Markland Wood Golf Club nears full recovery from flood and storm damage

Markland Wood Golf Club nears full recovery from flood and storm damage
By Sean Dudley

Following a dramatic period in the club’s history, Markland Wood Golf Club is getting back in shape thanks to a series of repairs that have helped revitalise its course.

An unenviable series of natural events caused significant damage to the 6,285 yard, par-70 course at the club in Toronto, Canada.

Markland Wood’s low-lying fairways and bunkers were flooded by water from the overflowing nearby Etobicoke Creek following storms in July 2013. The club was forced to close for two weeks before fully opening with rebuilt bunkers. 

However, in December that year an ice storm struck, followed by southward shifts of the North Polar Vortex. This lead to a blanket of ice as deep as eight inches in places covering much of the course, inevitably causing significant damage.

But after working alongside architect Cam Tyers, a US$2 million repair project is close to completion at Markland Wood.

“You could say that Mother Nature has not been very kind to us, but the membership has really pulled together and turned these natural disasters into a positive outcome,” said Owen Russell, the club’s superintendent.

The 13th green before new turf was laid

Since the first storm hit in the summer of 2013, the course’s 65 bunkers have been rebuilt, 11 acres of fairway have been re-turfed, a new irrigation system has been installed, and work on storm-damaged trees has been carried out.

14 of the course’s greens have also been re-turfed with Aggressor bentgrass, comprising a total area of 72,000 sq ft. The remaining five greens will be re-surfaced at the end of the current season.

New turf being laid on the 13th green

“I think the resiliency of the membership is quite remarkable and inspiring because they have been able to accept the circumstances and move forward very quickly,” said Russell. “When we fully open the course in June with the new greens our members are essentially going to have a new golf course to play on and that’s something they should be very proud of.”

“While it was initially hard to see the silver lining through the devastation incurred, that dejection quickly turned to the realisation of the opportunity to revitalise the golf course,” added Markland Wood president Scott Peart. “We won’t be playing on the new greens for a few weeks, but I can already feel the anticipation building within the membership.”

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