Hurricane Dorian forces closure of coastal courses from Florida to the Carolinas

Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Hurricane Dorian forces closure of coastal courses from Florida to the Carolinas

Golf

Hurricane Dorian forces closure of coastal courses from Florida to the Carolinas

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Hurricane Dorian, the Category 5 storm that has pummeled parts of the Bahamas on Sunday and Monday, has forced the closure of golf resorts and operations all along the southeastern coast of the United States.

Among those businesses impacted are PGA Tour headquarters near Jacksonville, Fla., and several top-ranked courses that host Tour events. As evacuation plans differ from state to state, any golfer with travel plans this week or next should contact their resorts to confirm dates of planned reopening.

Forward progress of the storm stalled Monday over Freeport in the Bahamas, according to the National Weather Service, but Dorian is expected to start moving to the northeast over the next several days. That projected path of the storm brings the coastlines of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina into play this week. Hundreds of golf operations, large and small, lie within the possible path along more than 800 miles of coast.

State officials have called for the mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas along most of that coastline.

The National Weather Service’s projected path of Hurricane Dorian, as of 11 a.m. Monday

Some of the larger operations to have temporarily closed include Kiawah Island Golf Resort near Charleston, S.C., which will assess conditions on Sept. 5 to see when the property might reopen. The property is home to the Ocean Course, No. 1 on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list of public-access courses in the state and site of the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championships and 1991 Ryder Cup.

Also temporarily closed is Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C., home each April to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage on the resort’s Harbour Town Golf Links. That course is No. 2 in the state among Best Courses You Can Play. All 15 courses included on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list for South Carolina are close to the coast stretching from Myrtle Beach southward to Hilton Head, and each potentially could be impacted by Dorian.

Sea Island in Georgia, which in November will host the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic on the Seaside Course, also is being forced to temporarily close with mandatory evacuations. That layout is ranked No. 1 in Georgia among Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play.

TPC Sawgrass in northeastern Florida, site each year of the Players Championship, closed Monday. Property managers will assess conditions Thursday to see when the No. 1 public-access course in the state might reopen. And the course wasn’t the only thing to close, as the PGA Tour’s headquarters are on the same barrier island at Ponte Vedra Beach and also were forced to temporarily close because of mandatory evacuations.

While the threat to the U.S. is real, the worst already may have been experienced in the Bahamas. Abaco took the brunt of the storm as the eye of the hurricane made landfall with winds gusting beyond 220 mph and more than 20 feet of storm surge.

Golfweek’s two highest-rated courses in the Bahamas – Bakers Bay Club at Great Guana Cay and Abaco Club on Winding Bay – were in the direct path of the storm not far from Marsh Harbour. The Abaco Club reported on Instagram that damage was “manageable,” but there has been no word from Bakers Bay Club as of Monday afternoon.

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