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Jeff Kolpack, Published April 30 2013

New crest numbers leave golf course officials upbeat

FARGO – It wasn’t long ago when the folks at Oxbow Country Club thought their golf course may be cooked by another Red River flood. But instead of giving in, the members dished up a solution that has everybody celebrating today.

For one, the river crested in Oxbow. Secondly, their two-headed attack of a clay dike and a product called AquaFence was more than enough to hold back the water.

As a result, the course is set to open Saturday.

“It was something that people said couldn’t be done, and we found a way to do it,” said Oxbow general manager Joel Livingood. “It was a big win for us and the community of Oxbow with all the talk of a diversion and flooding.”

The course had permanent protection to a flood stage of 33 feet. That was hastily built to 37 feet when they figured they could win the fight against the river after the predicted crest was lowered to less than 40 feet.

Livingood said the AquaFence concept was used in the Fargo flood of 2009 and the Bismarck flood of 2010. When members heard about its effectiveness, the idea turned to Oxbow.

The club rented about 1,500 feet of it. The product is essentially a portable wall that uses the weight of oncoming water to its advantage.

“We had to get creative, but it worked out well,” Livingood said. “I told our staff this morning that I’m so proud of what we accomplished this year. It was something people said couldn’t be done, but we found a way to do it.”

A couple of wet fairways on the front nine may take a little extra time to dry, but it sure beats most of the entire front nine buried by water.

Tuesday’s lowered predicted crest farther up the river was also good news to Rose Creek Golf Course, which opened 11 holes. It hopes to open the driving range later in the week.

Head professional Matt Cook said he’s hopeful to open 17 as early as next week. At 38 feet, the course would have lost the majority of the back nine (the course changed its layout).

The lone problem hole will be the par-5 twelfth (old No. 3) that runs along Rose Coulee.

“The first few hundreds of the hole will take a hit,” Cook said. “We’re up and playing so much quicker.”

That’s not the case this week at Edgewood, which is hoping for a crest and a fast exit of the river to save most of the front nine holes. The river needs to drop to 28 feet before a new system of pumps can start draining the bowl area of the course.

A clay levy surrounded the old chalet was removed Wednesday and the driving range will open as soon as that project is finished.

“The 40-foot crest creates problems other than golf,” said Edgewood head professional Greg McCullough.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia