Greetings from Myrtle Beach. This past week, we escaped Irene’s wrath and immediately launched a news release informing golfers that the Grand Strand was open for business. After just a little clean up, Golf was still on at area courses and the instructors at Classic Swing Golf School were ready to teach their next lesson.
Farther north, however, the damage from flooding was still being assessed.
After Hurricane Irene blew through metropolitan New York on its path up the Eastern Seaboard, superintendent Travis Pauley surveyed the 4-foot-deep pond Monday on what had been fairway and considered himself lucky that the storm damage wasn’t greater.
The scene was repeated across the East Coast as the golf industry cleaned up from a storm that killed at least 25 across eight states, with early damage estimates approaching $10 billion.
On Long Island, just east of where Irene’s eye blew through New York early Sunday, Lido Beach (N.Y.) Golf Club withstood 5 inches of rain and wind gusts topping 60 mph. The municipal links course, though it sits on the Atlantic shore, was spared any saltwater incursion. Flooding came from two inland ponds that spilled enough to close the course Monday, though officials said the course should be open later in the week.
At the far eastern end of Long Island, Montauk (N.Y.) Downs State Park Golf Course endured only 1 inch of rain but winds of 75 mph-plus. It was enough, according to superintendent Charles Reidlinger, to down small trees but not enough to do major damage to greens, fairways and tees. Still, the course was closed Monday, as were all other courses in the New York State Park System — including the five layouts at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale – as a precaution for damage assessment.
In making preparations for Hurricane Irene, there was much concern throughout the New York area about storm surges. For the most part, major flooding was avoided, though tidal surges on Long Island Sound contributed to saltwater flooding two holes at Fishers Island Club and considerably more fairways at the Country Club of Fairfield in Connecticut.
Inland, the story throughout the East was one of minor damage – enough to close courses temporarily. Ocean City Golf Course in Berlin, Md., shut down for the weekend when the entire surrounding Maryland resort community was evacuated. Nine inches of rain and hurricane-force winds left the 36-hole facility mildly bruised and with some flooding, but both courses were up and running by Monday morning.
Despite some wind gusts and heavy rains Friday night, the Myrtle Beach area was largely spared from the blunt of the massive Hurricane Irene. Winds howled through the night Friday, temporarily knocking out power in some areas, but Saturday morning brought only reports of minor damage such as fallen trees and limbs. Classic Swing Golf School and their professionals were unscathed and fully prepared to teach on Monday.
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