Houston golf course superintendents work overtime to recover from historic flooding

GCSAA members Bean and Skarpa are optimistic that courses will recover soon

Lawrence, Kan. (April 26, 2016) – April 18 is a day that golf course superintendent Ralph Bean will never forget.

Bean, a 16-year member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), is superintendent for the two public golf courses at Cypresswood Country Club in Spring, Texas, just a few miles north of the sprawling George Bush Intercontinental Airport. On that Monday, the courses were flooded by 11 inches of rain in just six hours. In a three-day period, 15 inches of rain fell, and the Cypress and Spring creeks overflowed.

“Eight holes on our Cypress course were completely submerged, some as much as 12 feet under water,” said the 40-year-old Bean. “Since then, the waters have receded a bit, and we have worked all weekend to get the greens cleared off. It’s been pretty tough, but I have seen events like this before. I worked in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit (2005). You try not to get overwhelmed and know that you’ll get through it.”

Twenty miles to the east, golf course superintendent Cody Skarpa and the golf course crew there have been working around the clock to restore the five private courses at the Golf Clubs of Kingwood.

“Basically, all 90 holes were under water, including 12 greens,” said Skarpa, a 28-year-old who previously worked as Bean’s assistant superintendent.

But both men are optimistic about opening for business again soon.

“Our Tradition Course should be up and running this week,” said Bean. “The Cypress Course, however, is closed indefinitely.”

Skarpa was even more upbeat.

“We are hoping to have all 90 holes open next week sometime,” he said.

Several more inches of rain are forecast over the next week however, and some of the more than 50 golf courses in the extended Houston area are bracing for the worst, while hoping for the best.

The Insperity Invitational event on the PGA Champions Tour is still scheduled for May 6-8 at The Woodlands Country Club, in the north Houston suburb of The Woodlands, Texas.

Note: For more information about golf course flooding, visit GCSAA resources at www.gcsaa.org/Course/Seasonal/Flooding

About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.