As a golf course maintenance contractor, IGM always works collaboratively with course owners, management companies, and homeowners’ associations. When disaster strikes, those relationships are even more valuable. Serving golf courses across the country, IGM has preparedness plans for various weather or water situations, but the aftermath of these events varies.

Throughout the preparation and recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian, IGM’s partners have pitched in to support our maintenance efforts, as well as our crews.  The impact of Hurricane Ian on IGM’s Florida golf courses in its path ranged from minimal debris to complete devastation. In spite of our hurricane preparedness plan, Hurricane Ian’s path changed track quickly over a short time. Southwest Florida had expected to fall within rain bands, but with barely a day’s notice, the area faced a direct hit of a category 4 hurricane. Meanwhile, golf courses on Florida’s east coast dealt with tornadoes spinning off from the storm. 

IGM Executive Vice President Greg Plotner noted, “We are always concerned for our employees’ health and safety. Part of our preparation is ensuring they are ready, personally, but we didn’t have a lot of warning for Hurricane Ian when it changed course.”

Riverside Golf Club in Ruskin, FL, reported minimal damage, with a few trees down and lots of debris. 

In Delray Beach, tornadoes skipped across the Kings Point Golf and Country Club property, ripping off the second story of condos and depositing the trusses onto the golf course. Windows popped and cars were overturned. The course also lost a lot of vegetation. 

At both courses, the superintendents expressed appreciation for the clubhouse and operations employees who pitched in to assist in preparing the courses for play by picking up such things as shingles and other debris. The joint efforts along with residents within their communities have allowed quicker clean up and faster reopening. 

However, the story was quite different, and devastating, in Punta Gorda, which took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian. Superintendent Eric Miller of Blue Heron Pines Golf Course experienced overwhelming losses to the golf course, as well as to his home. Miller is grateful to IGM and to Sun Communities for the way they’ve stepped up to help, even helping him find a place to stay. “It’s all good. We’re through the worst part,” he said only a week after the hurricane. 

Miller said he and his crew returned to the golf course on Friday, after the storm swept through on Wednesday. “We lost nearly every tree, including a lot of large majestic old oaks. The course will never be the same. My team spent the first couple of days just clearing paths through the debris to get around. On Monday, Sun Communities came out in full force, bringing in contractors to help in removing the fallen trees.” 

Miller added that the Blue Heron Pines golf operations team didn’t hesitate to join the maintenance team on the course. “There was a lot of metal and shingles from houses, and the rangers started picking that up, so we could clear the fairways and start blowing and mowing. We couldn’t have done it without them.” 

Through it all, Miller says IGM has been completely supportive. “My team is small, and we all had damage. We’ve been juggling hours to make sure everyone can take care of their families while we get all this work done.” Miller expects to reopen the back nine of Blue Heron Pines on November 1, if good weather holds. 

Plotner expressed gratitude for the dedication of his employees and for the strong relationships with IGM’s clients. “In a situation like this, everyone comes together to get the job done and to take care of each other.”

IGM provides complete golf course maintenance services in markets across the U.S. The company is committed to agronomic excellence and environmentally conscious methods and products. To request a consult, please contact Greg Plotner, Executive Vice President, 407-589-7200. Additional information may be obtained by visiting IGM’s website at golfmaintenance.com.