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Pebble Beach damaged in storms

The torrential rains that swept across the western United States this week haven't spared the area's golf courses. Even the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links couldn't escape Mother Nature's wrath, although reports that the course's 18th green has fallen into the Pacific Ocean are exaggerated.

Approximately 200 square feet of rough along the left side of the 18th hole -- one of the most famous holes in the world -- dropped into the ocean, according to The San Jose Mercury News, but play on Jan. 13 was not affected. The chunk of real estate that took the dive is about 300 yards off the tee, and since most players aim to the right side of the fairway, it should have no impact on next month's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Farther south in California, The Los Angeles Times reported that Lost Canyons in Simi Valley and Eagle Glen in Corona suffered some flooding and minor damage, and courses in flood control basins, such as Encino and Balboa in the Sepulveda Dam Golf Complex and Anaheim Dad Miller, had up to six feet of water in some places.

The new Angeles National Golf Club in Sunland lost its 17th green when the nearby Tujunga reservoir overflowed, according to the Times, and the Black Gold Golf Club in Yorba Linda suffered "significant damage" to its 13th hole when mudslides pushed dirt up to 20 yards into the fairway.

Also, a six-foot sinkhole swallowed part of the third fairway at storied Harding Golf Course in Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

"We've got quite a cleanup process ahead," Los Angeles Golf Manager John Mallon told the Times. Mallon oversees the 13 courses operated by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

"We've got trees and mud and silt and plastic and wood and all kinds of debris. We even had some fish wash up on the fairways at Balboa and Encino," said Mallon, who added that course closures have cost the city "in the hundreds of thousands of dollars."

About two hours drive miles east of the L.A. basin, the desert cities of Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage and Indio each suffered storm-related damage that included streets torn up by flood waters and golf courses with damaged fairways and cart paths and broken irrigation systems.

"The state has assured us they plan to declare an emergency," said Rick Cook, emergency services coordinator for eastern Riverside County's fire department. "The emergency declarations by the cities and county will open up different pots of money that can then be used for recovery services."

Palm Springs is losing about $20,000 a day while its two 18-hole golf courses remained closed for repairs, said City Manager David Ready. The courses, Ready said, could need up to $200,000 in repairs.


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