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Thu, June 27

Storm damages 1,000 trees at VOC’s Oakcreek Country Club golf course

Oakcreek Country Club staff clean up damage to almost 1,000 trees at the Oak Creek Village golf course on Monday. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Oakcreek Country Club staff clean up damage to almost 1,000 trees at the Oak Creek Village golf course on Monday. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

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VVN/Vyto Starinskas

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK -- The Oakcreek Country Club in the Village of Oak Creek has been closed since Feb. 22 while staff cleans up the damage to almost 1,000 trees at the Trent Jones-designed golf course known for its tree-lined fairways.

Crews with chainsaws were on the course Tuesday afternoon in the rainstorm using chainsaws and a bucketloader to load tree limbs into large dumpsters parked in front of the closed driving range.

A large tree was toppled next to the ninth green and cut up in pieces. Pine tree branches were piled under trees along the 10th and 18th hole fairways.

“The snow storm on February 22-23 has caused major damage to our golf course,” explained Heather Risk, head golf professional at Oakcreek on Tuesday.

“We have been closed since Feb 22nd,” she continued. “Even a few days before because of another snow storm.” 

“We have 1,315 trees and close to 1,000 of them have been damaged,” Risk said. “They have taken down 15 trees on the front side of the golf course.”

Most of the trees that are damaged are Mondale Pine trees and many junipers, she said. It’s taking about one to five hours to work on the damage to each tree.

“The tree climbers are climbing each tree and cutting off the “widow makers” - the dangling branches that were broken in the storm,” Risk pointed out.

Oakcreek has hired five tree companies and 10 workers from Vets for Hire to work with the golf course’s maintenance and golf staff on cleaning up the damage, she continued.

“They have been working 10-plus hours a day and we only have 7 of 18 holes cleaned up,” she said. Risk did not give a day that she thought the course would reopen.

The course’s website indicates that the clean-up crews are “working very hard,” but everything is closed including the putting green and driving range until further notice.

“We will do our best to keep you updated,” states the website. “Also, there is no walking on the golf course. We have branches falling from trees and it is not safe to walk on the course until further notice.”

However, the golf shop is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and people can check for updates at 928-284-1660.

Oakcreek opened in 1969, was completed as an 18-hole course in 1971, according to its website. It’s owned by the Village of Oakcreek Association, and is open to the public.

Oakcreek CC takes full advantage of the “majestic Sedona red rock scenery and the fairways are “classic tree lined doglegs,” the website says.

Other than the tree cleanup, Risk said the golf course is in amazing shape thanks to all the water. “Will be awesome once we open,” said the golf pro.

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