This will likely be my last post on the KCountry turcare blog. Looking back to the date of the previous post, it’s clear that we weren't frequently up to date. The easy excuse is to say that we were very busy preparing and maintaining both golf courses to the high standards that many of our guests and our Kananaskis team have come to expect. This was actually the truth.
Since the spring of 2012, our turfcare team stripped, prepped, installed and maintained 30 new bentgrass greens, and a handful of tee decks. This was necessary due to the consistent winter injury we received. It was also necessary to improve the surface drainage by restoring the perimeter edges to original grade. I’ve always believed that these major projects were an investment in the golf course. Similar to getting a new roof or windows for your house, these investments increases the longevity and improves the performance for many, many more years to come. Nobody ever anticipated the shortened time frame for Kananaskis Country Golf Course. Thursday June 20th, 2013. The fate of both courses were sealed. Approximately 300mm of rain fell in two days.
Thursday started like any other typical morning for us. James and I opened shop, put on a fresh pot of coffee and talked about the amount of rain that fell throughout the night and into the morning. We discussed changes to our morning schedule, ‘...move pins to high locations, rake bunker washouts, ﬂymow & linetrim attention areas, deﬁnitely no mowers and we should be cartpath only for the day...‘ That was basically the agreed upon conversation before we headed out for our morning tour.
The ﬁrst time I knew we were in some trouble was when one of our walk bridges ﬂoated past me along the cartpath. It was about 100 yards from its original location. I only wish that was our only problem. As soon as I crested the top of our double green cartpath towards the Mt. Kidd course, I saw water ﬂowing over and through the tee sites of both #10 and #1. Mother nature had found her original path.
It was really too soon to tell what the outcome of this ﬂood was going to be. I personally thought, when the rain stops, we will have everything cleaned and operational for the weekend. The rain didn’t stop, and the ﬂow of the new/original Evan Thomas river picked up speed and destructive force. The reality was slowly setting in.
During the next few weeks, I had a hard time grasping the outcome and harsh reality of what had happened. I didn’t want to believe this was the loss and end to all the hard work put into both courses. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the many new friends and colleagues that I had grown to love. As a turfcare team, we overcame many challenges, accepted much criticism and worked harder to improve our product for our guests. We took great pride in our work and what we accomplished. There's always something to improve upon at any golf course, no turfcare team can really step back and say, ‘..we are totally done and entirely perfect..‘ Seeing all the pride and hard work washed away in a matter of hours is a completely helpless and gutting feeling.
Now what? What’s my plan? These were the questions some 140 employees at Kananaskis asked. I was in the same boat. I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to start a new job, most importantly I didn’t know where we were going. We had to decide where we wanted to work, and that decision was based on potential opportunities.
For many of the employees that have transitioned into something quickly, I congratulate you. For those still sourcing options, I don’t anticipate running into any problems because for the most part, Kananaskis Country Golf Course employed strong teams and strong individuals. I am fortunate to find a new opportunity, and I'm excited to begin my new adventure. The transition will probably be difﬁcult, but I'm up to the challenge, we’ve been through worse.
So I write this ﬁnal post on the KCountry turfcare’s blog as my closure. I can now move on and accept everything that has happened. I hope in the near future someone can continue this blog with a fresh start and a new opening to what architect Robert Trent Jones stated as ‘..the best natural setting I’ve been ever given to work with..’
I would like to ﬁnish by thanking all my friends, co-workers, colleagues that I have met and learned from through my short tenure at Kananaskis. Please keep in touch. I would also like to thank all my industry friends and colleagues that helped me ﬁnd new opportunities. Good luck to all the our fellow golf courses that suffered damage and loss in this Alberta ﬂood, I wish you all the best and hope for a strong recovery. It’s the help from a strong and united turf industry that keeps us going, and that’s just one of the many reasons why I’m glad to be a part of it.