Golf Course Lost 31 Trees in Windstorm Last Week

A pair of golfers walk past one of the many huge fallen trees on the Chuck Corica Golf Complex Tuesday. The root system of the fallen tree sticks up just behind the golfer with the red hat at left.

The Chuck Corica Golf Course is still feeling the after effects of a heavy windstorm that struck Alameda last week.

Alameda, along with most of the Bay Area, felt the brunt of Mother Nature’s wrath on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, and New Year’s Eve. There were five instances of vehicle damage caused by fallen trees reported to the Alameda Police Department last Tuesday. The 45-hole golf complex suffered a similar fate.

Thirty-one trees fell between Tuesday and New Year’s Eve, according to the complex’s General Manager John Vest. The winds started around midday. The course closed ahead of schedule for the day soon after. When golfers came back the next day they were greeted with eucalyptus trees 75 to 100 feet tall laying on the ground.

"It really was a perfect storm of things," said Vest. "The drought that we’ve been facing for the past three to four years, combined with the 10 inches of rain that came for a two-week period prior and the shallow root system were too much for the trees to withstand."

The complex’s maintenance crew was able to remove three trees. Most of the remaining trees are off to the side, while one hole had to be reconfigured due to a fallen tree.

"The No. 2 hole on the North Course was affected by a tree," said Vest. "We just had to shorten the hole to make it playable."

Vest said the complex, which is owned by the city of Alameda, will need to hire an outside company to get rid of the remaining 28 trees.

"We’ve so far just been getting quotes from several tree companies," he said. "Obviously price is something that we’re looking at, but time is most important. We want to hire a company that can get the job done as quickly as possible."

Vest has not gotten an exact figure for how much the tree removal

is going to cost, but said estimates from several companies his maintenance crew has vetted put the removal cost at $5-8,000 per tree, which would put the total cost at $140,000 minimum.

Vest hopes to replace the trees with ones that have stronger root systems and can withstand heavier winds.

Vest said he feels lucky even with the new obstacles the fallen tree have given the course.

"We feel fortunate," he said. "We’re lucky no one, not the golfers or our employees, were hurt. Also there was no damage to any of our office buildings or bathrooms on the course and there was no significant damage to our greens."

The course will not be cleared of the trees until at least the middle of January, but Vest assures the public the course will be safe during the cleanup.

"It will be safe to play," said Vest. "You just might be distracted by the noise of chainsaws."

Contact Ekene Ikeme at eikeme@alamedasun.com.