It’s been more than a week since Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida, but the path to golf courses on barrier islands, such as Sanibel and Captiva, is still a long way off.
“Well, the island is still there… A lot of the houses are still standing. In our case, we took a pretty devastating blow,” Mike Dubslav, head pro at Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, . said Fort Myers News Press last week.
The Dunes, located on the northeast side of Sanibel, are one of two 18-hole courses on the island that were shaken by a Category 4 storm, which made landfall on September 28 at Cayo Costa, Florida, a barrier island north of the Captiva and Sanibel Islands. Sanibel Island Golf Club is the second course, located on the southeast coast. A third club, The Sanctuary Golf Club, a 1992 private design by Arthur Hills, is a few miles north in Captiva.
With the Sanibel Bridge in the Gulf of Mexico collapsing and vehicular traffic blocked, staff at these clubs began taking boats to the island last week to assess the damage.
Initial finds: A massive gale of storms left track lanes, vegetables, tee boxes and bunkers under several feet of salt water, turning the lawn into a grinding mayhem and changing the terrain severely, while 150 mph winds caused many trees to fall and disfigured structures other.
In The Dunes, a 1985 Mark McCumber design, the characteristic course tree in the first lane is uprooted, among many other things. While the club is still standing, it’s about it: There is massive water damage, destroying most everything inside. Eight inches of water rushed into the pro shop, scattering batons and other objects. All golf carts were destroyed.
There is currently a hot tub in mid 18The tenth Green color.
“Who knows, this might be a new feature on the 18th hole,” said Brian Kautz, general manager of The Dunes. first call. “We should all have a sense of humor and hope.”
Kautz estimated that the course is “90-95% brown because bermudagrass does not tolerate salt water at all.”
“I got off the track when I first got there and a helicopter landed on our first runway, which they use as a landing pad to bring in supplies and set up a fire station,” Kautz added. “I found groups of rental clubs down the street from the shopping cart barn.”
Jane Taylor, head pro at Sanibel Island Golf Club, and a Truman Wilson and Bill Deitch joint design that opened in 1976 described similar damage to his club. first call.
“Full of sludge and slippery,” he said of the walkways which photos showed were also covered in various other debris. Another photo showed golf carts scattered around the property. aerial shots One hole revealed mostly underwater.
South Seas Golf Club, a nine-hole on the north end of the Captiva, in a photo taken (main photo above), at least one hole completely eroded.
The course at Gasparilla Inn and Club, designed by 2004 Pete Dye, is the closest barrier island course north of the landing site, in Boca Grande. According to the club’s website, the tournament has suffered “significant damage” and will be closed indefinitely. Google Earth images showed several areas of the underwater cycle.
With more important things to take care of in the near future – homes and businesses either completely destroyed or badly damaged – the timeline for returning to golf on Sanibel Island is unknown.
But there will be, at some point, a return to golf.
“Once the shock is gone and the inspiration I will get from bringing it back and overcoming the challenges…” said Dubslav. press news“You’ll feel good when we open the doors and have someone hit the first tee again.”