A tornado tore a path Saturday from the ocean in North Myrtle Beach to U.S. 17 bypass, and Surf Golf and Beach Club resident Chris Betz recounted how the twister ripped through his yard that is to the left of the golf course’s first tee box.
He believes the tornado went through his yard just before daybreak while he and his family were sleeping. He was at home with his wife, Danielle, and their two children ages 5 and 7.
“I heard a real loud kind of screech, sounded like a freight train going by,” Betz said. About 30 minutes later he heard a loud bang, which he believes was a transformer exploding when a large oak tree fell across power lines.
“We looked out and saw the tree in the pool,” Betz said. “We actually had thrown all our [metal] pool furniture in the pool. Somehow the storm, tornado, pulled the pool furniture out of the pool and threw it about 50 yards through the back fence, which was pretty incredible.”
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The pool is only about 10 feet behind his house, which amazingly incurred only minor damage to the roof and gutters. His car port is damaged from a tree that fell on it, a brick wall behind the home was knocked over and numerous trees at the front and back of his house were toppled, including some large oaks.
“It’s not like they just kind of fell over or a piece of them came down,” Betz said. “The majority of them have the roots completely ripped right out of the ground. The ones that don’t have the roots ripped out of the ground, this thing just kind of buzz-sawed its way through and took what it could. It’s definitely a sight to see.”
Betz said he and his family feel blessed to have avoided injury or more structural damage.
“We feel super fortunate. The fact that we almost slept through it, there was really no concern,” Betz said. “… Even though it’s extremely sad for us to see these 100-plus year old live oak trees and the golf course damaged, we feel super fortunate that we’re here and we can always rebuild.”
The semi-private Surf Club reopened less than two weeks ago after renovations to its greens.
The 56-year-old George Cobb design’s first hole, a 493-yard dogleg-left par 5, will now be a lot more reachable in two shots after the large trees at the dogleg were all wiped out by the tornado and Hurricane Matthew. Several more trees on the hole were also felled.
“This hole will be completely different now for somebody who hits it a little bit farther,” Betz said. “… It’s a short par-5 but angled so that you have to kind of make a choice. But now with a lot of the trees gone on the whole left side of that corner, it kind of makes the decision a little bit easier of what to do on the tee box.”