The Unsung Heroes at Riviera Country Club

When the heavy rain and strong winds stopped play at the Genesis Open on Feb. 17 at 12:18 p.m., players, volunteers and fans were sent home. Play was to resume Saturday morning after the heavy weather cells passed through.

Riviera Country Club Superintendent Matt Morton knew he would have a short night. According to a Feb. 19 L.A. Times story, Morton’s crew of 40, plus 40 volunteers, were on site at 3:30 a.m. working to get the course in shape so that play could resume.

Anthony Dietl, who volunteered as a Hole 4 marshal, took this photo. Initially, tournament volunteers arrived for a 7 a.m. start time, but that was pushed back two hours so the maintenance crew could clear the golf course for play.

Anthony Dietl, who volunteered as a Hole 4 marshal, took this photo. Initially, tournament volunteers arrived for a 7 a.m. start time, but that was pushed back two hours so the maintenance crew could clear the golf course for play.

Heavy winds had knocked over one eucalyptus tree near the 14th hole, and branches and leaves from the course’s 100-ft.-high eucalyptus trees were scattered across the course, but crew members in golf carts with leaf blowers were able to clear each fairway. Although there are no water hazards on the course, three inches or more of rain into Friday night produced numerous mini-ponds in fairway swales, and many of the deep sand bunkers had knee-deep water in them. First, water was pumped out and then crews shoveled and raked, so that by the time golfers were back on the course, the sand was playable.

Morton told the Times, “Having volunteers come in to help us really made a difference. We couldn’t have done it without them: I’m happy with the course.”

The course lies in an old riverbed, which means the soil is rocky and sandy and drains well. By 9 a.m. Saturday, when play resumed, it was hard to tell that Pacific Palisades had been pummeled only hours earlier by one of its worst rainstorms in years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *