Some golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area were flooded during Hurricane Matthew when nearby rivers swelled, but after the waters subsided, cleanup was quick.
All Myrtle Beach area courses are open except for one, which sustained damage to the clubhouse.
“Right now, the effects of the storm are gone. It’s a distant memory, other than a few tree stumps,” said Bill Golden, head of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. “The courses are in great shape and the weather is phenomenal. We waited until the storm had gone through to assess the whole area—who had what damage, which courses were cart-path-only. The superintendents did a great job of cleaning up, and now we’re up to speed, grateful there wasn’t a worse impact, and trying to relay that to the public.”
While most courses opened within a week or so, the low-lying front nine holes at The Witch were underwater. Course officials needed a kayak to inspect the damage.
That makes the recovery even more remarkable, said General Manager Graham Williams. “Once the water went down, the biggest task was just cleaning up [and] we couldn’t do that until that happened,” he said. “The bunkers were also underwater, so that took a few days. But we didn’t have to do anything major. That Bermuda [grass] is pretty resilient.”
While its sister courses reopened a few days after Matthew, workers concentrated on cleaning up The Witch, which opened back up Nov. 3. Beyond some debris piles on the course’s edges, little remains to suggest the extent of the storm’s impact.
“The weather was the best thing for the course,” Williams said. “Once the water receded, it was in the 70s and windy, and warm at night. The ground dried out so we were able to mow the course quickly.”
The week of Nov. 6, the three “Mystical Golf” courses played host to a tour by golf writers from across the U.S. and Canada. Williams said the flooding delayed over-seeding of the course, but otherwise The Witch is back to normal.
“Traffic is back up,” he said. “We still get a few calls wanting to know if the front nine is open, but most [locals] know now. We’ve been pretty busy, people are coming down [from the Midwest and Northeast], and we’re getting good play.”