Springfield Country Club takes ‘direct hit’ from tornado

Course asks for volunteers to assist with course cleanup Thursday.

The tornado that hit Clark County on Wednesday passed through Springfield Country Club, two days after it hosted a U.S. Open qualifier.

A drone video shot by club member Patrick O’Neill, a FAA certified drone pilot for the Troy Fire Department, showed large trees toppled and branches scattered throughout the course.

On Thursday, the property was littered by debris from several downed trees that snapped in half or were uprooted from the ground.

“I have no words,” wrote Chad Dorrell, superintendent of the golf course, on Twitter on Wednesday. “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. Only positive is no greens or irrigation boxes damaged. SCC family, it’s time to rally the troops! We’ll be posting ways to assist.”

Springfield Country Club also sent an email to members, advising them the course and swimming pool would be closed Thursday and inviting them to assist with the cleanup and meet at the clubhouse at noon Thursday.

“Bring what you can, especially gloves,” the Miami Valley Golf Association announced on Twitter. “Forecast 74 and partly sunny.”

The troops were rallied: an army of volunteers showed up Thursday morning with chainsaws, gloves and wheelbarrows to help with cleanup. Dozens of volunteers, including Wittenberg football coach Jim Collins and several of his assistants and players, worked through the afternoon to cut away at fallen trees and move branches.

Springfield Country Club General Manager Craig Taylor didn’t know when the course would reopen but said it would remain closed Friday. Six different local clubs and three different tree companies helped with the cleanup effort, Taylor said, and he estimated there were close to 100 volunteers.

“It’s really nice how the community’s come together,” Taylor said.

Dorrell shared a video of the damage shot by Bridge Houston.

“No one was injured, clubhouse and maintenance facility were spared,” he wrote. “SCC family is strong and resilient. We’ll begin the process (Thursday) morning. I have full confidence in my team, members and an amazing peer network.”

On Facebook, O’Neill wrote, “(Wednesday) started off beautiful and sunny. Then, the storm came through, leaving all of this in its wake. There were 100+ golfers on the course for Wednesday league and thanks to the quick actions of (head golf pro) Jake Houston and his staff, everyone was safe. Chad and the grounds crew just finished up the perfect USGA weekend, and it is so unfortunate this followed.”

The club has a lighting-detection system that worked, Taylor said.

“With the notifications, I think everybody’s cell phone was going off at one time,” Taylor said. “We got them all to safe locations in the clubhouse, so there were no injuries, and nobody was still outside.”