Tropical storm gave new meaning to TPC River Highlands 13th hole – NBC Connecticut
The travelers championship officially starts on Thursday and the course is in perfect condition. However, that was hardly the case last fall when the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused incredible damage to the 13e hole.
It took a monumental effort to fix, and it wasn’t just the golf course maintenance crew. It was much more complicated than that.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) played a significant role and the state had to declare an emergency order to get this project done for this year’s tournament.
The destructive consequences of Tropical Storm Ida have left a gigantic chasm. Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube couldn’t believe the damage when he saw the first photos.
“I was like, ‘Oh what is this?’ Then I looked and I was like, ‘Wait a minute,’ and I zoom in, and I was like, ‘That’s the 13th tee box, I think,’ Grube said.
The damage was adjacent to the par-5 fairway of hole 13. To complicate matters, the train tracks, directly above the hole, on state-controlled right-of-way property. The DOT had to react.
“When this washout occurred, we sprang into action with an emergency declaration to begin repair work immediately,” DOT spokesman Josh Morgan said.
The project was not easy as the hole below revealed an even greater concern.
“Beneath this area was also the Buckeye Pipeline delivering jet fuel to Bradley Airport,” Morgan said.
Tackling the project, O&G Industries of Torrington were engaged and immediately assessed the situation.
“[The storm] left a hole with vertical sides of 40 feet and it sunk about 60 to 75 feet deep,” said project superintendent Pete Hinman.
Working seven days a week, the project required thousands of hours of work and just as much landscape infill.
“You’re looking at a total of 18 to 19,000 yards of fill that went back into the hole,” Hinman said.
The project required significant engineering and labor, but the hole was patched in December. The grass and turf were planted in the spring, just in time to be perfect for this week’s tournament.
“When you look at the engineering project that the TPC, the state of Connecticut, and how they put that together, it was amazing,” Grube said.
The project was funded by the state and cost around $5 million. In addition to the repairs, additional drainage was designed to help prevent future similar occurrences.