Coral Oaks Golf Course open for business
Coral Oaks Golf Course was back up and welcoming players last Sunday, just one week after Hurricane Irma stormed through all of Florida.
“We had 35 trees down and debris was strewn everywhere,” said Coral Oaks Director of Golf Allen Manguson. “There were trees blocking the entrance. When I first looked at it I thought we would be down for a long time, three weeks or a month.”
Manguson and a small crew of employees set about clearing the course with the crew swelling to nine by Wednesday.
“We got way less than golf courses down south,” Manguson said. “We had a contract hauler cutting up the trees and the rest of us used blowers on the greens and went down the centerline blowing everything to the side.”
The driving range and Knickers Pub were open on Saturday. The 18-hole course saw its first play last Sunday.
“I’m proud of the way the guys responded to get it ready so quickly,” said Magnuson. “I wanted to open it not so much for the revenue, but the let people get their mind off the storm.”
Many piles remain along the course and Magnuson estimates it will take about a month to remove all debris.
“The blowers made a big difference to clear it off so we can mow,” Magnuson said.
The course has been undergoing a major renovation for the last several months, so players had to use temporary greens.
“We’re going to have our grand opening on Oct. 7 followed by a Patriot Tournament on Oct. 14, said Magnuson. “Then the City Championship Tournament comes up Oct. 21-22. I think the course will be clear by then.”
A golf member who lives on the course told Magnuson he never lost power or cable TV during the storm.
“I don’t think the course lost power either,” Magnuson said. “We were very lucky.”
Comparing the damage from Irma to previous storms, Magnuson said it’s not even close.
“We lost over 300 trees to Hurricane Charley, so it was much worse,” he said.