Course needs time, weather

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Evergreen Golf Course trying to get back up to par

By Michael Hicks

The bridge at No. 10 released from its bearings and floated down the river. The five-ton walkway ventured 135 yards downstream, the most dramatic scenery from the damage caused by Sept. 13’s flooding at Evergreen Golf Course.
Seven months later, a crane has picked up and moved the bridge. It’s been inspected several times and found to be in great shape, so much so that the frame will be used when the new bridge is put in place. That, however, has been the source of wonderment from the local golf community, pondering when the City of Denver-owned course will be back to its normal 18-hole self.
“Basically, they want to know what we’re doing here for No. 10, what’s our plan for repairing the flood damage, and what’s our plan for the bridge sitting up there along Bear Creek,” Evergreen Golf Course head professional Susan Helmerich said.
The answer is soon, real soon. Jefferson County officials approved plans for the bridge replacement on April 23. And while no exact date has been set, Evergreen Golf Course has plans in place to not only repair the half-million dollars in damages caused by the flooding, but to improve the only municipal golf course outside of Denver.
Damage wasn’t just restricted to the bridge and No. 10, but runoff water also impacted the backside of the course. The impact of that runoff is delaying the bridge from being put back into place, Helmerich said. Bridge work will take at least three to four weeks to complete once the project starts.
“We had just hit our stride. The golf course was in perfect shape,” Helmerich said. But once the flooding hit, course officials were forced to go down to playing just nine holes – Nos. 1, 2, 9 and 12-17. Those were the only holes accessible with the bridge out of place. Golfers have taken to playing those nine holes twice to get 18 holes in.
“Without the bridge, obviously, you can’t play 10 and you can’t get to 11,” Helmerich said. “(Holes) three, four, five and six are not in play as we’re trying to get those greens back up to strength. This spring will let those other holes get some strength and build them up for the regular season.”
Weather, more than anything, is what’s delaying the course’s comeback. Aid from FEMA will pay for bringing the course back up to par, but management is also working on other enhancements that include a new putting green, hole design, cart station area and green complex at No. 10 along with new tee signs with a graphic of each hole and accurate yardage, tee markers and new flags. Once that’s all said and done, Helmerich anticipates the course to host 24,000 rounds per season.
Once the bridge is back in place and operational, Helmerich said, the course will be shooting to have 17 holes open for players to partake in at reduced rates. Once construction on No. 10, which won’t be affected by the runoff, is done and the hole has been rebuilt, the outlook is for a fully-functional 18-hole course again by late June or early July, she said.
“Once we get No. 10 back and get back to a full rotation, the golf course is just going to hum,” Helmerich said.
It will just take a little more time to get there.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.