As flood waters begin to recede, many business owners get their first look at the true extent of the damage. One of the most difficult properties to restore are golf courses, which rely on smooth terrain and dry walkways to generate income. Attorney Bill Voss explores the specific problems faced by Texas property owners after a golf course is flooded, as well as why it may be difficult to get proper payment on these claims.
The Costs of Restoring a Flooded Golf Course
One of the major reasons golf courses are hit hard after a major storm is because of their location. Many courses are built in floodplains, and are designed to act as runoffs to direct water away from city centers and populated areas. While this can be helpful and even lifesaving for people who live nearby, it often results in high levels of standing water that can take weeks to drain—making it impossible for owners to reopen until the grounds are dry.
Some of the most common restoration costs of flood damage include:
- Flood water removal. It’s not unusual for waters to cover greens, holes, and tee boxes, with some courses holding over six feet of standing water. All of this runoff will have to be pumped out and properly removed in order to avoid re-flooding.
- Washing the greens. After the water has been removed, the greens and pathways must be washed to remove silt, mud, and debris, a process that can take days or weeks depending on the size of the course.
- Slippery terrain. Water, mud, and grass left on the grounds can make all areas extremely slippery, requiring fans and grit to restore traction. Walking paths may need to be re-graveled or require paving to avoid future losses.
- Sprinklers and pipes. Floods may damage the existing irrigation system, costing thousands of dollars to install new irrigation controllers.
- Sand losses. Sand on the courses and in the bunkers is typically washed away during flooding and will need to replaced.
- Golf carts. Carts that were not secured or were damaged due to standing water must be repaired or replaced.
- Lakes and water features. Flood waters can do significant damage to existing water features, washing away fish in ponds and tearing the liners in irrigation lakes. This may result in the need to drain water features to make dry repairs.
- Landscaping. High winds during a storm can cause tree limbs or even whole trees to fall, causing damage as they are carried along by moving flood waters.
- Bunkers. Sheds, bunkers, and other outbuildings damaged by flood waters may have structural problems or mold growth that will need to be treated.
Getting Your Insurer to Cover Flood Damage Losses
Whether you have a small family-owned course or host the U.S. Open, the restoration of your course will depend on your insurance coverage. Owners should carefully examine the limits and exceptions spelled out in their policies, and should examine whether they are entitled to:
- Payment for business and personal property at replacement cost.
- Business interruption coverage.
- Plumbing, heating, and machinery repair.
- Increased costs of construction, building codes, and local ordinance upgrades.
- Planting of new trees, plants, and shrubs.
- Debris removal services and limitations.
- Coverage for pollution clean-up costs.
- Cleaning costs for above- and below-ground storage tanks.
- Business income coverage for tournaments rescheduled or canceled due to weather events.
As outdoor entertainment areas, golf courses rely on protection from insurance companies to recover from adverse weather events. Unfortunately, some insurers will do everything they can to deny or underpay claims, causing major financial losses for owners. A balky insurance company can even result in the total loss of the course.
If you purchased a flood policy and your insurer is attempting to deny your claim, fill out the form on this page today to contact the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Top 10 Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make When Filing Your Insurance Claim.