Monday, September 25, 2017

Hurricane Irma Update, Golf Course Reopens

Two weeks ago yesterday, Hurricane Irma devastated Southwest Florida. Much of the region is still in recovery mode and will not be back to "normal" for many months. However, I am pleased to report that Olde Florida Golf Club will be open for play tomorrow morning, September 25.

The club was previously scheduled to be closed for golf course cultural practices last week (September 18 - 25). If you have read my September 14 or September 20 blog entry you are aware that no aerification, vertical mowing or other routine maintenance tasks took place last week. My staff was focused solely on recovery efforts.

September 25, 2017
By the end of the day, all of the lakes will be at "control" level   
Below are some "before and after" cleanup drone flyovers of hole 12, 16 and 17. There is still work to be done, but "tree line to tree line" we are in VERY good condition.

Hole 12   Day 3      (Click Here)
               Day 14    (Click Here)

Hole 16   Day 2      (Click Here)
               Day 14    (Click Here)

Hole 17   Day 2      (Click Here)
               Day 14    (Click Here)

The final step in the cleanup efforts is to remove silt from the floor of the bunkers and level the sand to a consistent depth. That will occur before tomorrow morning. Over the next few weeks, additional sand will also be added to replace what was lost from the winds of Hurricane Irma and the torrential rains we received this summer in Southwest Florida. Sand will be added to achieve a consistent 5" depth in all of the bunkers.

Year to date Olde Florida Golf Club has received 83.89" of rain. The majority of this occurred this summer. In June we received 22.56", in July 17.23", 17.58" fell in August and so far in September we have had 17.15"

See you soon!
Darren J. Davis, CGCS

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hurricane Irma Recovery

As detailed in my September 14 blog entry (click here) the eye of Hurricane Irma crossed over Olde Florida Golf Club on the evening of Sunday, September 10 causing significant wind damage and flooding. While there is still a great deal of work that needs to take place, I am extremely pleased with the significant progress that has been made to return the golf course and all facilities to pre-Irma condition.

Due to the extensive flooding on the golf course, and the inability of my staff to get to many of the holes on the golf course on the days following the storm, our initial efforts focused on removing trees, limbs and debris from the incoming road and clubhouse. This is a link to a video of one of the many oak trees that were uprooted by Irma and needed to be cut in pieces with a chain saw and dispersed with our Vermeer chipper (click here).

The golf course staff removing one of the many oak trees at the clubhouse uprooted by Hurricane Irma
When staff was able to return to work, Tom and his personnel had the primary focus of removing plywood from the clubhouse windows and doors. After this was complete, his staff assisted mine in the cleanup around clubhouse by raking and removing the smaller debris from the landscape areas.

As the water receded, beginning with the driest holes, my staff went hole by hole to remove trees and other debris on the turfgrass. The greens took first priority. Fortunately, no trees fell directly on any of the greens and only minor damage occurred to the putting surfaces.

Removing one of the many large pine trees from the turfgrass. Hole 1.  
Tree trunks stacked for removal at a later date. Hole 1.
Debris removal from turfgrass took priority over other areas. The turfgrass took precedence in order to minimize turfgrass damage or death from lack of sunlight. Due to the hard work of my staff, the lack of additional heavy rainfall following Irma and the quick drop in the lake levels, I am very optimistic that we will have minimal turfgrass loss.

The green side bunker on hole 5 after the storm water receded. 
Cleaning perimeters, landscape areas between golf holes, and things such as removing this palm tree, which Irma lodged in an oak tree between hole 10 and 18, will occur as time allows.
Many of the Olde Florida staff were without power for well over a week after the storm making life very challenging. With any challenge the opportunity for a positive reaction exists. Olde Florida has always had a "TEAM" approach (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). This was certainly the case in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. When Tom didn't need his staff in and around the clubhouse, they assisted my crew on the golf course. In addition, Tom and I decided having a group lunch each day in the grill room would enhance the "team" concept and show deserved appreciation to the entire Olde Florida team.

The Olde Florida staff after lunch on Thursday, September 20

I hope that you are having a great summer and your Naples residences did not incur extensive damage. I am looking forward to another awesome winter golf season!

Darren J. Davis, CGCS

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma made landfall early evening Sunday, September 10 on Marco Island as a Category 3 hurricane. The eye of the storm crossed over Olde Florida Golf Club causing significant wind damage and flooding.

Olde Florida Golf Club (blue circle) on the evening of Sunday, September 10 

The clubhouse was boarded up and only received minor wind damage (outdoor light fixtures, ceiling fans, gutters, screens etc.).

The clubhouse (Pre-Irma) on the morning of Saturday, September 9  

Unfortunately, the golf course operations facility, which is a 24-year old metal building sustained much more significant damage, but it is secured and functional.

During the storm the golf course was battered by strong winds and rain causing countless trees to be uprooted or snap in half. Branches and other debris are also scattered throughout the golf course.

Pine tree behind 18 championship tee
Pine tree left of hole 1
17 championship tee

10 green
Clearing the incoming road
The path between hole 17 and 18
Links to drone videos taken the day after Hurricane Irma (Monday, September 11) are below:

A flyover from hole 6 to the clubhouse on the morning after Irma.

A flyover of hole 6 on the morning after Irma.

A flyover of hole 5 on the morning after Irma.

Links to drone videos taken two days after Hurricane Irma (Tuesday, September 12) are below:

A flyover of hole 1 two days after Irma.

A flyover of hole 16 two days after Irma.

A flyover of hole 17 two days after Irma.

Links to drone videos taken three days after Hurricane Irma (Wednesday, September 13) are below:

A flyover of hole 12 three days after Irma.

A flyover of hole 14 three days after Irma.

Also, on my YouTube  channel are links to additional videos, including drone footage taken on Saturday, September 9, the day before Hurricane Irma made landfall.

My staff and I have been very busy with the recovery efforts for several days. Unfortunately. it will take time to remove trees, clean debris and of course time to allow the lake levels to drop. As of today, Thursday September 14, there are still areas of the golf course that my staff and I can not access. To make matters more stressful, most of my staff are still without electricity at their homes, but they are working diligently to get Olde Florida opened as soon as possible.

I appreciate your patience!

Darren J. Davis, CGCS