Eight fairways at Sugar Creek Golf Course in Elmore cross the creek and George Rodawalt, who operates the course with his wife, Sandy, and their sons, considers the creek a natural asset to the family business.
But creek has presented a challenge to the Rodawalts the past two years as flooding problems have forced them to excavate part of the course.
“We’ve always had a lot of pride in keeping the course well manicured and everything. And last year was just so difficult. Sometimes we had to mow fairways with the deck mowers. It was a tremendous amount of work,” Rodawalt said.
The course was flooded 30 times last year, according to Rodawalt. To date this year, they’ve had to contend with flooding conditions about eight times.
Rodawalt estimates the course is back to 85 percent capacity and he is grateful players have continued to patronize the course, which was built by Sandy’s father and uncle in 1963.
“The public has been hanging in there with us and we are very grateful for that,” he said. “We’re alive and well. Through all the turmoil we still had leagues. We have 19 holes out here so we can play the alternative par 3 to replace the 16th green.
“We’d never lost a green in almost 40 years, But that green was flooded over and over again last year. We couldn’t even keep the water off it. We had to do a lot of excavation so that when the water does come up it returns and flows with the creek now. It would flood and then the temperatures would hit the 90s and bake the green. Maybe by summer’s end we can get it back open. We were probably averaging two or three floods every month last year.”
Ironically, the 12th green – a popular hole with players - is an island in a pond that hasn’t flooded.
“But everbody’s been very understanding,” Rodawalt said. “We’re very fortunate for the people we have. They’ve continued to come out here.”
A scramble sponsored by Scarlett’s May 19 to benefit the Jerusalem Township Food Bank was a success, he said, adding benefit tournaments for several other charities are also planned.