by Jeff Skinner
Last Sunday I opted to pass on the sickening ritual of watching the New York Jets imitate an NFL football team and along with some friends played Bethpage Black on Long Island. Little did we realize that we may have played one of the last rounds of the season on the home of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens.
Hurricane Sandy devastated sections of Long Island and as thousands of people struggle to put their lives back together the local golf course superintendents face the daunting task of recovering their golf courses. Courses in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland have all felt the wrath of Sandy and it will be a long time before they can recover.
Bethpage State Park lost over 600 trees, 100 on The Black alone, but was spared significant turf grass damage but that can’t be said for iconic courses like Maidstone and Fishers Island. Liberty National, home of next year’s Barclays Championship had many new water hazards added by Sandy and the home of next year’s PGA Championship, Oak Hill way up in Rochester even had some tree damage.
With all the damage, loss of life and economic impact by Sandy, I know golf courses are way down the list of priorities and many of the employees at these courses have suffered with significant personal loss.
But golf is big business in this area and these courses fuel a big economic engine. It will be some time before they can get the courses back to where they were before Sandy. Click on the links for more pictures and stories on Sandy’s effect on golf in the area.