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10 “Snow Brainer” Tips for Winterizing Your Club

Posted On: February 14, 2022

10 “Snow Brainer” Tips for Winterizing Your Club

While many clubs, like those in California, Arizona, or Florida for example, don’t typically have a hard winter season, others aren’t as fortunate. For clubs across the country, winter comes rolling in, bringing with it snowfall, ice, frigid temperatures, and of course, risk.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to potentially stave off property damage in the off-season. That way, when the weather is ready to welcome patrons back to the course, you’ll be ready, too. Here are 10 “snow brainer” tips for winterizing your club:

1. Conduct roof inspections.

One of the most common claims we see in the winter months is damage due to ice dams and leaky roofs. An ice dam forms when the roof warms above freezing temperatures causing snow to melt. As the water reaches the edge of the roof, however, it will refreeze. Over time, ice accumulates, creating a dam that holds water back, allowing it to pool on the roof and, eventually, cause costly damage.

A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to ice dams. Before winter arrives, hire a professional roofing contractor to check for damaged shingles, flashing, and sagging areas, as well as fix any existing leaks. Make time also to clean gutters to reduce the risk of ice dams.

There’s work to do inside, too. Attics should also be well insulated and well ventilated. Check that your attic space has between 16 and 22 inches of insulation, depending on your location. As for ventilation, the Department of Energy recommends one square foot of free ventilation opening for every 150 square feet of attic space.

If you do notice ice dams forming, resist the urge to chisel away at the ice, as it may damage your roof. The type of roofing material used will determine the best product to use, so it’s best to consult with a professional roofing company on the best course of action.

2. Properly store temporary structures. 

Outdoor tents, awnings, furniture, and other similar structures can help make your outdoor spaces inviting and fun for your patrons. And if those structures have been used throughout the golf season, it can be easy to forget they’re even there. If you do, however, you might find yourself with a costly claim on your hands.

Be sure to take down any and all temporary structures and store them away properly for the off-season. Winter isn’t kind to buildings or equipment, especially those designed only for warm weather usage. These structures will deteriorate quickly if left to the elements.

3. Light it up. 

Being a primarily seasonal business, your club might start looking good to thieves and vandals assuming it’ll be left unattended in the off-season. Consider adding motion-sensitive exterior lighting and an alarm system to prevent the theft of valuable equipment and tools from your outbuildings, and damage to your property.

Theft isn’t the only reason to add lighting, though. It’s also safer for employees and patrons. A properly lit area is a great way to prevent slips and falls, especially in icy months which tend to get darker earlier.

4. Avoid a water disaster.

If you plan to close your clubhouse or other buildings for part of the winter, think about shutting off the water supply to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. Once the water is shut off, drain the pipes by flushing the toilets and opening the faucets. Be sure to keep water supplied to any indoor fire sprinkler systems.

If you choose not to turn off the water and drain the pipes, keep your furnace set to at least 55 degrees or above. Keeping doors and cabinets open can also help prevent a potential water disaster.

Finally, consider adding water sensors to buildings that won’t be regularly occupied during the winter months. They can detect leaks and alert you immediately. Most home improvement stores carry a variety of sensors.

5. Check for leaks, cracks, and holes around windows and doors. 

Insulation, caulking, weather stripping, and window film can be relatively easy and inexpensive fixes to keep the winter weather elements outside where they belong. If your budget allows, now is the time to replace any windows and doors that are beyond repair. Not only do defects lead to heat loss and increased utility costs, they create an open invitation to unwanted patrons—rodents and pests looking for a warmer home.

6. Keep it clear.

If your club is open throughout the winter for indoor events, make a plan now to ensure someone will be available to clear sidewalks, driveways, and parking areas. Add tall, reflective driveway markers to illuminate your property for drivers and to indicate plowable areas for snowplow drivers. Don’t forget about inside the doors, too. Add mats and rug runners just inside the doors to absorb the water and snow from boots and shoes and prevent an unfortunate slip or fall.

Also, we mentioned this before, but it’s important enough to repeat: If you haven’t already, consider adding motion-sensitive lighting to your exterior. This is an effective way to make buildings safer for anyone coming to clear snow or perform any other maintenance duties.

7. Have your heating system inspected and serviced by a licensed HVAC professional. 

Along with replacing or cleaning filters, a pre-winter maintenance check will also ensure vents are clear and components are working properly now—before the bitterly cold weather hits.

Patrons and guests will appreciate it. Even if your club is closed in the winter months, having an efficient and reliable heating system will help you save on utility costs and prevent damage from frozen pipes.

8. Remove dead trees and cut back large overhanging limbs around buildings. 

When snow and ice collect on low-hanging branches, your building below becomes a target for damage. Cutting back those areas now will be much easier than cleaning up damage and making repairs later.

If you’re hiring a third party for these services, remember to do your due diligence. Check that they understand how to work on a golf course. And, most importantly, be sure to obtain proof of insurance, and have a signed contract that clearly outlines where liability lies in the event of damage.

9. Winterize your equipment. 

Taking the time to adequately prepare your equipment for winter can help to reduce the risk of costly equipment damage or malfunction when spring rolls around. Before putting equipment away for winter storage, take the time to prepare all systems to withstand the cold temperatures.

Batteries and cooling systems need extra protection, as does any diesel equipment in your fleet. Take extra precautions with storage, ensuring that your storage facility is cool and dry, with temperatures ideally ranging between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

10. Review your insurance coverage. 

Each season brings different hazards, so it’s a good idea to review your insurance policy and conduct a risk assessment with your insurance broker regularly. Be sure to review any agreements you have in place with third-party contractors to ensure your business is covered for any issues that may arise. Work to become familiar with the terms and limits of your policy so you’re informed should disaster strike.

 

 

Following these tips can help reduce the risks that go along with winter weather. For more information about how you can minimize the risk for your club, and to ensure you have the coverage you need, reach out to your Account Manager or contact us today at info@vgminsurance.com or 800-362-3363.


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