Water problems hinder Elizabethton Golf Course

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com
The Elizabethton Golf Course has had its share of ups and downs throughout the past couple of years in relation to finances and business.
This past year, the course has been involved with numerous projects and tournaments, most recently hosting the Region A/AA Boys and Girls Golf Tournament.
But running a course has its share of costs both on and off the fairways. Perhaps the biggest problem facing the municipal course is the water problems.
"It's been going on for a few years now," said Sam Barker, who is a member of the Elizabethton Golf Board. "We've been putting in new sprinkler heads and we do have an extreme amount of problems."
The course takes its water out of Buffalo Creek, which has high amounts of sand and silt.
The added particles clog the sprinklers and water lines around the course, and have forced the course to make numerous improvements with its sprinklers and watering systems.
"We spend a lot of money to clean and pump the water, and we don't have a source of viable water," Barker said.
The board has had many ideas of improving the situation at the course, but it does not have the finances due to back payments, which are due to the city of Elizabethton.
"We have thought of using a lone-settling pond and we have the rights to spraying," he continued. "But we would have to collect it and use it over."
"We need 500 gallons of water a minute when watering the fairways and greens, and now the spraying puts out 200 gallons. It's a real problem."
The Elizabethton course is one of the only municipal courses around that delegates things to its board and operates separately from the city.
The board has even thought of using the city's water, but that would be very expensive, figuring in the amount used on a daily basis.
"We owe a couple of payments and we are in an economic bind," Barker said. "The competition for golf is significant in this area. Our rates are good and we've done a lot to improve things around the course."
The 6,339-yard course hosts several tournaments throughout the year and offers many specials during the week for those who would just like to play.
"We've got an excellent course," he added. "This summer, it rained and we didn't have to use as much water. But that's just this past summer. The last summer it was dry and that's how it may be next summer."
It may take a while for any action to take place on the problems, but something needs to be done before it takes its toll on one of the area's finest courses.