Texan course survives flood


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

On 27 June, the Texas Hill Country region was subjected to as much as 19 inches of rain in just a four-hour period. However, thanks to its modern design and the careful planning of the management team, the Waterford Texas course, despite being situated only 15 minutes from the epicentre of the storms, is almost ready for play.

The course, designed by Austin-based golf architect Roy Bechtol in collaboration with Randy Russell, received only minor damage and flooding. As a result, its front nine should be ready for limited play in late October or early November, just a few weeks later than originally planned.

Waterford's eleventh and eighteenth holes are right next to the far-north shore of Lake Travis, a huge body of water that has risen from 643 feet above sea level six months ago, to almost 703 feet as rainwater and runoff poured into the lake. The two holes, designed at 698 feet, were overrun with water as high as three feet in some portions. The majority of that water has dissipated and left minimal damage to the fairways, thanks to the opening of at least six gates on Mansfield Dam, situated to the extreme south side of Lake Travis. The holes' greens are at 705 feet and were not affected.

"We have really seen the lake come up to historic levels, and I think we have come through it all very well," said Jimmy Terry, Waterford's general manager. "Those holes were built with a floodtype situation in mind, but the fact that the lake has come up so far so fast has brought the lake more into play than one could have truly imagined when the course was in its planning stages." Waterford, which will play at 7,249 yards from its back tees and to a par of 72, will feature water views from ten holes, elevated vistas, three holes playing along Lake Travis and five tee boxes at every hole.

Three of the track's four par fives play at 586 yards or more, and the course boasts both long (483-yard) and short (331-yard) par fours. The layout incorporates creeks and oak-lined hillsides, blending the Hill Country's Texas terrain with bentgrass greens, Zeon Zoysia fairways and buffalo rough.