Within about 45 days following the dam failures and flash flooding in May 2020, most of the turf at Currie Municipal Golf Course in Midland was green, plush and ready to play.
Of course, the flood wasn’t the only thing keeping players off the grass as the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent state restrictions halted gameplay for 31 days in March and April.
However, despite these challenges, the golf course was able to open again in the summer and deliver more than 27,000 rounds of golf.
On Monday, Jan. 25, Nick Bednar, vice president of operations for Indigo Golf Partners, gave a recap presentation to Midland City Council, detailing the highlights of the season. He explained the managing company, Indigo Golf Partners, was formerly Billy Casper Golf and underwent a brand transition this past summer.
When flooding impacted Midland in May, the low-lying golf course was overtaken with water and floating debris. Every building on site, such as the clubhouse and maintenance buildings, were affected by water for the first time. As water receded, a thick, cracking layer of silty mud was left covering the turf.
“Being in the floodplain, it was really just incredible to see what the water did to this parcel of land,” Bednar said.
It was a race to uncover the suffocating grass with shovels and blunt tools, and Bednar said he could not understate the help of volunteers and staff who got the job done. He showed the council before and after pictures of the turf.
“If that did not happen, the golf course, especially on the west course, likely wouldn’t have had any greens open this year,” he said.
Financially, Currie Golf Course saw a revenue loss in 2020 with round numbers almost cut in half due to the time closed in May. In 2020, there were 27,876 total rounds for a total revenue of $767,867 compared to 40,533 rounds in 2019 for a total revenue of $1.1 million.
“That’s the really frustrating piece of (2020) because we know with all the trends in golf this year, we really would have knocked it out of the park,” Bednar said.
Now, with the hopeful return of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational LPGA Tour this summer, he said they should be ready to work with sponsors and offer whatever services are needed. In 2019, the pro golfers used the city’s golf course for practice.
The focus this year will be on reopening holes 15-17 on the west course, attracting and retaining new golfers amid a renewed interest in the sport, and maintaining equipment and course quality.
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