ASH TREES: Tornado Lends Golf Course A Hand

After three days of tornado clean-up one part of Panora was ready to take a break and head out to play.

A hundred lousy golfers swinging wedges couldn’t top the damage Sunday’s EF-2 tornado did to Lake Panorama National Golf Course.

“It was a shock,” said course general manager, John Dinnebier.

Divots schmivots. Try repairing tornado damage.

“An 18-21 inch diameter tree and that wind just snapped it right off,” said course superintendent, Dan Wollner.

“I came out the next morning and I said ‘It’s going to be three weeks to a month before we have this course up and running,” said course volunteer Charles Schnack.

But 48 hours later, Lake Panorama National was back on the tee. A small army of volunteers had come out of the woodwork to work all the wood.

“We had people on chainsaws, we had people pulling branches, we had people raking,” said Dinnebier.

“It was amazing yesterday,” Wollner added.

For course superintendent Wollner, the work was personal, “When I’m out here chain sawing the last two days as I’m cutting a tree I go ‘I planted that tree!’”

But many of those he’d planted 34 years ago were ash trees. They’d grown fast but with the ash borer moving in, Wollmer had already begun preparing to remove many of them.

Enter tornado.

“It probably removed 40 of them for me!” Wollner laughed.

With a tree nursery already established on the course, replacements are already on the way, and perspective has taken over.

“We’re good,” Wollner said. “They’re trees. And they can be replaced.”

The course lost about 50 mature trees in all and removal will continue through the month. But both the front and back nine holes of the course are completely open.