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Fargo golf courses hope not to repeat history

FARGO -- It's the same story for the Fargo golf courses within a chip shot of the Red River. The hope is there won't be many pages to this story.

The heavy rains Tuesday night threatened Rose Creek, Edgewood, Fargo Country Club and Oxbow Country Club with the possibility of a 30-foot flood stage or more. If that's the case, Edgewood would most likely face the most problems -- the course starts to face potential damage at 27 feet.

"We'll have to wait and see what happens," said Edgewood head professional Greg McCullough. "I know what they're saying river level-wise. There's always something built in there, and we're crossing our fingers they gave us a couple of feet of buffer."

A levy adjacent to No. 6 tee box that suffered heavy damage in the spring flood was repaired on Tuesday. On the plus side, the course could see the benefits of a recent renovation, which was done in part to address the summer nuisance floods.

Before the course upgrade, "We would be in big trouble," McCullough said. "This flood would probably put us out for the whole year. Unbelievable."

All involved with the golf courses hope the prediction of the flood going up and down in a relative quick fashion holds true. Grass under water in hot conditions does not mix.

Rose Creek professional Matt Cook said it only takes a couple of days, or less, for turf to suffer major damage in a summer flood. The near-term forecast calls for high temperatures in the 80s.

"That's some intense heat on it," Cook said. "We haven't had a lot of success in the past if it's under for more than a few days. Spring is not a problem, when it's cold and overcast."

The usual high water problems were threatening Rose Creek on Wednesday, such as the No. 13 green. Cook said the course may be restricted to 11 holes for a while, with the front nine fully playable.

Edgewood faces the prospect of the bowl portion of the course -- a good chunk of the front nine -- going under if the river exceeds 30 feet. That's also a magic number for Fargo Country Club, which renovated its course to keep most of the course above that flood stage level.

"Our key is if it goes up and down quickly, we won't have any damage," said head professional Mark Johnson.

Oxbow is protected to 33 feet, and general manager Joel Livingood said the course came through the rains in good shape. He doesn't anticipate any flooding issues.

Meanwhile, Maple River Golf Course was closed Wednesday and will be until at least Friday afternoon because of water on the course. The problem, said head professional Dana Mjoness, is there is no place for the water to drain with the rising Maple River.

"Our drainage is blocked," he said. "There's standing water in the fairways, it's a mess."