Like everyone else in the area, Mike Augustin took stock of the damage. What he found was, "It could have been worse."
Augustin is the golf course superintendent at Belle Haven Country Club. Cheerfully optimistic despite several setbacks over the past 14 months due to major renovations and reconstruction of the golf course, Augustin talked as he surveyed the waterlogged fairways. With his pants covered with mud, shouting orders into his radio, he kept up the good fight in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.
Plagued by heavy snows, miserably wet spring and summer, and now a storm surge from the nearby Potomac River, Belle Haven resignedly keeps postponing the reopening of the course.
Acting General Manager Richard Davis, speaking on Sept. 23, the morning after a squall dumped even more rain on the club, thought the course might open on Oct. 11. But as of Sept. 29, the club has yet to make a decision on an opening date. We’ll just have to see," said Steve Danielson, head pro at the club.
Danielson and Augustin both said that the flooding, which drove hundreds from their homes in the adjacent New Alexandria and Belle View communities, rendered the course’s main pumping station inoperable. Unable to find available rental pumps until several days later, the course remained flooded for days. Once the standing water was pumped out, a good deal of grass died from a thick covering of sediment from the river water.
DOWN RIVER, Mount Vernon Country Club sustained only minor damage from wind and rain. "We lost about 20 trees, said General Manager Bill Sawin, "and all of our creeks overflowed, leaving debris everywhere."
Mount Vernon is about ready to start its own renovations, which will include an expansion of its clubhouse this winter and minor changes to its golf course next fall.
Assistant Superintendent Tony Blevins at Pohick Bay Golf Course said that his course lost some trees but escaped with little damage.