Golf course restored

Aliso Creek will reopen Sunday, barring rain, with all of the proceeds of the day going to benefit flood victims.

February 17, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.coms
  • Golf Operations Manager J.D. Blashaw tee's off on Aliso Creek's first hole.
Golf Operations Manager J.D. Blashaw tee's off… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Forecasts of rain haven't dampened plans for the reopening Sunday of Aliso Creek Golf Course, closed since December when flooding inundated the fairways.

Aliso Creek Inn General Manager Kurt Bjorkman said Tuesday that no decision will be made until Saturday to delay the Sunday re-opening, which will be a benefit for the survivors of the disastrous winter rainstorms. All golf proceeds on Sunday will be donated to the Laguna Relief and Resource Center, which is coordinating assistance to the flood survivors.

"We are selling Tee Box sponsorships for $100 a hole," said insurance broker John Campbell, who is spearheading the benefit reopening with his wife, Lu.

"As of [Monday], we have sold 23 sponsorships. We will be selling closest-to-the-pin tickets at the course on Sunday. It will cost $5 to enter, and the winner will get $50 and a free round of golf at Aliso."

Donations will also be accepted.


"Yes, the rain and floods caused extreme devastation to our course," Bjorkman said. "However, while it hurt our business, it does not compare to the impact that the storm has had on many of our Laguna Beach neighbors.

"We have an opportunity through the Laguna Relief and Resource Center to help our community and make a difference."

The nonprofit center has come to the aid of the survivors of the storm, just as it did in 1993 when a fire storm swept through Laguna, and in 2005, when a landslide devastated Bluebird Canyon. Its mission is to bring together those in need with the network of resources and agencies available in the community that can address their needs without duplicating the work of federal or other local agencies.

Like residents and other businesses afflicted by the flood, golf course officials had a massive cleanup job. Golf course superintendent Greg Jones and his team immediately began clearing debris, rebuilding bunkers, replanting trees and reseeding the entire course.

"It was heartbreaking to see the damage, but we are excited to reveal the progress we have made to the course," Jones said. "The restored course is incredible with pristine greens and immaculate tee boxes."

It has taken almost two months to repair the damage.

This is not the first time the creek that gives the nine-hole golf course its name and divides the fairways has wreaked havoc on the resort.

In 1983, flooding due to El Niño conditions sluiced water through the creek at a rate of 5,400 feet per second, overflowing its banks and flooding up to 10 feet in places.


Greens with deep roots

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