Bella Vista golf courses dry out after heavy rain

BELLA VISTA – Shane O’Neil has seen his share of fairways covered in water.

The Superintendent of Berksdale and Kingswood Golf Courses in Bella Vista believes that in the roughly 16 years he has worked for the Property Owners Association he has seen many major instances where it has rained enough to send water spilling over the banks of the local creek and on many of the POA’s lush courses. .

But recent weather is not on the list, he said.

“I’ve been here for about 18 years in this area and worked for the POA for about 16 years,” he said. “I’ve been through about 32 majors. I wouldn’t consider this one a major. Not for us.”

O’Neil and his staff surveyed the courses as creek levels overflowed the banks. After checking the courses on April 13, they took a break before returning that evening to see if the water levels had peaked.

“We will have to wait for the water to rise and then we will come back later in the evening and see the extent of the damage,” he said in the afternoon.

While O’Neil didn’t expect to find major damage, he did expect to find many instances where silt and debris needed clearing from the courses.

“We’ll have silt,” he said, looking down Kingswood’s course next to his store along US 71. “You can’t see it from here, but on #2 there. down in the corner there will be a lot of Since it’s the first flood of the year, it’s sort of cleaning up the creek.

Silt is washed onto greens and fairways, creating dangerous walking conditions for golfers.

“It gets really smooth. We’ll have to scrape the silt to make it playable for people,” he said. “That will be our biggest challenge, trying to do it in a timely manner. We have to make it safe. It’s about keeping golfers safe.”

O’Neil said the rest of the work will be “removing logs from the fairways, clearing debris from the fairways, drying out, fixing our bunkers, adding sand to our bunkers, replacing boards, posts in T, distance markers and sand buckets.”

His first estimate was “about two weeks” for the courses to fully recover and return to normal, but workers actually had the courses playable three days after the water began to recede.

“If it’s bad enough, we’ll ask for volunteers and they’ll come and help us,” he said, “but it’s not the one where we’re going to need them. It’ll just take longer for it to happen. dries up only for us to clean.”

“Shane O’Neil, along with his assistant superintendents Wendy Barnes at Berksdale and Marty Faulkinberry at Kingswood, and all of their staff are doing an outstanding job of cleaning the course and getting it ready for play,” the course maintenance manager said. POA golf course, Keith Ihms. “They are always striving to provide the best possible playing conditions as quickly as possible while ensuring the safety of our staff, members and guests.”

O’Neil said there were times when he and his crew had to seek help from other POA courses, and times when his crew reciprocated.

“When you have Dogwood, Highlands and Scotsdale…we can count on them to help you out,” he said. “When you have five golf courses, these guys do a great job. They support us, and we support them. They will send people to help us if we need them. golf courses.”

He added that the other courses “have their runoff areas, where they get a lot of water, but nothing like that. We’re all affected by it in one way or another, but because we’re here at the background, it hits us a little harder.”

They get hit, dry out, recover and wait for the next one, knowing it’s not a matter of if, but when.

“I had two in a row, and I think in 2009 maybe we had 20 inches of snow and then we had 11 inches of rain like a week later,” he said.

Bennett Horne/The Weekly Vista This cart path on the Bella Vista Country Club golf course was turned into a giant water hazard after rain last week. The bridge spans Tanyard Creek, part of the Tanyard Trail System, and is impacted by the overflow of Lake Avalon and Lake Windsor.

Michael C. Ford