Irma was a life threatening hurricane and just like Frances, Jean, and Wilma in years past and Matthew last year, it left a major impact on our golf course (see photos below). Although the sustained winds were not as bad as the other four storms that resulted in larger tree damage, the golf course was still covered with debris. The Golf Course Maintenance (GCM) staff went into storm preparation on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and was able to remove and prepare for the storm well in advance and still have enough time to prepare their own property and leave the area if they wanted to.
There are about 10 large trees down in turf areas and another 10-15 in the native areas. The large trees in the turf areas will be cut up by Tony’s Tree service and GCM will haul the debris off to the dump. The large trees in the native areas will be addressed when these areas dry up. The entire golf course was swept with our large sweeper, blown with our new Buffalo Blower or hand raked by GCM staff, Pro Shop and Kitchen Staff who all pitched in together to clean up the course.
Once we finish the major debris areas throughout the golf course, we will hand rake all debris out of the bunkers and do the same to all the cart path surfaces. As we blow off and pick up the debris, we follow up with our routine mowing work. We will apply fertilizer on tees and greens on Friday and apply wetting agent on both tees and greens Saturday morning after we mow. We should have most of the debris cleaned up by Saturday or Sunday and then we will start putting the golf course back together. Pins, tee markers, tee caddies, rakes and other supplies have to be returned to the golf course. We are scheduled to reopen the golf course to member play on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Our pump station finally had power restored Wednesday at 7pm (see picture of lineman hanging on wires). Once power was restored, we needed to wait 36-48 hours for the heaters to heat up the three (60 HP) pumps and dry out any condensation in the motors. If this start-up is not completed correctly, the motors will burn up. This process was completed and we fired up the system this morning starting up the first (60 HP) pump. We will start up the second motor after lunch today, and the third motor we will wait no until later in the weekend. Having power and a working pump station is huge; there are many GCM facilities throughout Florida who cannot make this statement.
Click thumbnails to view larger images. Update continues below photo gallery.
The biggest issue is our bunkers. We lost a great deal of sand out of most of the bunkers. We had a lack of sand issue in the bunkers prior to the storm and after the storm it is even worse. I have contacted Detail Sports Turf (Golf Course Construction Company) and Golf Agronomics (Bunker Sand Supplier) and we are set up to start replenishing bunker sand in to the bunkers in about two weeks. I am estimating about 15 loads of sand (330 ton) to replenish the bunkers.
We still have some renovation work to be completed on the golf course in the upcoming weeks along with normal scheduled projects. We will be coring the fairways starting on Monday, Sept. 18 and we will apply our first seasonal fertilizer application on September 25.
IRMA was a massive storm and, with all said and done, we were very lucky to have only what I call minimal damage to the golf course. This storm will still cost us about two and a half weeks of work, which we will never be able to recover the lost time. But as we have done in the past after the storms, we will move forward and get back to our normal routine and get the course ready for Opening Week!!