A Florida golf club that was devastated by Hurricane Irma while going through scheduled renovation works has finally reopened.
Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club, in the south-west of the state, was just seven miles from where the storm made its second landfall – it made its first in the Florida Keys – and with 300 acres of cypress, pine and palm trees, it was inevitable that there would be significant damage.
“We definitely feared the worst,” marketing manager Laura Hill told bunkered.co.uk.
“The hurricane was initially projected to hit the east coast but three days prior it turned more towards the west.
“We had a communications plan in place with our members and residents, the majority of who had evacuated their homes, and the projected storm surge was 12-15ft. That could have completely devastated us.”
Thankfully, Irma didn’t end up being quite as bad as feared but still caused significant damage, as this drone footage from the club shows:
According to course superintendent Jimmy Alston (below), there were more than 1,500 trees down over the 18-hole facility, with staff members who had remained in the area remarkably out on the course the next day to begin the salvage operation.
The recovery operation was also boosted by the fact it was in the midst of renovation works by local architect Gordy Lewis, whose team immediately went from construction to major disaster clean-up and recovery mode.
And if you think the hurricane would have a negative impact on interest in homes on the piece of real estate, which is a short drive from the city of Naples, you couldn't be more wrong.
"You'd think interest in coming here would have slowed," added Hill. "But we are gearing into high season with three properties and one non-resident membership sold this month and a waiting list of 22 renters for this season.
"The enhancements that have been completed total $2m over the past three years and recent damend shows us buyers are embracing those changes. It's been a summer we will never forget - but what is rewarding is finally hearing our members say how good the course is looking and playing."