Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
Kokopelli Preps for State Amateur Despite Drought
MARION -- The Links at Kokopelli can't seem to get enough water these days.
"It's been a horrible year," Kokopelli Superintendent Josh Gaebe said. "Mother Nature has not been kind with the drought."
Gaebe and his staff have spent countless hours watering greens, trying to make up for the lack of rain. Southern Illinois is 14 inches drier than normal.
"It's been difficult," Gaebe said. "Last year we had no problem with water supply and this year we've been rationing ever since the start of the year."
Kokopelli's irrigation water comes from a strip mine near the sixth hole. The pond is about 15 feet below normal, a stark contrast from last year when it flooded.
"We actually had water getting into the pump house so we had to turn the pumps on and pump water off the property and now to this year, we're low."
The drought couldn't have come at a worse time for the course. Next week it welcomes the Illinois State Amateur. The last time the tournament was in southern Illinois was in 1998 at Rend Lake. This will be only the second time in its 80-year history, the Amateur will be played south of Interstate 70.
"It's quite a feather in our cap for the quality of the golf course, quality of the greens and the design of the golf course," Kokopelli Director of Golf Jesse Barge said.
He's been looking forward to the event for nearly five years.
"When you plan something that far in advance it's like, 'Wow, it's finally here, it's actually going to happen.'"
For Gaebe, the chance to have the state's best amateur golfers at his course is an honor.
"I'm just hoping they like the course and can see past the issues that mother nature has put in our lap."
Wind: 6 MPH
Humidity: 86 %