Rising to the Occasion

Joe Barks, Editor, Club & Resort Business

Not surprisingly, the reports we received from Texas and Florida clubs just weeks after Harvey and Irma hit were already more about progress than pain.

As shown in the special report that we’ve prepared for the October issue’s News section (online coverage can be found here), this year’s hurricane season has been especially trying for an unusually large segment of our industry. But not surprisingly—because club managers and their staffs are among the best at being prepared to respond to any situation, and then at quickly and flawlessly executing those responses when needed—the reports that we’re getting from Texas and Florida as we went to press with the issue (just a month after Harvey hit Houston, and only weeks after Irma hit Florida and the East Coast) are already more about progress than pain.

I’ve been amazed, in fact, at the number of personal e-mails I’ve already received from managers at properties who want to share their stories of just how bad the storms were for their clubs, and of what they’ve had to go through to start the process of recovery. And they’re not reaching out to me because they’re looking for sympathy, praise or self-promotion. Rather, they know that taking the time to quickly and properly document their situations and outline the best-practice lessons they’ve learned can help provide valuable blueprints for other industry managers to use to be ready to anticipate, and react to, similar circumstances.

(We will plan to collect all of these stories and insights and present them in a special report in an upcoming issue, after all of this extreme weather, and its aftermath, has hopefully subsided for good.)

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I would also recommend that you read a blog entry that Drew Tait, Executive Chef of Kelly Greens Golf & Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla., took the time to write for us just days after Irma took aim at his club, and his home. Tait’s gripping report not only holds your attention like an adventure novel, it’s full of solid tips and is incredibly inspiring, as he describes the selfless teamwork that came together among his staff.

Just as inspiring were the reports that quickly came through about how club managers who either dodged the storms’ bullets, or were in other, unaffected parts of the country, wasted no time in rallying to support their colleagues and provide whatever help they could. Industry suppliers, and the memberships of individual clubs, also stepped up to lend valuable and tangible assistance.

Certainly, general news coverage of the storms did not give much attention to what was happening to club properties or the people who belong to them and work for them. And the fate of clubs and golf courses would probably be deemed to be low on the significance scale by most who aren’t connected with the industry. But for those of us who are, seeing what many have gone through in the past month, and how they and many others have responded, has once again been a reminder of the special qualities that distinguish those who are part of our business.