GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. – Looking out over the greens from the clubhouse on Sunday, May 6 seemed like any other spring day at the Grand Falls Gold Course.
There were puddles of water on the course but nothing too far out of the ordinary.
Looking toward the green on the 18th hole, and the bridge over the brook, it was a bit of a different story. However, it was looking much better than it had less than a week before.
The course is built on the brook that comes from Rushy Pond, the Exploits River, and a damn - all converging – and when the river gets high it backs up and often the course gets a good watering, Grand Falls Golf Club president Doug Evans explained.
“We do have a bit of a history of flooding,” Evans told the Advertiser while sitting in the clubhouse on Sunday. “We’ve had several floods, but specifically some worse than others.”
At one point water was three feet up the walls in the clubhouse, he explained.
“The b'ys pulled up in a canoe at the bar,” he said.
For the past decade though, since the new clubhouse was built about four or 4.5 feet elevated on the same footprint as the old one, the clubhouse has gotten lucky.
“The only way we were allowed to build here was to build in the same footprint because since it’s kind of considered a flood zone,” Evans said. “I think we are pretty safe here now because even as high as (the water) came the other day it was just in the parking lot,” Evans said.
The course, was not so lucky.
On Monday, April 30, much of the course, the parking lot and the road to just a few feet before the gate by the highway were underwater.
“It’s definitely the worst it has been within a three to five year period,” Evans said. “It always comes up to a degree, it’s just a matter of how much. We just had a lot of mild, rain and snow melt all the one weekend.”
The whole course wasn’t affected as some areas are higher ground. Some of those higher areas looked like little islands in the water, Evans said.
“Our course superintendent took a couple walks around,” Evans said. “Initially they were probably ready to start back with some workers this week coming, and that still may happen, but they may have to skip some areas, so we may be delayed but hopefully not that much.”
The flooded areas will be slower to dry, but they may get to work on other parts of the course, Evans said.
“Certainly we are at the mercy of Mother Nature with regards to when it all dries up,” Evans said. “We are all tied in with Buchans and Millertown and all that area and there’s lots more snow up there so as that melts and percolates down. Hopefully we are in the clear now. Hopefully it will dry up pretty quick.”
Thankfully by Sunday the water had resided substantially, and the executive is still hopeful to remain on the same timeline for opening.
“Our tentative opening date is May 18,” Evans said. “We are hoping to be open before the long weekend because that’s traditionally when we have opened in the past. We are going to strive to still hit that date, all weather-dependent, of course.”
The first tournaments of the season are the Bishop’s Falls Minor Hockey Tournament the second weekend of June, and a four-person best ball June 11.
These are among their traditional list of tournaments including the South and Central Health Foundation tournament in August, and the weekend-long Provincial Mixed Tournament which is always a big draw.
On top of tournaments, membership for the junior program – which takes place July and August – has been increasing over the past couple of years. There are also three camps set up with instructors coming in from out of town to do instructional camps for a variety of age groups.
And they also have regular adult membership in different categories.
“We are always open to new members,” Evans said.
For more information, call the golf course at 489-7631, visit their newly updated website at grandfallsgolf.com or Facebook page at Grand Falls Golf Club at Exploits River.