When Ironwood Golf Course closed May 1, Ron Irby felt like he had been evicted.
“I’ve been playing this course for almost 40 years, and it’s home,” Irby said. “It’s my home course.”
Irby, 65, has played on the city golf course since 1978, when he moved to Gainesville, but commuted to three other courses during the summer while Ironwood was closed for renovations.
Jeff Cardozo, the golf course manager, said the course has updated fairways and installed new mats on the driving range. The course will also have a structure for shade on the driving range . Cardozo said the new driving range will be one of the best in Gainesville.
Hurricane Irma pushed back the course’s reopening from Sept. 1 to this past Monday. Cardozo said some lakes overflowed and six trees fell during the storm.
“It took about a week to clean everything up,” he said.
Cardozo said workers are still improving drainage on the course.
A day after Ironwood reopened, Irby was back at his home. He thought he did well his first day back.
“I scored pretty well, I only played the back nine (holes),” Irby said. “I was three over par on the back.”
Irby went with some of his usual friends on Tuesday. He said he looked forward to returning to his routine of playing on the course three times a week.
“The mix of people, the ethnicity, the camaraderie, (Ironwood Golf Course is) just a great place,” he said.