Guess what? We're open

If Andy Black could shout it from the mountain top he would.

"We're open.''

He speaks not only for the Pine Island Golf Course, where he is the course manager, but for other local courses which were touched hard by the recent floods.

Like the Zumbrota Golf Club.

"We were closed on that Friday (Sept. 24), because we had to pump water out of bunkers,'' said course pro Will Lancaster, "but we were back up Saturday. The water runs off because the course is designed extremely well.''


Or the Zumbro Falls Golf Club where Kevin Kautz is the course manager.

"We're high and dry,'' he said. "We had no damage and are in great shape."

That's not the case to say that some courses were damaged because they were. Black's Pine Island layout suffered the most.

With a foot of water on the floor, the clubhouse took the brunt of the damage.

"We lost a lot of merchandise,'' Black said, "and had to take out the carpet among other items.  But now we  set up two new tables and moved our computer system. Plus we're disinfecting the wood and it usually takes two or three weeks before the walls dry out.

It's a process but it could have been a lot worse.''

Play opened on the front nine last Friday and the entire course over the weekend. Meaning it was shut down for a week.

"It's a little muddy, but that's to be expected,'' said Black, "but overall, wow, it's back. The greens were completely covered, and the course literally looked like a river. On the top of 13 you could only see the pin. Holes 10, 11, 12 and 14 were also covered. Crazy.''


And the water on No. 8 tore the hinges off the bridge, and that has still not been moved back.

"Believe it or not,'' he said, "we didn't lose any greens at all. After seeing it at first, that's surprising. Now there's only a matter of debris.''

Black and several volunteers worked 10 to 12 hour shifts getting the clubhouse and course back to normal, if that was possible.

He credits a group of Pine Island students for saving the flock of golf carts.

"During the warnings they came over and moved them,'' he said, "and just in the nick of time.If not for that, we would have lost them. Thankfully. Just imagine, the propane tank on the side of the clubouse was flipped over.

After they came here to help they started sandbagging downtown and all over the community.

"I'll tell you, things could have been been a lot worse.''

Maple Valley, which sits in a valley on the southeast side of Rochester, was closed for a week. The course reopened last Thursday.


Water was out of its banks on holes 4, 5, 6, 7 and 14 and 15 on the back but by Sunday started to recede.

And by Tuesday, they started again to mow.

"There was a lot of debris, that was to be expected,'' said Judy Hanson, a clubhouse attendee, "but really, the course dried out pretty fast. If you play now, I don't think you will see any signs of a flood.''

The rain did little damage to Northern Hills or Eastwood, although at Eastwood a few bunkers were washed out and took a day to dry.

Willow Creek professional Scott Rindahl said his course received around six inches of rain.

"We've had that before,'' he said. "The course stays wet for a couple of days and then we're ready to roll. We closed on that Thursday and again on Friday because it was still raining but it could have been a lot worse.''

A phrase echoed by most.

"It's supposed to be warm and dry the rest of the week,'' said Black. "I say come out and play.


"We're open and ready to go.''


Black's Pine Island layout suffered the most. Read about it in Tuesday's print edition.

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