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Winterizing Your Club

When club owners think of preparing for winter, turf management is usually what comes to mind. While the course is your most valuable asset, don’t forget about winterizing equipment, buildings, and other outdoor spaces that support your business. Preparing your property for Mother Nature now can help mitigate risks once winter arrives, and allow for a stress-free holiday season. Here are nine winterizing best practices:

1. Have building roofs inspected.

A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to the roof of your clubhouse and other buildings. 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 to also clean gutters to reduce the risk of ice dams that can damage a roof over time.

2. Light it up to prevent theft.

Your summertime business could look attractive to thieves since buildings are more likely to be left unattended during 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.

3. 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 lessen 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 to lessen the risk of pipes freezing. 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.

4. 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 out the winter weather elements. 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 increase your utility costs, they create an open invitation to rodents and pests looking for a warmer home.

5. Keep it clear.

If your business 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Prepare 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.

9.  Review your insurance coverage.

Each season brings different hazards, so it’s a good idea to review your insurance policy a few times a year to ensure you’re aware of the coverages you have. It’s also a good idea to discuss this with your agent or broker to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage, and investigate additional coverage options that may benefit your business. Work to become familiar with the terms and limits of your policy so you’re informed should disaster strike.

 

Following these quick tips can help reduce the risks that go along with winter weather. For more information, contact the insurance professionals at VGM Insurance.

David A. Harnois, CCM, CPL, is a proud employee owner of VGM Insurance & Financial Solutions, specializing in commercial and group program business. He provides insurance solutions for clubs through his VGM Club endorsed program. Contact David at 319-800-6676 or at david.harnois@vgm.com.

 

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