EVERETT — Legion Memorial Golf Course is getting a makeover.
And in the process it’s helping solve a problem that’s plagued the surrounding neighborhood for years.
The public course located in north Everett is currently undergoing renovation as part of the City of Everett’s stormwater detention project, which is designed to alleviate flooding issues in the neighborhood. When the project is completed the belief is that it will not only solve the flooding problems, but also improve the quality of the course.
“I think a lot of people here feel it’s nice that the golf course can help out the neighborhood as well in doing this,” said Rex Fullerton, who is the general manager of Everett’s two public golf courses, Legion Memorial and Walter Hall Golf Course. “It’s nice that the course can help out, and it’s nice that it’s being done in a way that leaves the course every bit as good, if not better, when the project is over. It’s a win-win for both.”
The work on Legion Memorial began in March, and it’s expected to be completed in late September or early October, depending on weather. In the meantime, the course remains open, though altered. The three holes most affected by the renovation have been taken out of play, with the course rerouted and temporary holes added to keep it an 18-hole course. The temporary holes bring the par down to 68 from 72, and the greens fee has been reduced by $5 because of the changes.
The project is the result of complications that arose during major rainstorms in 2013 and 2015. Heavy rains overtaxed the sewer system in the North Wetmore and Alverson neighborhoods of north Everett. That caused flooding in the basements of homes in the neighborhoods as the water had nowhere else to go.
In looking for ways to prevent the flooding from happening in the future, the City of Everett came across the golf-course solution.
“We looked at the different ways to deal with the extra water, and one of the options was detaining the water on the golf course,” said Kathleen Baxter, the public information and education officer with the City of Everett. “The golf course rose as the most cost-effective option, as well as the easiest to actually accomplish in a suitable amount of time.
“The interesting thing is that it’s quite a common practice around the world,” Baxter continued. “About 20 percent of the nation’s golf courses make use of stormwater detention. It’s useful for both sides, you need ponds on golf courses and cities need places for water to go.”
As part of the $3.7 million project the city hired golf course architect Todd Schoeder, who designed similar projects at other courses around the country. Schoeder’s plans called for a pond to be added between holes 4 and 5, while existing ponds near the greens on 3 and 5 are being enlarged.
In the event of major rainstorms, the water the sewer system is unable to handle will be diverted to those ponds, where they will detain the water until the sewer system drains, at which point the water will be released back into the sewer system. A filtration system is being installed to ensure a measure of water quality is maintained when the excess water flows into the ponds. The ponds are being built large enough so they can absorb substantially more water than flooded the system in 2013 and 2015.
Meanwhile, Legion Memorial will become a different course. The pond addition and enlargements will substantially add to the amount of water hazards on the course. The course will be slightly shortened from 6,900 yards to 6,637 yards and par will be reduced permanently from 72 to 71. Hole 9 is being taken out of play, but will remain as an extra hole that can be used for practice purposes or breaking ties.
The course is also switching its nines, turning the current front nine into the back nine and vice versa. That means the new water holes will be part of the back nine, and five of the courses’ final six holes will contain water hazards.
“It’s going to be a very challenging course, and a pretty course in that area,” said Fullerton, who added that progress on the renovation is going well. “I think golfers will find it very enjoyable. We’ve only seen it on paper so far, but it’s going to bring water into play on two holes greenside, and on one hole there will be water where bunkers used to be. The back nine is going to keep your attention, it will be like our own Amen Corner.”
It will make for a challenging conclusion to a round at Legion Memorial once the renovation is complete. And if it also helps prevent flooding in the surrounding neighborhood, all the better.
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