Rain makes Virgin River swell, damage golf course

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Doug Davis of Southgate Golf Course discusses flooding in front of a water-logged course.

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Heavy rain fall shut down roads around southern Utah Saturday as flooding plagued St. George and the surrounding areas.

The Virgin River was the source of most of the flooding. Water was sent spewing across roadways. Pretty much all of the water had receded by evening, but there was quite a mess left behind.

“It’s just mud everywhere, there are a lot of one lane roads, and closures and such, it’s crazy,” said resident Taylor Kinnard.

Dixie Drive in St. George was one of those mud caked roads. It was difficult to even see the sidewalk.

In Santa Clara, large puddles sat alongside the roadways. According to Washington County officials, Saturday’s thunderstorms dropped 1.5 to 2-inches of rain in the area. The Virgin River rose from 150 cubic feet per second to 7,102 cubic feet per second in three hours.

“We were up here in the summer and it was just a stream, and now we can’t believe it’s like a full-fledged river down here; it’s amazing in one day, it’s surprising to me,” said resident Linda Veit.

The drastic rise in water equaled destruction for Southgate Golf Course.

“Well this is about the worst I’ve seen since I moved here about nine years ago,” said employee Doug Davis.

The front nine is virtually unplayable, as the river took over fairways. Davis said it’s an all too familiar sight.

“It’s devastating because it keeps happening, and you’re wondering when are we going to be able to get something done that’s going to make it so this river doesn’t keep taking these courses and ripping it apart,” said Davis, who predicts it will be months before the course is back to normal.

All the roads that were closed in St. George and Santa Clara have now reopened, however, there are still road closures inside Zion National Park. During one point Saturday, access to the park was closed.


  • bob

    “When will something be done?” Translation: When will the taxpayers spend crazy money so that I don’t have to suffer the consequences of my poor decision making?

    That’s a grotesquely stupid place to put a neighborhood OR a golf course. Rather than forcing me to spend MY money on YOUR lifestyle, next time just ask me if it’s a good idea or not. “Should I build a house next to a river in the desert that’s infamous for flash floods?” Duhhhh…..let me think about that one for about 2 seconds and I’ll get back to you.

    • bob

      And the nerve of Golf Course Guy to suggest that “something needs to be done”!!! A GOLF COURSE? Really? You want me to spend my tax money to build a wall to keep the river off your GOLF COURSE?

      The sad part is you KNOW it’s going to happen. Get ready to write some checks, citizens. Your government is on the case.

  • laytonian

    A GOLF COURSE is a perfect use for a flood plain, rather than homes. But y’all need to start paying your own way and quit forcing taxpayers to subsidize your water-grubbing sport. How about YOU design a golf course that isn’t so easily flooded?
    In Palm Springs, the same thing happens. The clubs just fix the damage and carry on. Not so here in Utah, where supposedly “free market capitalists” always have their hands out to the Federal government.

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