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Oceanside country club closes after Sandy batters property, membership

Superstorm Sandy damaged not only on the golf

Superstorm Sandy damaged not only on the golf course of the Middle Bay Country Club but also other facilities. The club announced in January 2013 that it is closing and heading into bankruptcy. (Nov. 13, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

Middle Bay Country Club in Oceanside, which suffered $3.5 million in damage from Sandy, is closing and headed for bankruptcy, general manager Ed Closs said Monday.

The private South Shore country club, which has hosted golf and tennis tournaments, weddings and high school reunions for decades, plans to file for bankruptcy this week, he said.

"We didn't expect it, but unfortunately we have to move on," Closs said. "We're facing a new reality."

Though the golf course reopened after Thanksgiving, Sandy's floodwaters caused extensive damage to club facilities, equipment and the greens. Insurance covered about two-thirds of the repair costs and the landlord was willing to give the club a break, but it was also hit with a sudden loss of membership -- and membership fees -- after Sandy, Closs said.

About a third of the club's roughly 230 members left after the storm, after suffering damage to their homes and businesses, he said. "They were as badly hit by the storm as the club was," he said. "A lot of our members living in the area haven't even been able to go back to their own homes yet."

The club was still short $1.2 million to rebuild when the board and club members decided to call it quits. Closs and about 50 full-time employees are now out of work, he said.

Before Sandy hit, the club had struggled in the weak economy. Newsday reported in 2011 that Middle Bay was among several Long Island golf courses that were trying to attract new members by cutting their membership dues in an environment that saw a few clubs closed, sold and dealing with lower profits.

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