Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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82 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 When the earth moves Golf courses can be particularly prone to landslides and erosion, but advances in technology are helping superintendents maintain their ground in the face of such circumstances. In March 2014, a massive mudslide killed 43 people and smothered a square mile of houses and commercial buildings along the Stillaguamish River outside the tiny town of Oso, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. Just two months later, the earth moved again, this time in Colorado, where three people died after a three-mile-long mudslide struck in the western part of the state. Catastrophic geological episodes have shaped the planet for millennia, diverting rivers, rais - ing mountains and displacing people in nearly every corner of the globe. The game of golf is not immune to the movement of rocks and soil, and perhaps the most famous landslide in golf came just south of Los Angeles in 1999, when the 18th hole of Ocean Trails Golf Course crashed into the Pacifc Ocean. Donald Trump bought the property, now known as Trump National Golf Club, and spent approximately $55 million to restore and stabilize the oceanfront links. In another notorious incident, in 2011, the Scottish Open golf tournament was interrupted by rain that caused landslides on two hillsides bordering the course. While these types of events make headlines once in a while, golf course superintendents around the world face the challenge of unstable ground on a daily basis. In 2005, fairways at DeBell Golf Club in Burbank, Calif., were covered in mud after a rainstorm caused a mudslide. In September 2014, at Columbus State University in Georgia, a golf course under construction vexed neighboring homeowners when heavy rain mixed with soil from the ungrassed fairways, forming a mudslide that damaged at least one home. Stacie Zinn Roberts AT THE TURN (soil) Erosion, landslides, mudslides and other types of land instability occur throughout the world, and golf courses are certainly not exempt. Photo © Shutterstock/Parnumas Na Phatthalung Land stabilization on golf courses poses special challenges because of the nature of the game.

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