Damage done at Winged Foot Golf Club

Just a month shy of the 2020 U.S. Open, the host venue was hit with tree loss and a prolonged power outage courtesy of Tropical Storm Isaias.


Winged Foot US Open damage
Photos courtesy of Stephen Rabideau

Winged Foot Golf Club, which will welcome the 2020 U.S. Open in five weeks, will be in repair mode for the near future after the Mamaroneck, N.Y., property sustained significant damage from Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Stephen Rabideau, CGCS, director of golf courses at Winged Foot, says approximately 20 trees were toppled throughout the 36-hole facility, and the storm left the grounds strewn with branches big and small. The West Course, which will host the U.S. Open beginning Sept. 17, received the brunt of the tree damage.

The club lost power on Tuesday, Aug. 4, and was without it until Monday, Aug. 10 (although golfers were able to resume play at Winged Foot beginning last Friday, Aug. 7). According to The New York Times, 2.5 million users lost power in the wake of Isaias. Rabideau told GCM on Friday that the club was using generators to power its pump stations and irrigation system, and that several generators were necessary to cover the entire property.

Isaias began gaining steam in the Mamaroneck area around lunchtime on Aug. 4, Rabideau says.

“We knew a tropical storm was coming, and most of the rain went west of us,” he says. “We lost trees. Some snapped in half. We have branches down. We’d taken out a lot of bad trees since 2012, and we had done a bunch of pruning more recently, but nothing is going to stop winds near 70 mph. We were ravaged.”

Editor’s note: Stephen Rabideau, architect Gil Hanse and other stakeholders discuss pulling off a massive renovation of Winged Foot Golf Club, all under the watchful eye of an involved membership and on a strict timeline leading up to the 2020 U.S. Open.

Rabideau lives just 3 miles from the club and says his drive in early last Wednesday morning was made difficult by downed trees and their remnants. Although Winged Foot and homes on adjacent streets in Rabideau’s neighborhood lost power, Rabideau’s own home never did.

Post-Isaias sights at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., about 30 miles north of New York City:

Winged Foot Isaias damage
Isaias damage Winged Foot
Winged Foot damage
Winged Foot tree damage
Isaias damage golf course

Rabideau and his staff have remained in cleanup mode this week, and the 26-year GCSAA member says the team’s focus is on repairing sod in places where trees were lost.

With winds in excess of 70 mph, Isaias was the worst storm to hit the region since Superstorm Sandy in fall 2012.

Yet the day following the big storm, the sun was out in Mamaroneck. And Rabideau is seeing the bright side. “At least this is better than if it had happened the week of the championship,” he says.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.