Monsoon Storms Damage Courses In The Southwest

By Brian Whitlark, agronomist, Southwest Region
September 4, 2013

Staff members at Camelback Golf Club pump water from flooded golf course areas following a monsoon storm on July 21, 2013.

Powerful thunderstorms storms hitting several golf facilities in southern Arizona, Albuquerque, N.M., and Palm Springs, Cal., within the past two months have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. The summer thunderstorm, or ‘monsoons,’ can produce 60 mph or higher winds resulting in downed trees and damaged roofs. The storms often are accompanied by heavy downpours causing localized flooding as well as thunder and lightning that can damage irrigation components and pump stations. The following tips will help prepare your facility before and after a damaging storm event.

  • The most important tip is planning - Plan for a damaging storm by taking photos of the turf-care facility and all its components. Take photos of equipment, the pump station and all features on the golf course. Prepare a tree inventory with important characteristics such as species, age, health, size and location.
  • Capture plenty of photos after the storm - These photographs will be critical to compare to photos taken before the storm when making a case for an insurance claim.
  • Document all aspects of the cleanup effort - Track labor hours (as well as taxes and benefits) dedicated to storm recovery. Document costs for equipment rental and contract labor and services and sod replacement.
  • Communicate with the golf staff – Alert golf shop staff regarding the status of the golf course and decide if temporary closure is needed. Furthermore, communicate to golf officials and staff that detail work on the golf course may not be completed as usual during the storm cleanup effort and will likely take twice as long to catch up once the staff resumes their normal duties.

Above all else, be safe, be smart and have a plan before the next storm hits your facility.

Source: Brian Whitlark (

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