MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Golfers like Roosevelt Elliott are returning to tee it up on Hiawatha Golf Course in Minneapolis.
“Really, really excited,” Elliot said. “I couldn’t wait to get out here because I wanted to get some exercise. I’ve been chipping and putting, you know, for the past month or so.”
Severe June flooding from the nearby Minnehaha Creek decimated the course. A pole near the number one green still bears the high water mark.
Course foreman Bob Porter says Friday’s reopening of the front nine feels good, but a lot of work remains. Badly damaged fairways will need complete reseeding.
“The turf just suffocates. It can’t breathe, it can’t aspirate,” Porter said. “The roots die because of the heaviness of the water on top of them.”
And overnight rains aren’t helping, drenching areas that were finally drying. Still, golfers like Charlie Pollard are glad to be back, even if it means playing around a different kind of rough.
“I told my wife … ‘We’ll be praying for rain in two weeks,'” Pollard said.
That’s a worry Bob Porter would love to have. But for now, at least, he’ll take a few more weeks of drier weather.
“Just can’t do anything about it, and you’re left … with what Mother Nature gives you,” Porter said.
Hiawatha’s back nine is still a ways from reopening, and the lost revenue will be significant.
There is some hope that money from FEMA’s disaster relief will help pay for some of the repairs.