set to open all 18 holes today at 1 p.m. Power carts will be permitted, although the path and culvert on the sixth hole were washed out. Getting to the course may be a bit of a problem as Lori Road was washed out. People must take the Trans-Canada Highway to Curtis Road where they can turn south. They can then go west on Lori Road to reach the course.
Sunnyside: The course has a lake view for the first time, but staff doesn’t want it to be there long as it’s currently covering the front nine. Sunnyside has nine holes open (1, 8-11 and 15-18) and crews hope the creek doesn’t get much higher so the water can drain, they can repair the damage and open all 18 holes again.
Shilo: The biggest impact at Shilo will be getting to the course with potential flooding coming on First Street North. The course has been open since Monday as it is built on sand and drains well.
Northern Pines: The course opened its final four holes on Wednesday and is now running its full nine. Northern Pines is built on a sand base, so it’s high and dry and ready to be played.
CHIP SHOTS: The Killarney Ladies’ Golf Club’s 65-plus tournament will be held on Tuesday. To register, call 204-523-8277 … Glen Lea’s 55-plus men’s open tournament will take place on July 17 with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. Call Steve Morrison at 204-726-5826 … Carberry’s senior men’s open will take place on July 25. The cost is $40. The Desert Classic, held in Carberry and Neepawa on Aug. 2 and 3, follows and costs $80. To register, call the Carberry Sandhills club at 204-834-2325 … The deadline to enter the RBC Wheat City Senior Men’s tournament is July 16. The tournament, set for July 30, is open to men 55 and over and costs $55. Call Ross Mann at 204-728-5790