High winds lay waste to golf courses

Dec 3 2011 - 8:24am

Images

(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Hundreds of trees were toppled by Thursday’s wind storm at Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) A structure was destroyed by Thursday’s wind storm at the Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville. More photos at www.standard.net
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) Hundreds of trees were toppled by Thursday’s wind storm at Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) A structure was destroyed by Thursday’s wind storm at the Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville. More photos at www.standard.net

KAYSVILLE -- After hurricane-force winds toppled 60-foot-tall trees like kindling on Thursday, a handful of Davis County golf courses are unplayable until the tree trunks, torn tree limbs and other debris can be removed.

One course official estimates damages between $500,000 to $1 million.

Another says damages could easily reach the "tens of thousands of dollars."

"We have over 1,000 trees down on the golf courses in Davis County," said Davis County Commissioner John Petroff Jr.

Two of the courses impacted by the wind storm are the county-owned and -operated Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights and Valley View Golf Course in Layton, both 18-hole courses.

Cleaning up those courses could take county public works crews, jail inmate trustees and volunteer service organizations such as church groups several days, if not weeks, to complete, Petroff said.

"There are a lot of greens with trees on them," he said.

The goal is to have nine holes at each of the 18-hole county courses cleared for play in a week, Petroff said, who estimated that the damages to the courses will reach five figures.

Petroff said cost estimates could rise if crews responding to the cleanup unintentionally cause further damage to the fairways and greens when removing the fallen trees.

The cleanup of the two courses should not put the county commission in a position to need to amend its proposed 2012 calendar year budget, he said.

The plan is to use contingency funds to cover the cleanup costs, Petroff said. But if costs escalate, he said, the commission may have to look at amending its 2012 budget later in the calendar year.

Oakridge Country Club in Farmington also sustained heavy damage.

"We just got hammered," course superintendent Jason Moon said.

The course lost between 350 to 370 trees, most of those pines and spruce, Moon said.

"It is just devastating. It is going to be a completely different golf course now. They're irreplaceable," Moon said of the 60-foot-tall trees brought down by winds reaching 80 mph.

Moon said it will take a month to clean up the trees, some with 21aN2-foot-wide trunks, at a cost of up to $1 million.

The Farmington course has remained open to members and media to give them a look at what Mother Nature and God are capable of, Moon said, but he doesn't expect the course to be playable for at least a week.

"It is that bad," he said.

Another course possibly unplayable due to wind damage is Bountiful Ridge.

"We have between 80 to 100 trees down," Bountiful Ridge assistant golf pro Scott Olsen said.

Olsen said most of those trees were pine trees.

"It is definitely unfortunate," he said. "Definitely, replacing some of these trees will cost money ... and time. It is hard to replace a 30-year-old tree."

Olsen said the course superintendent and head golf pro had not decided as of Friday whether to close the course, he said, but he would recommend those desiring to golf at Bountiful Ridge during the next few days call in advance at 801-298-6040.

One Davis golf course on the east bench that did manage to avoid the heavy blow of the wind was Eaglewood Golf Course in North Salt Lake.

The course had 10 to 15 trees topple over due to the wind, and lost a few shingles off a course facility roof. But a course official said they were not hit very hard and are open for play.

The Ogden Golf and Country Club also avoided major damage, having only a 25-foot fence blow over onto a car, said controller Bonnie Norman.

The Barn Golf Club in Pleasant View also "dodged a bullet," said assistant superintendent Justin Woodland.

"It was an absolute mess" on the course with all of the broken limbs and branches, but most of it is cleaned up now and the course is open for play, Woodland said.

Standard-Examiner reporter Michael McFall contributed to this story.

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