Kevin Norby completes renovation of Meadowbrook Golf Club

  • Lovely Golf Course

    The heavily guarded green on the thirteenth hole

  • Lovely Golf Course

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency helped fund the renovations to the course

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Looking towards the green on the second hole

  • Lovely Golf Course

    Bunkering on the sixth hole

Elizabeth Robinson
By Elizabeth Robinson

Meadowbrook Golf Club, in Hopkins, Minnesota, has reopened following a renovation by Kevin Norby of Herfort Norby Golf Course Architects.

The course, one of five owned and operated by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, was extensively damaged by a flood in June 2014, when severe rain caused the neighbouring Minnehaha Creek to overflow and cover the golf course with five feet of water.

Funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was available to cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by the flood. The Park Board hired Norby to assist them with navigating the FEMA process and reconstructing the golf course.

“We’ve probably got more experience with FEMA funded golf course reconstruction projects than anybody in the country,” said Norby, who has also recently completed a US$5.5 million FEMA funded renovation at Coal Creek Golf Course.

“In September of 2013, FEMA issued a policy change bulletin that provided for federal funding for damaged turf on golf courses,” explains Norby. “Prior to that change in policy, FEMA would only pay for repair of damage to infrastructure such as public buildings or irrigation components.”

The construction process was completed in three phases beginning with some minor repairs that were handled in-house by Park Board golf course staff. Next, the fairways and roughs were regrassed to allow time for them to mature. Finally, Norby worked with the Park Board to solicit competitive bids for the reconstruction of bunkers, the repair of cart paths and the replacement of the irrigation system electrical components.

“The bunkers were the most involved part of the project,” said Norby. “The faces had eroded and collapsed and the drain tiles were plugged. Because the course was closed for so long, the bunkers were filled with weeds. We rebuilt the faces and restored them to a style that is consistent with the classic golden-age era of the course.

“Since FEMA would only participate in reconstruction of elements that were damaged by the flood, the Park Board funded the reconstruction of the remaining undamaged bunkers so when the course reopened, they would be consistent from a style and playability standpoint. We eliminated a few bunkers and actually reduced the overall square footage by nearly 30 percent.” Reseeding was completed by Hartman Golf and bunkers and irrigation reconstruction was completed by Duininck Golf.