The damage was the worst seen in over 20 years for the Mesa, Ariz. property, and between the value of the trees lost, the cost of cleaning up the damage and replanting, the total impact to the city could be as much as $1 million, an administrator estimated.
The extreme weather that continues to plague most of the U.S. with unprecedented storms has another veteran golf-management professional shaking his head over damage he’s never seen before.
In his 20 years of managing golf courses, Erik Ostlund told the Arizona Republic, he hasn’t seen storm damage quite like what he witnessed at Dobson Ranch Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz. over a seven-day period in August.
The city-run golf course lost 57 trees in a week and 44 trees in a single storm, Ostlund, Administrator for Mesa’s Parks and Recreation Department, told the Republic. And the property, which has more than 140 acres, is down 61 trees for the entire summer.
Among the storm’s victims has been an owl who was a longtime Dobson Ranch resident but has now been displaced, after the bird’s home overturned near the course’s 18th green, the Republic reported.
Dobson Ranch GC reopened on August 16th, the Republic reported, with golfers returning to find dozens of tree carcasses scattered around the course.
“We haven’t seen this kind of damage in well over probably 20 years, if not longer than that,” Ostlund told the Republic. “It’s really disheartening.”
And cleaning up the damage will cost the city an estimated $50,000, Ostlund noted.
Some trees on the course were uprooted during the week’s storms, while others snapped at the trunk, the Republic reported. Many of the trees were 50 to 60 years old, Ostlund said.
All told, Dobson Ranch has lost about 7 percent of the 830 trees that stood at the outset of summer, the Republic reported.
The destroyed trees are mostly pine trees, but the course also lost a handful of towering eucalyptus, which can grow as high as 50 feet, the Republic reported.
Mesa will try to ramp up its replanting efforts, but the damage leaves a lot of work, Ostlund told the Republic. Between the value of the trees lost, the cost of cleaning up the damage and replanting, the total impact to the city could be as much as $1 million, he said.
“It’s really just a matter of reinvesting and replanting the trees to provide that social value and environmental impact that the trees have on the golf course and the community as a whole,” he said.
Dobson Ranch’s trees, a verdant refuge in the middle of the desert, distinguish the property from many Arizona golf courses, the Republic noted. But the trees are more than just decoration; in addition to how their lush branches temper errant golf balls, they offer welcome shade from the Arizona heat.
The heavy loss of trees could even change the way players golf, Ostlund told the Republic, because the trees act as guideposts to help golfers determine line up their shots
“When you lose this number of trees, it really starts tugging at the heart string a little bit,” he said.
“The monsoon this year is so much worse than years past,” Ostlund added. “Why? It’s kind of the almighty question.”
To see photos of the damage and a video that was taken by a club employee during the storm that shows one tree snapping in half, go to https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa/2018/08/16/mesa-dobson-ranch-golf-course-loses-57-trees-one-week/1004628002/
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