Hurricane Joaquin drenched Kiawah Island and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last weekend, but the courses at two of the state's most popular golf destinations are already on the path to recovery. If you've got a golf trip scheduled to either place, don't give up that tee time just yet.
Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday reported on its Web site that more than 30 courses were expected to open today with others coming back online throughout the week. Fall is peak season, and the Grand Strand's 100-plus courses want players to know that the region will be ready for their business by the weekend, if not sooner.
"It's scary, it's unsettling. This was unlike a hurricane. It was prolonged, the volumes of water," said Bill Golden, president of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday. "We saw water where we have never seen it before. You worry about your home and the neighborhood and the roads. It has been amazing how quickly we rebounded. We were lucky. There has been significant flooding in the midlands. It was a long 48 hours."
The National Weather Service indicated parts of Georgetown, S.C., near Myrtle Beach, endured up to 21 inches of rain and parts of Pawleys Island on the south end of the Grand Strand saw as much as 17 inches from Thursday into Monday, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
It's likely many courses will be cart path only until they dry out further. There will also be issues with standing water in low spots and in bunkers at some courses. Few facilities, however, suffered any significant damage. King's North Course at Myrtle Beach National will be closed for several extra days to repair a washed out section of cart path, according to the Sun News.
Golden said he won't know the economic impact of the storm for several weeks. A lot of it depends how quickly golfers come back. After a wet spring, area operators were hoping for a strong fall to make up for that shortcoming.
"I have been here 20 years," Golden said. "It was similar to Hurricane Floyd (in 1999) in terms of water. I've heard comments regarding (this being) a thousand-year storm. That is what this was being compared to. It seems to be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence."
Kiawah Island Golf Resort Director of Public Relations Mike Vegis indicated most resort facilities were opened by October 7th and that four of the five golf courses at the resort will be opened on October 8th.
"All and all, considering we had 24 inches of rain over 72 hours, we fared fairly well," he wrote in an e-mail.
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