Hurley golf course plagued by lightning strikes

HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - Workers at a Jackson County owned golf course say this hasn't been their best summer. Over the past few months, Whispering Pines Golf Course in Hurley has been plagued with lightning strikes resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. Crews said severe weather has become a severe strain on their budget.

Friday's straight line winds left behind a mess of limbs and debris for crews to clear from the greens.

"It's Saturday and all of us were scheduled to be off today, but we're here to work," said Superintendent Heath Bilbo. "We've had to work over in the evenings trying to keep the course open and repaired and keep it clean and presentable for our customers."

High wind wasn't the only issue. Lightning also caused major problems.

"My sprinkler heads are electrically controlled and lightning has actually hit the sprinkler head itself yesterday and took out seven heads in one lightening strike," said Bilbo. "A lot of our underground wire has been destroyed."

Officials say Mother Nature has given them one challenge after another in recent months. Lightning struck just two weeks ago.

"It's been worse than usual. We usually have 15 lightning strikes here in the summer. Total summer. And we've surpassed that already this summer," Bilbo said. "A surge of lightning come in our power system and it destroyed approximately 18 chargers and 18 carts. Then the last storm that we had [Friday] yesterday five cars and three chargers that we lost."

Whispering Pines is county-owned, but officials say the course operates strictly from fees charged to golfers.

Bilbo said, "Our budget here is not a very good budget. This summer total so far between carts, chargers, and irrigation problems from lightning probably $18,000 worth of damage at least."

Workers said they're hoping to get through the rest of the summer without another lightning strike.

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