Golf Course Management

DEC 2012

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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gcm extra During my visit, Carlone had identical new chain saws delivered by two different companies. Again, the same, yet different; the price from one retailer was more than $200 higher per saw than the other company's. "Can you imagine this — price gouging now when it is so bad for everyone?" exclaimed Carlone. Most greens, tees and fairways escaped the massive number of fallen trees with- out much damage. "We are so lucky. Some just missed tees, fell left instead of right and onto greens. We are lucky, no doubt about it." The 'lucky ones' The coast of Connecticut was greatly impacted by Hurricane Sandy. (A side note on the phrase "Hurricane Sandy": Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy had an affidavit signed by FEMA stating the storm had been downgraded to "tropical" status when landfall in Connecticut took place. This single move avoids hurricane deductibles from being implemented in insurance claims.) A quick refresher of geography largely explains why, as the coastline faces nearly due south. This put the shoreline at close to a right angle of impact from the tidal surge and general wind patterns from the storm. This was no glancing blow. As with the rest of the region, higher-than-normal lunar tides were also a key component to the damage done to shoreline facilities. All of these facilities have had expe- rience with storm damage recently. Just over a year ago, Hurricane Irene visited Connecticut, show- ing the power and destruction Mother Nature can cause. The following examples will show the magnitude of Sandy versus 2011 and Irene. Fortunately, the staffs at all facilities visited were safe. Neil Laufenberg, the GCSAA Class A superintendent and 17-year association member at Innis GCSAA has established a fund to assist members who have suffered hurricane- related losses. For more information on donating to this fund, visit www.gcsaa.org. Arden Golf Club in Old Greenwich, Conn., put into practice his knowledge of storm manage- ment. His facility has a series of freshwater ponds that allowed him to flood the lower portion of his facility with fresh water before the sea moved in. It was helpful, but not nearly enough to battle the magnitude of Sandy. His lower pump house (no longer his main irrigation option since Irene) was inundated with seawater flooding. Three facility-owned homes, housing some employees, were evacuated and incurred flood damage. There was also some tree damage, but Laufenberg was quick to state, "Add me to the list of lucky ones." Superintendent Shannon Slevin, the 13-year GCSAA member and Class A superintendent at Shorehaven Golf Club in East Norwalk, Conn., would like himself added to the list of "lucky" superintendents, although it takes a good conversation to find out why. His inventory list of equip- ment has increased due to items washed up from other properties, while his tree inventory took a substantial blow. Add to Slevin's damage and debris several holes inundated with saltwater, and there is a lot of work ahead at Shorehaven. So why does Slevin consider himself lucky? "Most of the trees that came down were on my wish list," he states with a sly smile. In addition, he adds that his infrastructure didn't take any damage. The maintenance facility, equipment and irrigation system all came through without harm. A brief stop to visit David Koziol, a 14-year GCSAA member, found the Country Club of Fair- field (Conn.) undertaking "typical" storm repairs: seawall reconstruction and saltwater flushing. Eleven complete holes and parts of most of the others were under water as a tidal surge forced water completely across the course. "Even at times of unusually high tides, you can drive along the seawall in a cart and see the ocean at eye level. That's what happens when parts of your course can end up below sea level even without a storm," explains Koziol. Conclusion I wish I could have touched base with every location affected by Hurricane Sandy, but obvi- ously that would be impossible. Places that were hardest hit made travel difficult and even unsafe, therefore their stories remain to be told. But those stories, when we hear them, will be filled with ingenious inventions, unique uses of resources and a steadfast resolve to rebuild lives and facilities even better than before — just like the stories of the 16 members I visited. GCM Kevin F. Doyle (kdoyle@gcsaa.org) became GCSAA's Northeast region field staff representative in March following nearly 10 years as the GCSAA Class A superintendent at Londonderry Country Club in Milford, N.H. 66 GCM December 2012

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