Golf courses closed with hundreds of trees down

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

High School and private school football teams weren’t the only athletic competitions to take a hit when Hurricane Ivan roared through the county last Thursday.

The hurricane hung around long enough to play 18 holes before continuing its trek to points north.

&uot;We have a lot of timber down,&uot; said Bryan Reynolds, Director of Golf at Cambrian Ridge. &uot;We have approximately 800 trees that have fallen and are laying on the ground. Some are in play and some are in the rough. This will change the characteristics of some of our holes tremendously.&uot;

Besides the course being damaged extensively, the clubhouse survived.

&uot;There was no damage to the clubhouse,&uot; Reynolds said. &uot;We had a little damage to the scoreboard. A tree fell across it, and we had several irrigation control boxes crushed from trees that fell. But, other than that, structurally there was no damage. We do have the restaurant open. We reopened yesterday [Thursday].&uot;

According to representatives from Sunbelt Golf, Cambrian Ridge was the hardest hit of all the Robert Trent Jones courses.

Steve Williams at Sunbelt confirmed that every location that had a course is up and running. Most closed Thursday and part of Friday.

Cambrian Ridge, however, remains closed.

&uot;We hope to have nine holes open [Saturday],&uot; Reynolds said. &uot;We hope to have Sherling open [Saturday]. Canyon hopefully will be open by Thursday. Loblolly and the Short course, we’re not sure when we’ll be able to open them.

They sustained the most damage.

Of the 800 trees down, probably 40 to 50 percent were in play across fairways or tee boxes, several greens were damaged as a result. The greens that had sustained damage from trees have already been re-sodded.&uot;

Despite being closed, the clean-up effort continues to get Cambrian Ridge playable.

&uot;The same company that’s cleaning up the course is the group that’s cleaning up the town, Phillips & Jordan,&uot; said Reynolds. &uot;They have a golf division and have approximately 40-45 men working to repair the course.&uot;

But, the Ridge wasn’t the only golf course that sustained damage.

Although it, by far, sustained the most damage.

&uot;We lost approximately 150 trees, give or take 10 percent,&uot; said Kenny Perdue, president of the Greenville Country Club. &uot;It has pretty much put us out of business since Wednesday and we probably won’t be able to play until Monday of next week.&uot;

The country club lost pines, oak and pecan trees during the storm.

&uot;Hurricane Opal was bad to us,&uot; Perdue said. &uot;But this is two or three times worse. In Opal, we lost maybe 40 or 50 trees at the most.&uot;

Despite the initial shock of extent of the damage, Perdue already has a crew clearing the course.

&uot;We have a local person who’s a contractor here and he’s doing a really good job,&uot; Perdue said. &uot;He’s a member of the club and he’s also a golfer so that helps when you are moving heavy equipment in and out.&uot;

Besides the damage to the course, the clubhouse did not suffer any damage.

&uot;The kitchen has been shutdown because of no power,&uot; Perdue said. &uot;We lost some food but it should be up and running Friday.&uot;

Not all the damage that occurred during the storm happened in the playing areas.

At White Oak Golf Course, about a mile before you get to Cambrian, the only major damage they suffered was in the rough.

&uot;It’s the woods between eight and 10,&uot; said Hugh Brooks, an employee of White Oak Golf Course. &uot;If you tee off on eight and hit a good ball you have nothing worry about. But, if you slice it, then it become s a problem.&uot;

For the staff at White Oak, business goes on as usual.

Today they will have their monthly Christian Fellowship Golf Tournament.