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Mulligan: Several Grand Strand golf courses reopening after recovery from Florence

Aberdeen Golf Club and surrounding homes remain flooded by Hurricane Florence

Aberdeen Golf Club and many surrounding homes are flooded on Sept. 24, 2018.
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Aberdeen Golf Club and many surrounding homes are flooded on Sept. 24, 2018.

As the fall golf season ramps up, the Myrtle Beach market is continuing to recover from Hurricane Florence and subsequent flooding and will be near full strength by the end of this week.

Several courses have reopened over the past week and several more are scheduled to reopen this week.

TPC Myrtle Beach is reopening Tuesday, Heritage Club is reopening Tuesday for rounds already booked and Thursday for full public play, the 27-hole Brunswick Plantation’s final nine holes are reopening Tuesday, Shaftesbury Glen Golf & Fish Club is reopening Wednesday, Meadowlands Golf Club and Blackmoor Golf Club are scheduled to reopen Thursday, and Willbrook Plantation could reopen Saturday.

Courses that have fully or partially reopened over the past week include Brunswick Plantation, Crow Creek Golf Club, Carolina Shores Golf & Country Club, Lockwood Folly Country Club, Carolina National Golf Club and the Founders Club at St. James Plantation.

As was the case following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the 27-hole Aberdeen Country Club in Longs and the front nine of The Witch in Conway will remain flooded and closed for an extended period because of the Waccamaw River.

Heritage Club in Pawleys Island had reopened for a few days after Florence came through the Grand Strand the weekend of Sept. 14-16 but has been shut down for the past nine days because of flooding. Players with tee times Tuesday and Wednesday will tee off between 7:30-11 a.m. each day before the course gets back to full tee sheet availability on Thursday.

Head pro Sean Pearson said water on holes 7-9 and at a bridge near the pump house off the ninth hole have risen with the tides, but the tides should allow play Tuesday and Wednesday and the water should subside by Thursday.

Pearson said a women’s tee box on the ninth hole was the only playing area affected. “Other than that we’re in phenomenal shape,” he said.

The TPC in Murrells Inlet has been closed because of inaccessible cart paths on bridges, and the pond on the 17th hole rose onto the low portion of the green.

Meadowlands Golf Club on the N.C./S.C. border has been closed since the hurricane hit and suffered heavy flooding from the Caw Caw Creek and surrounding swampland, which all drain into the Waccamaw River.

The Caw Caw also contributed to flooding at the 27-hole Brunswick Plantation in Calabash, N.C., which will be fully operational Tuesday. The Magnolia nine reopened last Monday, the Dogwood nine reopened on Wednesday and the Azalea nine will reopen on Tuesday.

Shaftesbury Glen in Conway has been closed since Florence hit and will reopen Wednesday with 16 holes that are playable. The par-4 seventh and par-3 eighth holes are expected to reopen Friday, and two other holes will be played twice to make up for their absence until then. Holes 6-9 were impacted by flooding from a swamp that connects to the Waccamaw.

“The rest of the golf course is ready to go. We’re just waiting on this,” Shaftesbury Glen general manager Ryan McCarty said.

Blackmoor in Murrells Inlet reopened for a few days between the hurricane and flooding, but holes 4 and 10-12 are bordered by wetlands that reach the Waccamaw, and those holes and bridges over wetlands between holes 3 and 5 have been flooded. The course has been closed since last Wednesday.

Holes 5 and 6 at Willbrook in Pawleys Island have been impacted by flooding, as has a cart path near the 11th hole.

The Witch in Conway is open as a nine-hole course while its front nine drains, and the front nine is expected to remain closed at least another couple weeks.

Flooding is still severe at Aberdeen in Longs and breached the clubhouse by 5 or 6 feet, so the interior will have to be redone for the second time in three years. The kitchen equipment and merchandise were taken from the clubhouse prior to the storm, and some furniture was stacked on high tables and the bar.

Flood water was only knee-deep in the Aberdeen clubhouse following Hurricane Matthew, and the course was closed for several months following that storm.

The front nine at Crow Creek reopened Saturday to give the course its full 18 holes. The course had flooding from its namesake, Crow Creek, along holes 5-7.

Some courses in Brunswick County were hit harder by the hurricane and needed more cleanup time.

Carolina Shores outside Calabash, N.C., reopened Wednesday after removing nine trees that were felled and other debris.

Lockwood Folly in Holden Beach, N.C., reopened Friday after the cleanup of downed trees and flooded ponds.

Carolina National in Supply, N.C., opened 18 holes last Tuesday – the Egret and Heron nines – and reopened the Ibis nine on Monday.

Oak Island Golf Club lost about 150 trees during the storm and experienced some flooding and reopened on Friday. One par-4 is temporarily being played as a par-3 because of continued flooding.

St. James Plantation in Southport, N.C., which has 81 holes and is predominantly private, recently reopened the Founders Club and is still dealing with hurricane damage on the Reserve Club, Players Club and Members Club.

With the reopenings, the Grand Strand will have approximately 80 public courses open by the end of the week.

Carts are riding fairways or are 90 degrees into fairways at most locations on the Strand, including at many courses that are reopening or recently reopened.

Response for golfers

Teaching professional Darren deMaille of the Double-D Golf Academy at Tupelo Bay Golf Center is offering free lessons to those who have been first responders to Hurricane Florence or subsequent flooding.

deMaille, who is heavily involved in Adaptive Golf and the Stand Up and Play Foundation, which both assist those with physical challenges, wants to give police, firefighters and EMTs a recreational break from their efforts. He can be reached at Tupelo Bay in Garden City Beach.

Food for golf

The Mystical Golf courses of Man O War, The Wizard and The Witch are holding a food drive for the month of October.

The courses are offering a special rate of $30 plus tax for anyone providing three cans of nonperishable food. The cans will be donated to local food banks. The promotion is for the dates Oct. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30.

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