The dry creek connecting the 14th, 15th and 16th fairways at Maderas was the subject of a recently completed major reconstruction and renovation.
The three-week project involved excavating sediment and debris from the channel and then re-engineering it to improve its functionality and aesthetics. The heavy El Nino rains of early January caused significant erosion and displaced a footbridge, highlighting a need for maintenance to restore the creek’s drainage capabilities and upgrade its capacity to handle significant volumes of water.
The reconstructed creek received an immediate and intense test on Monday when a series of storms charged the system with nearly an inch of water. Maderas Director of Agronomy Patrick Reilly said the rains proved a timely test, one the project passed.
“It wasn’t quite the rains we saw in January, but it was a good amount of water and the creek handled it beautifully,” he said.
As a double bonus, Reilly said the rains will also jump start the course’s post-construction recovery. The last step was to lay down a hydroseed material, which will restore the vegetation to the creek bed. The rain will start the growth process, which Reilly said is important aesthetically but as importantly to stabilize the reshaped earth and dirt around the creek.
The most extensive work took place beneath the 15th tee, where a drainage ditch exists that’s supposed to help funnel water into the creek. The collection area received a significant overhaul and sections of the nearby cart path were raised and reconstructed to hopefully help avoid future damage.
There’s a re-sodded forward tee and ball drop area that’s marked ground under repair. Reilly said players can assist in the recovery process by respecting the signs and treading lightly in, or temporarily avoiding, areas where the course is in recovery.
“If people can be a little gentle in those areas it’ll really help,” he said.
Members have already commented about how the debris cleared from the creek has made it easier to find lost balls. The new and relocated footbridge on No. 16 is also an immediate improvement.
Reilly said the aesthetic recovery of the constructed areas will last well into spring.
“I figure it’ll take a couple months for it to get back to that completely full and native look.”
But the lucky meteorological break for Maderas, Reilly said, is that the record warmth in February has the course at least six weeks ahead of its normal winter recovery. And winter rains have some native areas and wildflowers that have been suppressed by the drought already looking their best in years.
While violent weather precipitated the project, ironically, Reilly said, its gentler side allowed the work to be completed quickly. Recalling an edict from management to get the project completed “before the next storm,” Reilly said the course and project caught a tremendous break with a dry February.
“It didn’t rain a single drop while they were here doing the project,” he said. “It all really worked out great.”
Corey Ross is the Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media at Maderas. He be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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