Members and guests of The Creeks at Ivy Acres, we are still recovering from the aftermath of the tornado that struck the course on July 20th and want to give you an update on the cleanup. As I am sure you have all noticed, regular communication with our players has been limited as we negotiated the incredibly difficult insurance claim process. Our frustration with the process and the detrimental effect of the delay is beyond description. This update comes to you 36 days after the Tornado devastated our property. As of today, we are still waiting for our insurance company to finish its evaluation of the loss and issue payment for the repairs. In an effort to keep the grass alive and the cleanup moving forward, management has personally invested over $50,000 to meet continuing payroll and overhead costs that don’t stop just because the business is temporarily closed.
That said, we are confident that there is money on the way to piece this mess back together, and want to give you a brief update on the following:
Goals for Re-Opening:
It is incredibly bothersome to read some of the emails, social media comments and hear voicemails from our customers that are suggesting these delays of opening are due to the owners’ unwillingness to open. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us invested in this business for short-term gains, as we had and continue to have a long-term vision to make Ivy Acres a place for great conditions, challenging play, and exceptional customer service. Prior to the tornado striking the property, The Creeks had never been stronger. We completed our event barn two weeks earlier, and we finally had events booked for this late summer/fall as well as many events for next year. This business was consistently improving, and the event barn was the “shot in the arm” that the property has been missing since the day the course opened back in 2001. That said, we are preparing to rebuild the event barn as well as the other buildings that were damaged or destroyed by the storm and are confident in our ability to return The Creeks to better condition than it was prior to the storm.
While we did purchase adequate insurance coverage for lost business revenue, it will impossible for us to fully recover from the insurance company all of the losses incurred from this tornado. The longer the course stays closed, the harder it is for us to cover the expenses that continue to accrue each day that we are not able to open. Rest assured that our goal is to reopen the golf course and supporting businesses as soon as possible! We will not, however, make irresponsible short-term poor business decisions to provide a “quick fix” to our members and guest who deserve much more. We plan to, once the insurance claim is resolved, reimburse the membership for lost access to the course for prepaid membership fees cut short by the storm.
We cannot start to repair the buildings until the 3rd party engineers retained by our insurance company determines what repairs are necessary to ensure that each building is safe for the public. There is still a strong possibility that some buildings will need to be demolished, but this will be done concurrently with the repairs. Once we receive the engineers’ reports, for which we have been waiting over two weeks, we hope to obtain payment from the insurance company that will permit us to initiate repairs. In addition to the buildings, we have golf course equipment that has been totaled, and our maintenance shop is completely leveled to the ground. As for the buildings themselves, the maintenance shop is the most important place on the golf course that you have never seen, and it most likely needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt. The event barn is missing a roof. The clubhouse, at minimum, needs a new ceiling and all new insulation. Our pump house and storage unit need new roofs. It is a lot of work, but we have a plan ready to make the repairs as soon as we receive the needed funds from our insurance company.
We had numerous people contributing to tree cleanup the day after the storm to get the course open as soon as possible. These efforts were heartwarming and encouraging but they created more hardship for the employees and owners. This work was to be paid for by the insurance company, yet no payment has been made. The owners have floated numerous payments for payroll and overhead to mitigate further damage!
The golf course has a complex irrigation system that was installed back in 2001 for $1.1 Million. This isn’t a backyard sprinkler system, as it is controlled by a network of satellite towers, control stations, and computer software programs all of which were damaged by the storm. To make matters worse, the tornado damaged our central control system which terminated our ability to automatically water the course at night. This means that we have employees hand watering the course every day until the irrigation system is repaired. As you can imagine, during the dry end of summer this is back breaking, labor-intensive work that makes this situation even worse. The owners have had to cover these labor costs in order to mitigate further loss.
The golf cart fleet suffered severe damage. Less than half of our cart fleet is in working condition right now. Roofs have been ripped off, wind shields have been damaged, and both beverage carts are totaled. Our range picker was thrown over 200 yards and is also totaled. We plan on replacing this equipment as soon as the insurance company cuts a check for their replacement.
In short, if we opened tomorrow, it would be with half of a broken golf cart fleet, no beverage carts, no range picker, half of the necessary maintenance equipment to appropriately maintain the golf course for decent playing conditions, no money to pay the staff, no clubhouse to serve food and drinks, no event barn to host outings, a broken irrigation system that requires hand watering in the middle of the day. We sincerely appreciate those of you who have been patient and supportive with us through this process. Once we complete the repairs, we fully intend on showering you with thanks and appreciation. You are the heart and soul behind The Creeks! Thank you!
The ownership group
The Creeks at Ivy Acres