Golf News

California golf course facing uncertain future with climate change

California golf course still closed after six months

Parts of Peter Hansen’s favorite golf course were underwater. Again.

As the Pineapple Express storm swept across Ventura County Sunday, the bus driver from Camarillo drove by the 92-year-old course he described as good for morale because of its shorter, more forgiving holes. Already frustrated the city-owned Ventura track had been closed for more than a year because of damage from 2023 storms, Hansen saw the water and worried he might never tee up there again.

“I said: ‘This isn’t good,’” he recalled thinking.

The course’s future remains at least partly cloudy, but if it doesn’t reopen it won’t be because of the storm unleashed by an atmospheric river.

City officials said the course sustained only about $16,000 of damage, relative pennies compared to the $10 million or more estimated price of repairing destruction incurred by tons of sediment and mud that covered the course after the Santa Clara River flooded it on Jan. 9, 2023.

This time around, sand traps filled with water. Ducks swam in temporary lakes. A tree was lost and a piece of irrigation control equipment was damaged.

“It was pretty minor,” said Stacey Zarazua, the city’s parks and recreation director.

The course opened in 1932 and has built a loyal following, in part because its shorter length acts like balm on golfers’ egos. Its long-term future continues to hinge largely on funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and finding ways to reduce the chance of future flooding.

But city officials said parts of the course could possibly reopen in a short-term fix aimed at regaining some of the revenue lost during the long closure.

It’s not clear exactly when such a reopening could come but the course could be ready for it fairly quickly, said Deputy City Manager Brad “Brick” Conners.

“We think we can do at least nine holes,” he said. The final call on a temporary, partial reopening would come from the City Council, as will the key decisions on repairs and the course’s future.

“The potential exists,” Conners said of a full opening. “There are a variety of things that have to happen.”

Work crews use dump trucks top to remove mounds of dirt at the Buenaventura Golf Course on Friday, July 7, 2023. JUAN CARLO/THE STAR

‘Like the hand of God’

In January 2023, massive rain turned the course into a giant lake, also flooding the snack bar and pro shop. After the water drained, fairways, greens and sand traps were cloaked in thick, suffocating…


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