Cincinnati Country Club members lava good fake volcano

Crew makes mountain out of a molehill of materials for club’s Memorial Day weekend party.


Filed to: Construction, Ohio

fake volcano at Cincinnati Country Club
The volcano that Tony Weaver, Steve Siedentopf and their crew built for the Cincinnati Country Club's annual Memorial Day Extreme Party. Photos courtesy of Cincinnati Country Club

When Tony Weaver learned the theme for this year’s edition of the biggest annual party at Cincinnati Country Club was “Aloha,” and that he and his crew were to be tasked with building a volcano for the event, he knew an elementary-school staple tabletop baking-soda-and-vinegar mini-Vesuvius just wouldn’t do.

“My general manager said he wanted to see if we could build a volcano,” recalls Weaver, Cincinnati CC’s GCSAA Class A director of grounds and an 18-year association member. “We kinda laughed and said, ‘How big do you want it?’ ‘As big as you can make it.’”

The end result was a behemoth befitting the title of the event itself: Cincinnati Country Club’s Extreme Party.

Weaver and Steve Siedentopf, the club’s projects manager, were given all of four days’ lead time to create a volatile mountain from the magma up — in time for the summer season kickoff event the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

When it comes to construction, whether geologic in origin or not, it helps to have someone like Siedentopf — who technically is on the course maintenance staff but has a hand in nearly all the club’s building projects — on the payroll.

“He’s so handy,” Weaver says. “He’s great to have around. He’s our go-to guy. He’s 100% here all the time, but not just on the golf course. We do everything in-house here, all the building projects, all kinds of stuff. We’re all comfortable with that kind of stuff. We just built a new maintenance building and new learning center, and we did that all in-house. Steve did all the interior finishing. Literally everything else around the club besides golf — drywall repair, whatever — he gets the call.”

fake volcano under construction at Cincinnati Country Club
Weaver, Siedentopf and the crew were given four days to create the giant fake volcano for the summer season kickoff event.

When the call came to get volcanic, Weaver knew just where to turn.

“I said, ‘Steve, get in here. We have to build a volcano,’” Weaver says with a laugh. “Everybody thinks we had this big, huge meeting to design it. We really didn’t. We went out and got 20 16-foot two-by-fours and started laying it out.”

Once they had established the basic cone shape, the two wrapped it in geotextile landscaping cloth, which was then stapled to the lumber. They sprayed the cloth with a foam insulation gun to give it texture, then, once that had dried, “We went to town with a paint sprayer,” Weaver says.

The finished product was about 16 feet tall and 14 feet around, Weaver says. A fog machine gave the illusion it was smoking, and a red light suggested it was erupting. There also was a speaker inside playing “volcano noises.”

“Steve was down inside it (during the latter stages of construction),” Weaver says. “We had to mess with the fog machine and the speaker. We had a ladder through there so he could move around. It was pretty funny.”

But not nearly as comical as the scene that unfolded, er, unrolled, just prior to that.

The volcano during the day. Weaver says he and Seidentopf received multiple compliments from club members on their construction.

fake volcano

“Most of it was pretty straight forward,” Weaver says, “but after we got the structure up, we were trying to put the cloth on it. One day there were, like, 30 mile-per-hour winds. The cloth was blowing everywhere. It looked like a big flag. Luckily, there were no tragedies. But people were looking at us like, ‘Look at these idiots.’ People were asking if it was an oil rig, trying to guess what it was. It was just a funny day. Most people just stare at Steve and I and shake their heads anyway.”

Come party Friday, those turned to nods of approval.

“Our membership is awesome,” Weaver says. “This is the biggest party of the year for the club, the start of summer. The pool opens the following day. They absolutely loved the volcano. I got tons of emails and compliments on it. They couldn’t believe we came up with it on a whim. They all took their pictures in front of it. I think it turned out really, really neat. We knew it had to be that big, or it would have been dwarfed on the front lawn. It just sucks that we put all that time into it, and it had to be torn down a couple of days later.”

Andrew Hartsock is GCM’s senior managing editor.