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Tropical Storm Nicole, expected to become a hurricane, threatens the Florida golf industry that Ian has already hit

Tropical Storm Nicole, expected to become a hurricane, threatens the Florida golf industry that Ian has already hit

ORLANDO – Tropical Storm Nicole, forecast to become a hurricane before making landfall somewhere Wednesday night or early Thursday morning in southern Florida, threatens to bring damaging high winds and downpours to hundreds – possibly thousands – of golf courses along the East Coast for the Florida Islands. we

The storm was over the Bahamas Wednesday morning with sustained winds of 70 mph, according to a 10 a.m. National Hurricane Center report. It was expected to hit the US somewhere north of West Palm Beach near the golf hot spot on Jupiter, home to many golf pros. The storm is then expected to cross Florida toward an area just north of Tampa and into the Gulf of Mexico before bending northeast into Georgia.

The storm’s projected path is likely to change slightly, as most tropical systems do, making it difficult to predict exactly which areas will be most affected. And while most of the attention is focused – and should be – on any potential human casualties and the risk of general property damage, there will certainly be impacts on the Florida golf industry that already suffered greatly from Hurricane Ian in September.

The National Hurricane Center’s 10 a.m. forecast Wednesday for the track of Tropical Storm Nicole, which is expected to become a hurricane before reaching Florida on November 9 or November 10 (courtesy of the National Hurricane Center)

As Ian bombarded Fort Myers and Florida’s southern Gulf coast before crossing the state heading to the northeast, Nicole threatens to head northwest, crossing Ian’s Way somewhere south of Orlando. While the greatest damage to golf courses is likely to be near land, there is a serious threat as this week’s storm cuts off trails with Ian’s course, making the “X the right place” for potential flooding, tree damage and temporary shutdowns in the center of the state.

In all, there are more than 1,200 courses in Florida. Except for those in the Panhandle to the northwest, few Florida course operators will escape some level of impact—from a small loss in tee-time sales to suffering catastrophic damage—from Ian or Nicole. Due to the sheer amount of courses in Florida, more than 1 in 12 courses across the United States have been affected in just Ian.

Florida has hundreds of golf courses along the projected Nicole course. Only among the Golfweek’s top rankings for Florida’s best public access courses, storm landings can affect the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens and the Ranked #8 Champion Course (the site of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic every year) as well as other resort courses; PGA 14 . golf clubThe tenth– Wanamaker rank of course and 21Street– Dye course arranged in Port St. Lucie. Blue Monster Trump National Doral Miami (No. 15); Turnberry Isle’s Soffer Course (No. 16) in Aventura; The waterfront is likely Crandon Park (No. 19) on Key Biscayne; and layout of The Breakers’ Rees Jones (No. 22) in West Palm Beach.

Among the top-rated private courses in Florida near land expected are the #1 Seminole in Juneau Beach; No. 4 John’s Island Club’s West Course in Vero Beach; No. 5 Indian Creek in Miami Beach; No. 6 Bear Club in Jupiter. No. 9 MacArthur in Hope Sound; No. 10 Loblolly in Hope Sound; No. 12 Medalist in Hope Sound; No. 13 Pine Tree in Boynton Beach; No. 14 Trump International in West Palm Beach; No. 16 High Ridge in Lantana; and No. 19 Florida Country Club in Golf Village. These are just the courses ranked in the top 20 of the private clubs in Florida – there are dozens of other private courses close to expected land.

Golf carts caught fire at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club on Sanibel Island on Sunday, October 16, 2022, several weeks after Hurricane Ian passed. The dunes were badly damaged when Ian struck southwest Florida on September 28 (Photo by Mike Dubslav/USA Today)

As Nicole crosses the Florida peninsula, the drop track takes its way just beyond Streamsong Resort, home to three top-tier courses. As Nicole approaches Tampa, play in this week’s LPGA Pelican Women’s Championships will likely be halted at the private Pelican Golf Club in Belleair near Tampa’s west coast. Just down the street from the Pelican is the Belleair Country Club, where a major restoration of the Donald Ross-designed West Course is underway. In far north Tampa, work is underway to renovate the two courses at World Woods, which were recently rebranded to Cabot Citrus Farms.

The effects of the storm were already being felt with Wednesday morning spells north of the forecast track near Orlando, with some courses still recovering from heavy rain in Ian. Some of the courses in the field are still repairing damaged bunkers that have not dried out completely over a month after Ian passed near the south.

Anyone with golf travel plans this week to Florida should check with their air carrier to see if cancellations are in effect, as many airports in the Sunshine State have been closed or will be closed Wednesday, with a potential reopening yet to be determined. distance. Orlando International Airport announced that it will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and several regional airports in Central Florida have also announced closures. The Palm Beach County Airport in South Florida also announced the closure Wednesday morning. Closures and other extended delays are likely across the state.

When Nicole turns north after passing Tampa, her projected approximately 1,000-mile course will take her over central Georgia between Atlanta and Augusta, then into South Carolina and north along the Appalachian Mountains through North Carolina, Virginia, past Washington, D.C. and toward New York before. back to the Atlantic Ocean. With the potential for heavy rain and the potential for severe flooding, this projected course will impede operations and potentially cause damage to more than a thousand golf courses along the way.

Even for golf courses that do not experience significant flood damage, many layouts in year-round golf environments have already begun in winter efforts, such as spreading rye grass that can be washed away in heavy rain. Results likely include the cost of reseeding and dips in seasonal lawn conditioning.

In Florida, the most likely damage would be falling trees and flooding. Several courses along Nicole’s projected path are already suffering from saturated ground in Ian’s wake, increasing the potential for tree root systems to be weakened and the potential for trees to fall. Not to mention the dozens of courses that suffered Ian’s biggest damage near Fort Myers, several other courses still repairing bunkers destroyed by more than one foot of rain in a 24-hour period—many of the courses south of Orlando still standing. Water along the corridors of Ian.

Most course managers along the projected track will spend Wednesday and Thursday getting their courses ready for rain and wind, moving loose items and even dropping off the signs. But there is only so much that can be done – it is impossible to climb an entire golf course. The days leading up to a hurricane or tropical storm in Florida are always an uncomfortable period of scrambling, waiting, watching weather reports, and hoping for the best.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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