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A Haven in the Storm: Weathering Hurricanes on a Country Club Balance Sheet

March 27, 2023

Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in September 2017, was the first Category 5 hurricane of the disastrous 2017 season, which caused at least $243 billion of damage and spawned 17 named storms. At Indian Spring Country Club, located in Boynton Beach, the Concert Golf Partners team jumped into action when the storm hit, protecting members and club facilities.

“Sounds like the club will be back in full operation soon. Sorry you’ve had to deal with all of that…with our lives turned upside down, I don’t think we could have effectively dealt with that like you have.”

One of Concert Golf’s most recent partnerships is with The Club at Renaissance in Fort Myers, Florida. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in the fall of 2022, the deadliest storm to strike Florida since 1935, insurance adjusters were overwhelmed and clean-up crews were hard to find. The club’s principal owner, Rodney Poole, was trying to get a structural engineer to inspect his house to see if it was even salvageable – if so, he was hoping that he could get home repairs done in a year or so.

Mr. Poole and his partners at Worthington Group completed the sale of the club to Concert Golf Partners on Thursday, September 22. Ian made landfall in Fort Myers the following Wednesday, September 28. By the next day, club staff were able to secure a tree company from Georgia through Concert Golf’s extensive vendor relationships, and they were on site working just three days after the storm hit. Two additional tree and debris clearing companies from out of state were secured in the days following, and the team had the community cleaned up and the golf course cleared and reopened for play just ten days after Ian made landfall. In all, the club sustained an estimated $2.5 million in damage. The recovery effort is largely completed. To get the club reopened, Concert Golf Partners spent over $180,000 in the first 14 days and spent over $400,000 in the first 45 days. In total, Hurricane Ian caused at least $50 billion in damage, including to many country clubs across Florida.

“Our goal is to move faster than the insurance company to get the club back to full operational status. There will be no assessment of our members for the cost of the deductible or any additional expenses that occur with the improvements we make to the club.”

One of those affected clubs was another Concert Golf property, Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Florida, just an hour up the southwest Florida coast from Fort Myers. General Manager Richard Eyer announced to his members just two weeks after landfall, “This week alone we have issued checks for supplies and repairs totaling over $500,000. Concert moved quickly with corporate support and put us very far ahead of other local clubs who are still looking for funds and contractor services.” 

Both of the club’s golf courses were fully reopened on October 28, exactly one month after the storm hit. With 240 tons of Har-tru material, totaling over $400,000 delivered, tennis players were back on the courts in two weeks. According to club member Ted Hetherington, “The October 22 update you provided to the club is a superb, professional, detailed and wonderfully optimistic corporate brand statement that embraces all of the values of fiscal security and care that all of our members and former directors signed on for when we chose Concert Golf Partners. As if two years of COVID were not enough to test your management staying power, along came the devastation of Hurricane Ian last month that brought out an even higher level of your commitment to the excellent stewardship of our club.”

Just down the street, members of other clubs were waiting for their club to be cleaned up and reopened – and passing the first assessment to begin repairing the damage – a difficult task with a typical member-owned club’s budget.