Golf clubs count cost of storm damage

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 17, 2014 12:23

Golf clubs count cost of storm damage

Golf clubs across the UK and Ireland are evaluating the storm damage from last week’s extreme weather, which saw heavy rainfall and winds of up to 100 miles per hour devastate large parts of the British Isles.

woodsome hall golf club

Storm damage at Woodsome Hall Golf Club in Yorkshire

The rain, and flooding, had already ravaged many golf clubs throughout southern England and Wales this winter.

The recent wave of atrocious weather was particularly damaging to Irish golf clubs.

Kilkenny Golf Club saw 150 trees knocked and debris strewn throughout its course. The left side of its par five 12th hole was covered in trees, with one observer telling Kilkenny People that it looked like a ‘war zone’.

Members helped greenkeepers with the clear up over the weekend.

‘Many of the trees were uprooted while more were broken in two. Others had large limbs broken off or are bent over perilously close to falling over completely. There are branches everywhere and the scene is one of heartbreak for officials and members who work so hard to maintain the course up to a very high standard,’ stated a reporter for Kilkenny People.

However, Limerick Golf Club appeared to be even worse hit.

Secretary manager Pat Murray said: “We have approximately 300 trees down, not to mention the damage to boundaries and walls.

“All the trees down are signature to the holes in question with a lot of the trees over 100 years old.”

He added that the cost of repairing the damage is set to be ‘huge’ and will take years to repair.

The club’s website homepage is now simply a notice saying ‘the course will remain closed until further notice. Volunteers required to help with the clean-up’.

There was also devastation in the United Kingdom. Several golf clubs were closed this weekend due to felled trees.

Newbury and Crookham Golf Club, for example, closed half of its course due to several trees coming down.

“Despite a number of large trees coming down, the back nine remains open for golfers,” said a club spokesman.

“The number and size of the trees that have come down will mean that the bottom part of the course will remain closed [for last weekend].

“On the plus side, at least the wind is helping dry the course out!”

At Cotswold Hills Golf Club Gloucestershire, members were trapped inside the clubhouse after two trees fell on the access road outside, blocking their exit both ways.

One member said: “The road was blocked both ways for a while – to the left totally impassable but to the right the tree’s fall was broken by a smaller tree on the golf club side.”

Club officials donned high-vis jackets and cut branches away to enable people to make their escape.

The member added: “Some members were disappointed that an escape route had been made as they had told their wives they were trapped up at the golf club!”

Blacknest Golf and Country Club, on the Surrey / Hampshire border, also lost power due to the weather and closed all weekend, while Woodsome Hall Golf Club in Yorkshire narrowly escaped a potential tragedy, when a large, old beech tree crashed down – just missing the club’s 16th century clubhouse.

Club spokesman James Crowther said: “There was a meeting taking place in the downstairs room where eight people saw this unfold in front of them. We are very relieved that no one was hurt.”

Meanwhile, several flooded golf clubs remain closed. One of the worst hit, Datchet Golf Club in Berkshire, has three-quarters of its course still under water.

Club secretary Jim Staniford said: “We have been closed for nearly a month and with more warnings coming from the Environment Agency it is going to be another week or so until we open again.

“Parts of the course are still under water, and three-quarters of the course has been affected. We were very close to getting up and running the other week but the water came back up.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 17, 2014 12:23