As Hurricane Sandy’s destructive force passed over Oceanside and the rest of Long Island, four feet of water surged out of Middle Bay, covering the rough and the green, the sand traps and the floors of the clubhouse.
The board of trustees of the Middle Bay Country Club decided to file for bankruptcy this week after surveying the damage and coming to the conclusion that the club sustained more than $3 million worth of damages in October, said General Manager Ed Closs.
“We fought to do anything we could to remain open,” Closs said. “The problem was, just like the club was hit, so was the membership. A lot of our members live in Oceanside, Island Park, Long Beach and Freeport.”
According to Closs, the entire golf course was covered by the the storm surge out of the bay. The country club lost much of the equipment, golf carts and items in the clubhouse. The pool walls were brought down by the storm surge, and many of the service buildings throughout the course were destroyed.
Closs estimated that the Club suffered $1.3 in equipment damages and the clubhouse itself suffered another $2 million in damage.
Prior to the hurricane, Middle Bay Country Club had approximately 230 members, but as of Jan. 15, the club was down to only 160 members.
“It’s just financially impossible,” Closs explained. “You need to have the members now. We’ve tried every way of looking at the financing and seeing if we can move forward and unfortunately the numbers just weren’t coming out.”
Closs said that the club had been on an upswing prior to Hurricane Sandy. The club had been attracting new members and hosting more charity events. In August, the country club had hosted the 67th annual U.S. Blind Golfers Association National Championship.
Tedd Fass, a member of the club for three years and a participant of the blind golf championship, expressed his sadness over the club’s decision to go through bankruptcy.
“It was like a big family,” said Fass, a resident of Rockville Centre. “The club was on an upswing and then mother nature came along. All the pieces of the puzzle were fitting and then boom.”
The club had raised and donated more than $100,000 to local charities in 2011, Closs said.
The country club has 50 full time employees, and 110 employees during golf season, from the beginning of May through the end of September.
Weinstein Enterprises, Inc., owns the property that the Middle Bay Country Club leased. Sal Cappuzzo, officer of the company, said that he had no comment until the bankruptcy forms were officially filed.
“It’s more than just losing a golf course,” Closs said. “It affects all the people its done business with and all the people who have used the course.”