Good News: Bacon Park staff digs out from under storm damage

Good News: Bacon Park staff digs out from under storm damage

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - There were a few more obstacles to scoring at Bacon Park on Tuesday with some downed trees still near rough lines.

Just don't call them hazards, not after what Hurricane Matthew did to this golf course, which was almost unrecognizable after the storm.

"We had 198 trees down, we had five greens that were underwater for three days, we had trees on greens," said Fred Elmgren, Bacon Park's head golf professional. "According to the city, the pump station at DeRenne, which is the largest pump station in the city, pumped 1.5 billion gallons of water onto this golf course."

Yet the Bacon Park staff, working alone as soon as they were able to access the course, was able to get nine holes open within five days.

All 18 holes were open 10 days later and the course was in shape for the Tuesday Senior Blitz to return in full Tuesday.

"Starting on the Wednesday after the storm and for the next 10 days, we had 18 people out here working sun up to sunset," said Elmgren. "We were determined to get 18 holes open. This is a golf course and people needed a little diversion and we needed to have it open."

And the public course golfers who rely on Bacon Park as a place to play, say the course more than endured the storm.

"Oh it's great," said Bob Jurinko, who traveled from Bluffton to play in the Senior Blitz. "These greens are putting like Augusta. It's really fast and smooth."

"Compared to what it was like before," added Bacon Park golfer Tyrone Lonon, "except for the rough and the trees, it's in pretty good shape."

Jurinko said he hit three shots into the trees and branches that are alongside some holes and did not find his ball. But didn't mind that much.

"I guess that's part of the game now," he said.

It will take the Bacon Park crew months to remove all the debris from the property.

But there did not appear to be any permanent damage on a day when business at the course was pretty much as usual.

"The good Lord blessed us," said Elmgren. "Because we are here, we are open and we are accepting people every 10 minutes to play golf. We'll talk about Hurricane Matthew, but you won't see any evidence of it."

And there won't always be those convenient excuses for lost balls.

The Savannah City Amateur Championship - Bacon Park's signature tournament - had to be rescheduled because of Matthew. It will be played the first weekend in December. Registration is now open.

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