Well I must admit the last 6 weeks have been difficult and at times it’s been hard to keep smiling. I vividly remember driving around the course on the Wednesday prior to the flood impressed with what I saw and noticing all the detail in the hard work from our green staff and volunteers. Work that had taken years to come to fruition but it was a picture of beauty.
With little notice of what was about to happen the rain from Debbie started to come down on the Thursday and yes it rained but we only received 150mm in total on the course. Not much to worry about we thought. By Friday morning it was gone but there was a weird feeling in the air as the State Government started closing schools and telling everyone to stay at home for what was coming.
By about 7am the Logan River started to burst its banks and we stood on the 11th tee watching what at the time was a bit of a novelty. It was about 30 minutes later we started to realise that this was going to be something big. We began moving what we could to high ground including the 30 club carts and another 31 member’s carts. We moved our greens machinery to the newly created shed pad which was well above the flood levels and safe.
By 10am the entire golf course was inundated and it was time to evacuate. Within a matter of 20 minutes our driveway had gone from dry to 2 feet under and the staff and members left at the Club needed to drive through almost 2 feet of water to get out. One car didn’t make it and had to be rescued. It certainly made us realise how quickly things can change with these events and how people can easily get trapped.
So we waited then each day for the water to recede, turning up at the Club at first and last light to check the water levels. When the water made it out the front gate we knew it was much higher than in 2013. It stayed up for days and as each day came the excitement wore off and the realisation of what was in front of us started to creep in. Finally, on the Monday morning at about 9:30am the water on the driveway had receded to a point that 4WDs could enter.
What we saw at the end of the driveway was heartbreaking.
A brown muddy mess that engulfed our beautiful lush green paradise that existed only days before. Not only was it hard to look at, the smell of the mud and silt was overpowering.
But we had a job to do and so we started immediately with the clean-up. The first priority was greens and so the staff and members present got stuck in and began the process. Clearing debris first and then hosing, squeegeeing and doing what they could to remove the muddy mess from our perfectly manicured greens.
They worked until dark and then were back at sunrise to begin again. With 11 greens to recover it was a big task in itself.
We then moved on to the rest of the course and bit by bit we removed debris, pushed mud from tees and important areas, pressure washed sheds, paths and car parks. We put out the call to members and on the Tuesday and 40 volunteers came in to help. It was wet, muddy and slippery however everyone was there to do whatever they could to help. While we did what we could it became obvious to us that we would have to wait before the bulk of work could begin as we just couldn’t get vehicles out on the course just yet.
On the Saturday, we had 110 volunteers register their interest to help across tw0 4 hour working Bs. While most were members it was also amazing to see a few that weren’t and were just there to lend a hand. What was achieved by these volunteers was simply incredible. They dug out by hand many of the destroyed bunkers that had only been renovated in 2016. They piled and removed many loads of debris and made a huge dent in the work needed to recover our course.
We had one more major working B on the following Wednesday where another 40 volunteers turned up to do more work and mainly focused on debris removal now we could vehicles out to parts of the course we previously hadn’t been able to.
As Easter then came around Management made the decision to close the Club for the long weekend and allow the course to dry out before we again continued to work towards a re-opening.
The re-opening was held at 2pm on Friday 21 April – 22 days closed and a massive hole in the Club’s financial position, but we were open! 68 members played the front 9 holes and were quite impressed with what they saw. Many had been there to help the Club over the previous 3 weeks and were just happy to be playing again.
The road back has been a mixed bag with rainy days hampering our progress and keeping the underlying silt layer tacky at times. With dry weather the course is actually very good but with the odd scar. With wet weather the golfers shoes pick up mud and although this is getting better is still unpleasant.
Our challenge is now to focus on renovating the bunkers, removing the large amount of debris that still exists in places and doing our best to present a course our members are again proud of.
Whilst we are optimistic this event has been a large speed bump in our progress. We will feel the scars most likely until the end of the year. At the moment 80% of the course is very good with the 12th and 13th holes still shortened. This is to allow these areas to recover and to keep the enjoyment levels of our members and guests as high as possible.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those that have helped in any way, whether that be through the working Bs, our flood recovery raffle or just by getting back to the Club and supporting it. Carbrook is and has always had a Club Spirit stronger than most and this event has been another example of it shining through.