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Major cleanup efforts are underway after tornadoes hit Capital City Country Club in Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – A week after tornadoes toppled hundreds of trees at the popular and historic golf course, a massive cleanup effort is underway at Capital City Country Club.

The damage there is extensive after several tornadoes struck the Big Bend on Friday. And as harrowing stories continue to emerge about how they weathered the storm, Capital City Country Club employees have also joined the mix: Several employees were on the golf course when the storm happened.

Deputy Superintendent Cameron Dowden still can't quite believe it.

“We were out here. It was scary,” Dowden said as he walked around the golf course.

The assistant superintendent assesses the damage on the golf course.(WCTV)

Oaks and pines along nearly every fairway are twisted and torn. The rough is really rough now.

“It just shows the sheer power of what this storm has done,” he said. “It didn’t even take out those trees. It just bent and twisted them.”

Dowden was on the golf course last Friday morning when the sky turned black and the rain fell sideways.

“We were sitting in a truck, me and three others were in the same truck, and the truck was shaking and trying to turn us over, and you know, you couldn't see anything, and I turned on the wipers just to look and it was on Nightmare,” Dowden said. “Limbs just came past the truck and hit all over the vehicle.”

The National Weather Service reported that two tornadoes converged here at the Capital City Country Club.

The National Weather Service reported that two tornadoes converged here in Capital City...
The National Weather Service reported that two tornadoes converged here at the Capital City Country Club.(National Weather Service)

The manager rushed to the scene when he heard that the course had taken a direct hit.

“Everyone had said it was the worst thing imaginable, and when I got here it was even worse,” general manager Evan Neihaus said. “I’m just grateful that our staff is doing well.”

Housekeeper Juanita Coy was in the clubhouse when the storm hit and reported tables and chairs being thrown through the air.

“It was bad. Unbelievable,” Coy said. “I couldn't believe what I saw, but slowly but surely we're making progress out here.”

Hundreds of trees have fallen and helpers are working everywhere to cut and collect them.

Crews are working to clear fallen trees from the Capital City Country Club golf course.
Crews are working to clear fallen trees from the Capital City Country Club golf course.(WCTV)

Teams will initially focus on removing dirt from tees, fairways and greens.

“Next we will look to put the clubhouse, pool and tennis courts back together,” said general manager Evan Niehaus.

It is not clear when the club will reopen.

“This looks a lot better than what we started with,” Dowden said. “It was kind of overwhelming at first.”

Everyone at the club is just grateful to have survived, and they hope an entrance now surrounded by rubble will soon welcome golfers and guests again.

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Anna Harden

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