'Direct hit;'  Over 100 trees damaged by tornado on Springfield Country Club golf course – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

‘Direct hit;’ Over 100 trees damaged by tornado on Springfield Country Club golf course – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio

SPRINGFIELD — An EF-1 tornado that ripped through parts of Clark County during Wednesday’s tornado outbreak destroyed at least 100 old-growth trees that lined the Springfield Country Club golf course.

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Golf Course Superintendent Chad Dorrell called the tornado a “direct hit” on the club’s course in a message posted to social media.

“I have no words. The golf course took a direct hit from a tornado tonight. I’ve never seen damage to this extent. Hundreds of trees down or uprooted,” Dorrell said in a tweet posted Wednesday night.

On Thursday, over 100 people volunteered to help clean-up the damage to the course, following a call to members for help.

>>Photos: Funnel clouds, storm damage across the Miami Valley

“I can’t tell you how much the support and outreach we’ve gotten from neighbors, from our members, from the community. It’s wonderful to be a part of that and its what Springfield is all about,” General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Craig Taylor told News Center 7.

Taylor added the course “took the brunt” of the tornado damage, with no other areas of significant structural damage including the clubhouse. The club partnered with six other course superintendents from other courses and had three tree companies on site Thursday to begin the tree removals.

“A lot of manpower, a lot of sore backs and picking up sticks and hauling away big trees. We had some substantial tree damage,” Taylor said.

But for members and volunteers, the call for cleanup help was an easy one.

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“I had the free time today to do it, and I’ve certainly been through storms and people have come help me, and I didn’t have any damage today. This is the time to give back,” member Jeff Smith of Springfield said.

“I think it’s awesome (the community is pulling together). Everyone kinda talks about the family feel it has in Springfield, and it kinda really proves that point,” member Will Brikholz said.

National Weather Service meteorologists were on scene Thursday afternoon and ruled the damaged to the trees was clearly done by a tornado.

“This was a tornado for sure. We have some friends with the sheriff’s department here that are flying a drone and from the drone you can see the damage patterns are ones that can only be produced by a tornado. The swirling, twisting winds and debris being lofted in the air,” NWS meteorologist Tom Johnstone said.

Johnstone credited the golf course for getting players off the course and into shelters before the storm rolled through.

“Lives were definitely saved.”

Taylor estimates it will take at least three to five days before the course could reopen. A member golf event is scheduled for this weekend but its status is in question.

The course also hosted a qualifying match for the US Open Monday.

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