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Flooding closes Bully Pulpit Golf Course

Little Missouri River floodwaters have found their way onto 13 of the 18 holes at the Bully Pulpit Golf Course near Medora, N.D. Course officials are making plans to be closed until June 20. photo by Dave Solga

DICKINSON, N.D. -Flooding along the Little Missouri River has left one of North Dakota's top golf courses unplayable for nearly a month.

Bully Pulpit Golf Course outside of Medora had water on 13 of its 18 holes Monday afternoon. With the Little Missouri not predicted to crest until at least Wednesday, course officials say they are making plans to be closed until June 20.

This is the third time Bully Pulpit has flooded but Dave Solga, the course's head professional, said this is the first time it has happened after opening for the season.

Nonetheless, he is confident that the course will be back in top shape after the water recedes and workers are able to complete clean-up efforts.

"We're very experienced with dealing with the flood," Solga said. "When we're done cleaning this thing up, you'll hardly be able to tell it ever happened. It's just going to take some time to get it there."

The United States Geological Survey flood prediction service lists the Little Missouri's flood stage at Medora at 15 feet. As of Monday evening, it was at 17.7 feet. The USGS predicts the river will crest at 19.5 feet sometime Wednesday morning and begin to recede below flood stage by Saturday.

Solga added that Davis Creek, which is a Little Missouri tributary, has also been the cause of some flooding.

Solga said cleanup will be minimal on some holes and extensive on others. He said the river tends to leave the course filthy with debris and mud causing the most problems.

"It's unfortunate, but our staff is prepared to take it on once the river is back in its banks," Solga said.

It's another tough break for the popular course that attracts both tourists and local golfers.

Bully Pulpit workers finished cleaning up earlier flood damage throughout April and finally had the course playable by April 29 when it hosted the East-West Classic high school boys tournament.

About seven holes into the opening round, a blizzard hit.

Still, the course quickly bounced back and hosted the North Dakota Golf Association's two-man scramble on May 14 and 15.

"Everybody was just in awe of how good it was," Solga said of the scramble weekend. "My prediction is it'll be just as good as it always is once we get it cleaned up. It's just a matter of getting it done."