A “tornado-like” system ripped through the property’s two 18-hole golf courses in July, bringing down large trees, damaging bunkers, and uprooting irrigation pipes. Both golf courses are now open, though storm cleanup is ongoing and the cost is still being tallied, with the bunkers alone estimated at $1.5 million.
Cleanup and repairs continue at the Indian Wells (Calif.) Golf Resort where both 18-hole courses are open again following a July storm that took down “monstrous” trees, damaged bunkers and uprooted irrigation pipes, the Palm Springs, Calif.-based Desert Sun reported.
“The front nine of the Celebrity course had the most damage,” General Manager Steve Rosen told City Council members on Thursday.
Both of the city-owned courses were closed immediately after a July 31 storm that delivered a downdraft to the area around the Indian Wells Golf Resort and the Palm Desert Country Club. Some described the system as tornado-like the way it whipped through, uprooting trees, snapping power poles, ripping shingles from rooftops and flinging them into neighbors’ yards while leaving thousands without power, the Desert Sun reported.
Councilman Doug Hanson visited the course after the storm to survey the damage. “What I saw made me feel like I had just gone through a tornado in Kansas, because that’s what it looked like,” Hanson said.
The Players course was closed the day after the storm only, while the Celebrity course reopened just last week, Rosen said. “We’re about 95 percent through the cleanup,” he said.
The cost of the repairs and cleanup is still being tallied, Rosen said. But Hanson said it could cost up to $1.5 million just to repair the bunkers. Everything is being covered by insurance, including any trees that may not be replaced, Finance Director Kevin McCarthy said. At the insurance company’s request, an arborist has been brought in to examine the trees, with some already replaced, the Desert Sun reported.
Tree replacement is a priority with golfer safety first, Rosen said. Some trees deflect errant balls and keep them from hitting golfers on crossing fairways, the Desert Sun reported.
“We have a very limited time opportunity here because on September 27, we close the Players course for overseeding,” shifting all play to the Celebrity course, he said.
Mayor Ty Peabody urged that trees on the 5th and 15th holes be given priority, saying they are “critical to the holes. They make or break the golf course.”
Councilman Ted Mertens said the downed trees have opened up the views of the mountains. “There are some vistas now that we didn’t have before, and maybe we should utilize these,” he said. “I know the urge is probably to get it done by season, but take your time. Let’s do it right.”
The 18-hole Championship course at the Palm Desert Country Club suffered an estimated $200,000 in damage and was also closed right after the storm. All 18 holes have been open for play for a while now, course General Manager Wilf Weinkauf said Friday.
“The course is in great shape after the cleanup and looks great,” Weinkauf said. However, the course will close again at the end of the month for overseeding, the Desert Sun reported.