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Westwood golf professional explains bridge collapse

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 11:28 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013 11:47 a.m. CST
(Matthew Shepard/Daily News)
Dylan Grau of Ankeny enjoys a round of golf Thursday afternoon. Temperatures reached above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and many golfers took advantage of the warm weather.
(Matthew Shepard/Daily News)
Golfers are asked to take a detour as the bridge near the 13th hole collapsed because of an apparent ice jam.

The Westwood Municipal Golf Course experienced a shocking surprise as a golf cart bridge collapsed near the 13th hole during the winter months.

“We did lose a bridge down on number 13 this year from an apparent ice jam,” Westwood Gold Professional Brad Sponseller said. “What we assume is that there was a couple of big chunks of ice that came down that creek. That creek had absolutely no water in it when it froze over last fall. When we got that rain, we didn’t even have a rain gauge out, so we didn’t know how much rain we got. But with that, it was warm, (and) the ground was frozen. So none of it (stayed) in (the ground). It just ran right off. And then you got the snow melting on top of it, and everything ran into the creeks.”

He did not know about the bridge collapse until several weeks after it had happened. Newton Golf Superintendent Nick Cummins was the first one to discover the collapsed bridge.

“Nick was out cleaning up some sticks one day. It was nice enough out on the course before we got it opened, and he was like, ‘I guess I will have to go around this one,’” Sponseller said with a laugh. “It would have been great if we could have been out there for the next couple of days to see it, but it had been two, maybe three, weeks since that we assumed it had happened anyway. That would have gotten us a couple of more weeks to prepare, because now we are going through, getting bids and figuring out how we can make it so it doesn’t happen again.”

All in all, Sponseller said he felt pretty lucky nothing worse happened.

“I thought we were pretty lucky that it didn’t come out of the banks — that it didn’t flood. I remember looking at it that Saturday afternoon and it was bank-full. I live right upstairs, so I look up on the deck every half-hour and kind of glance out to see if I could see some water out there. It never did come out of the banks.”

“We got a little reconstruction project that will take place eventually, but it doesn’t really affect too much of the play. People can (go around) it pretty good.”

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.