After a June 3 lightning strike hit the clubhouse at Riverwood National Golf Course in Otsego, golfers were hoping the season wasn’t, well, up in smoke.
But the Riverwood staff has scrambled (sorry) to make the season a good one, moving the pro shop into the golf shop and running all operations out of the building that wasn’t struck by a bolt of bad luck.
“The course is in great shape,” manager/owner Chris Sauer told patrons via social media shortly after the incident. “And Father’s Day is right around the corner, so we’re ready to roll.”
Instructor Steve Fessler, the resident PGA professional at Riverwood, has been busy on the range. Fessler and Sauer have teamed up on the course since 2014, bringing the executive course (Vintage) and championship course back from the brink.
Elk River Fire and Albertville Fire were both called to the course on June 3 after a morning storm brought lightning to the area. One bolt struck the roof, reports said, of the main building on the Riverwood grounds. That put a hole in the building and started a fire in the upper rafters, which smoldered until first-responders got to the scene.
A groundsperson cutting grass on a nearby green saw the lightning strike and immediately called 911. Flames were evident shortly after the strike, reports said.
Chief Eric Bullen of Albertville fire and the AFD team used a special insulation vacuum, purchased with assistance from the Wright County Fire Chief’s Association, to remove piles of insulation from the attic of the building.
Sauer told the Elk River Star News last week he believes the entire roof will need to be replaced in the main building. That facility also houses wedding receptions and other events. Many of those will need to be postponed. Golf events will proceed as planned.
For tee times, golfers should book online while the phone system is still “recovering” from the storm.