The combined efforts of Coral Ocean Golf Resort’s staff, management, and several of their hotel guests is the reason why the 18-hole golf facility in Koblerville opened in less than a month after Saipan was hit hard by Typhoon Soudelor.
“It was all a joint effort. Even our hotel guests were happy to join in since they already wanted to play golf on the course,” COP sales and marketing manager Taewon “Willy” Park told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
“Our guests were happy and appreciated how they were taken cared of when the typhoon came. That’s why as a show of gratitude, they helped in clearing the golf course of the debris,” he added.
Park said that at least 80 people were at the COP hotel during the typhoon. “They were the ones who volunteered to help.”
“The winds were also not that strong in the south side of Saipan, in Koblerville, that’s why the golf course had minimal damage. It took us one month to clear all the debris.”
Golf course supervisor Max Concepcion added that around 100 trees on the golf course either fell or were uprooted.
“These are some of the big trees around the golf course. Two days after the typhoon we started the clean up and clearing operations. That’s why after almost a week, we managed to partially open holes 1 to 9,” said Concepcion.
“It took us another two weeks to clear the entire golf course and we opened the entire 18 holes after one month. We also have our own crew that helps in maintaining the golf course,” he added.
“We even rented a backhoe for clearing the big trees and we also managed to put up 95 of the trees that fell down but there were few which couldn’t be saved.”
“The golf course lost around $20,000 in revenue in the one month that we were closed. But slowly, the local and tourist players are coming back,” said Park.
“An average of 80 play during weekdays and we’re busy during weekends with the local golf associations, tourists, and other individuals.”
Park added that November would be a peak season for COP as they are expecting a huge jump in tourist arrivals from China, Japan, and Korea.
“It is already winter there and they could not play golf. We expect them to come to Saipan to play, especially the avid golfers. Saipan has the perfect weather and climate, no typhoons during the month of November.”
The Larry Nelson-designed, par-72 layout was constructed on the seaside of Agingan Point, Saipan’s southern coastline. It opened in 1988 and is just a few minutes away from the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport.
Hole No. 14 is also adjacent to Saipan’s rocky coastline that offers a view of Tinian and the Philippine Sea as backdrop. COP’s 18-hole golf facility is also known to be the longest golf course on Saipan.