Turbulent weather has claimed another U.S. golf course, this one a fixture of the PGA Tour.
Torrential rains in upstate New York earlier this month sent the Susquehanna River over its banks, leaving 90 percent of En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott under water. The course is closed indefinitely for repairs, likely until next spring.
En-Joie, a municipally owned and operated golf course that opened in 1927, has long been a popular spot, both with area golfers and with pro golfers who remember it as a neighborly, small-town Tour stop. En-Joie was home to the PGA Tour’s B.C. Open from 1973 to 2005 and since 2007 has been the site of the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
En-Joie’s immediate troubles started Sept. 7-8, when Tropical Storm Lee dumped 10 1/2 inches of rain on the Triple Cities Area of Endicott, Johnson City and Binghamton. En-Joie course superintendent Rocco Greco said the Susquehanna rose 17 feet above flood stage, inundating neighborhoods and leaving the course with as much as 20 feet of standing water. “Fairways, tees, all the greens expect the ninth, 18th and putting green were flooded,” he said.
This is not the first time En-Joie has flooded. With the lower end of the course sitting within 200 feet of the Susquehanna, rising river levels have breached the fairways. In 2006, only 11 days before the B.C. Open, flooding forced the event to move to the Turning Stone Resort in Verona. En-Joie didn’t reopen until the next spring. The next year, Turning Stone became a regular stop on the Tour’s Fall Series.
John Karedes, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open tournament director, anticipates no lingering effects for the late-June event. But first, Greco and his crew have the considerable task of scraping off a layer of silt that’s 1 to 4 inches thick.
En-Joie officials have taken considerable steps to reduce the impact of flooding. In 1996, golf course architect Michael Hurdzan re-engineered the layout’s drainage as part of a master plan designed to bring the course up to PGA Tour standards.
“We created low areas to intercept incoming floodwater,” Hurdzan said. “You can’t prevent flooding there, but you can channel the storm flow and create basins where the siltation can be reduced.”