Editor's note: This piece was written by GCSAA field staff Northeast region representative Kevin Doyle.
Nearly seven months had passed between visits at Inwood Country Club. My last call had come exactly one week after Hurricane Sandy had devastated the East Coast.
The story of Inwood Country Club had achieved the worst possible scenario for our industry. The golf course entirely under salt water, maintenance building completely flooded, all equipment ruined and the home and all personal belongings of GCSAA Class A superintendent Kevin Stanya a total loss. Sandy was a natural disaster of epic proportions, and at least one of our own took a direct hit.
There would be others. On November 6, 2012, despite the sun shining, there was a dark cloud over Long Island and it seemed to be thickest atop Inwood Country Club.
Fast forward seven months. The dark clouds are no longer fictional; with nearly six inches of rain in a scant four days, they actually are hovering over Inwood. However, that only helps to accentuate the silver lining (see images above, a before and after look at Inwood). The grey turf is now green. The 130 trees uprooted by the hurricane are no longer on site. The devastated maintenance building and office are filled with shiny new equipment. Stanya and the leadership at Inwood chose to fight back with the vigor that emulates the long standing tradition of the club, and are clearly winning the fight.
"The members now understand how fragile the situation is, and what it costs to come back from a disaster," Stanya, a 16-year GCSAA member, says. "They want to protect what we have now." An outside contractor will perform the work, atypical for Inwood as most of the projects are usually completed in-house.
Stanya is in a better place personally as well. He no longer lives in Long Beach, the site of his home lost during the hurricane. While the new home he and his longtime girlfriend share is no longer a chip shot to the ocean, which he loved, he unknowingly purchased a home next to a long-time childhood friend. "We played hockey together for 15 years growing up. He’s changed a little bit, but recognized my name as soon as I introduced myself," Stanya says.
Of his new situation, he claims, "It’s awesome, (the neighbors) kids come in and out of my house now like they live there."
I was also made aware that the shop isn’t the only place there will be new hardware before long, but please don’t tell his girlfriend!
Sandy has long since been forgotten as new issues, weather or otherwise, take over the headlines. Golf on Long Island continues the fight back to pre-hurricane standards. Just as the "Long Island Express" storm of 1938 found its way to the back of residents' minds (if not completely out), the hope is Hurricane Sandy of 2012 will one day do the same.