Cars dotted the parking lot, while a line of golf carts formed outside the pro shop.
Hurricane Irma’s damage to The River Club and the Legacy Golf Club, two Lakewood Ranch golf courses, was minimal.
The two courses were among several open for play Wednesday as Manatee County continues the cleanup, power restoration and return to normalcy in the wake of Irma, which brought gusting winds and rain as it barreled past Florida’s Suncoast late Sunday and early Monday.
“We were lucky,” Legacy general manager Kevin Paschall said. “When it moved east, it obviously missed this part of us.”
Paschall said there was no structural damage, just fallen trees and some standing water. The total Irma recovery cost is still under an assessment process.
That course, as well as The River Club to the north, was reopened Tuesday. Paschall said they had 71 rounds on Tuesday, while The River Club produced 30 rounds, owner Mike Pascuzzi said.
“We lost power for about 15 hours,” Pascuzzi said. “The last time we had that no-name storm come through, we lost 300 trees. ... We were very, very lucky.”
The River Club saw two dozen trees fallen, though suffering minimal damage, and Pascuzzi said it will take a couple weeks to fully clean up, which will cost the course between $15,000 and $20,000.
But The River Club opened Tuesday, and not all courses in the county were spared Irma’s wrath.
Moccasin Wallow Golf Club in Palmetto doesn’t have power and saw 53 trees, 35 of which are big oaks, fall down.
“It will take about 10 days to clean up,” Moccasin Wallow Golf Club owner and head pro Noah Zelnik said.
Zelnik said they suffered food loss, sand loss from bunkers, lake erosion and minimal damage to the clubhouse. Nothing structurally was damaged to the clubhouse, Zelnik said.
The course opened in 24 hours after receiving a permit to the grounds in February, so a quick hustle to restore things isn’t out of the ordinary.
“We’re used to doing things on the fly,” Zelnik said.
Zelnik added that half of the neighborhood that is home to Moccasin Wallow Golf Club has power, with the other half still seeking a restoration from Florida Power & Light. FPL said a full restoration could take until Sept. 22.
The Bradenton city-owned River Run Golf Links was also barren on Wednesday as a pile of trees was lying in the empty parking lot near the clubhouse.
Though Manatee County does not own either Manatee County or Buffalo Creek Golf Course any longer, they do have a lease agreement with Pope Golf, the management group that runs both courses.
A county spokesperson said they are focused entirely on Irma response — power, water and sewer issues, citizen inquiries about damage — this week, and will address golf course-related questions sometime next week.
In addition to the Legacy Golf Club and The River Club being open as early as Tuesday this week, the Links at Greenfield Plantation in East Manatee County opened Wednesday after suffering minimal damage and took in 60 rounds.
Pinebrook/Ironwood Golf Club, the Preserve Golf Club at Tara, River Strand Golf and Country Club, Terra Ceia Bay Country Club and Waterlefe Golf and River Club also sustained minimal damage and are open for play.
River Wilderness Golf and Country Club, a private course in Parrish, saw 40-45 members help staff on cleanup in Irma’s wake. The course saw 20-25 big oaks fallen as well as debris, River Wilderness golf professional Pat Walsh said.
In all, though, most courses saw a big break with Hurricane Irma.
“We were very, very fortunate,” Walsh said.
In the Hurricane Irma’s aftermath, here’s the status of golf courses in Manatee County:
▪ Bradenton Country Club, closed
▪ Buffalo Creek Golf Club, closed until Friday
▪ The Concession Golf Club, closed until Monday
▪ IMG Academy Golf Club, closed until Thursday
▪ Key Royale Golf Club, closed until further notice
▪ Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club, closed until Saturday
▪ Legacy Golf Club, opened Tuesday
▪ Links at Greenfield Plantation, opened Wednesday
▪ Moccasin Wallow Golf Club, closed until further notice
▪ Peridia Golf and Country Club, closed until Friday
▪ Pinebrook/Ironwood Golf Club, opened Wednesday
▪ Preserve Golf Club at Tara, opened Wednesday
▪ Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, closed until Saturday
▪ The River Club, opened Tuesday
▪ River Run Golf Links, closed
▪ River Strand Golf and Country Club, open
▪ River Wilderness, closed until Saturday.
▪ Terra Ceia Bay Country Club, open
▪ University Park Country Club, closed
▪ Waterlefe Golf and River Club, opened Wednesday