With memories of the 1998 Labor Day storm that stripped courses of trees and spewed debris, Drumlins CC, Bellevue CC and Liverpool CC prepared for the worst with precautionary closings and by removing moveable objects.
Before Hurricane Sandy hit land, golf courses in central New York were hoping for the best while preparing for the worst, the Central New York Post-Standard reported.
Drumlins Country Club and Bellevue Country Club, both in Syracuse, each lost hundreds of trees in the 1998 Labor Day storm and worked on October 29 to control losses with this year’s impending storm, the Post-Standard reported.
“We’re taking out all the pins [flagsticks] as a precaution and we’ve tipped over all of our big water coolers to prevent them from blowing over,” said Bellevue’s Head Pro, Steve Aloi. “Our carts are all locked up, so they’ll be OK, but with the debris that’s going to be flying around, there’s going to be the potential for hazards if you don’t have everything buttoned down.”
Aloi added that the course was likely to be closed October 30, the Post-Standard reported.
“Personally, I’m not sure it’s going to be as bad as they say it’s going to be—certainly not like the ['98] Labor Day storm when wind shear, or whatever they called it, knocked down well-established trees like nothing,” Aloi said. “But if it’s raining and there are 60-mph winds, certainly no one’s going to be out here playing.”
Drumlins closed its doors on October 29 at 2 p.m., per the orders of its owner, Syracuse University. It was to remain closed on October 30, the Post-Standard reported.
At Liverpool (N.Y.) Country Club, co-owner Rich Ajemian said 10 golfers battled chilly elements on October 29, but he expected an empty course the next day, the Post-Standard reported.
“Tomorrow all hell’s going to break loose,” Ajemian said. “I just hope all the power doesn’t go out, but it could.”
The biggest problem faced by golf courses during major storms is the loss of trees, Ajemian said. While Liverpool CC lost only a handful of trees in 1998, every hole was littered with branches, the Post-Standard reported.
“We weren’t hit like Bellevue or Drumlins, but we did have debris all over the course,” Ajemian said. “With 50-mph winds, that could happen again. You can’t nail them down. Whatever happens will happen.”
(C&RB will continue to provide updates on how club properties and courses are coping with Hurricane Sandy and its effects throughout the week.)