Green Light for Greenbrier

Green Light for Greenbrier

The next round of the PGA Tour, the Greenbrier Classic, kicked off today and golfing fans the world-over, myself included, are ready to settle in and see if their fantasy picks come to fruition.

As we gear up excitedly though, the people of West Virginia are reflecting on the devastation that wrought their state just over twelve months ago.

I was saddened to read about the natural disaster that came quickly and without warning. It only took four hours before heavy unrelenting rain caused the waters of Howard’s Creek to flood the Snead, Greenbrier and Meadows courses as well as the historic Old White.

The Greenbrier’s Vice President, Burt Baine, hadn’t dreamed of the damage that would unfold.

He watched on in horror as the ferocious rain took hold of everything in its path and started picking the resort and golf courses apart piece by piece.

“Roofs failed, gutters failed, water was coming down through chandeliers, light fixtures and elevator shafts” Baine said.

Little was left untouched by the natural disaster that shook the town. All that remained of courses renowned for their quality and beauty were ruined greens and sad piles of debris strewn across now unusable grounds.

“We had vehicles and parts of houses and things of all sorts all over the golf courses,” Baine said. “They described it as a one-in-a-thousand-year event,”

Baine said the incident seemed “surreal” at first but “then it starts to sink in that you're not going to be playing golf for a while on these courses, and we're essentially out of business.”

In a further blow to the town the Greenbrier Classic was cancelled. But of course the unimaginable damage to the golf courses and resort was nothing compared to the wider effects on the state.

I was inspired though by the reaction of the community and their ability to band together. The PGA Tour and golf community in particular rallied around those who had been hardest hit and all in all a whopping $4 million was raised.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and his wife Angie donated an incredible $250,000 after witnessing the devastation first hand.

Through community support like this and a lot of strength and hard work, things are slowly returning to normal in White Sulphur Springs.

The rebuild of the courses is now complete but by all accounts it has been a hard and expensive slog.

This really struck a chord with me as it is helping clients dodge these kind of scenarios and financial pitfalls that drive me in my work at Golf Business Australia every day.

Obviously natural disasters of this kind are unavoidable but you can limit the financial burden they place on you and ensure that you don’t have to go back to square one by seeking out the right financial services and advice.

Thankfully the folks at Greenbrier have clawed their way back and the community is excited to share in the thrill of hosting the prestigious PGA Tour once again.

“We will never forget the loss of our neighbours, lives and property, but we do have to move on, and I think the tournament this year will be a big moment for this whole community because they will be able to say, okay, we did it,” says Baine.

“We're back. We're back on the PGA TOUR.”


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