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Small crew tasked with keeping Blackthorn Golf Club ready for play

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - When staff arrived at Blackthorn Golf Club on Thursday morning, they found a large tree had fallen outside the main clubhouse.

"I knew somewhat what to expect but I'm just glad nobody was out there," said course superintendent John Quickstad. "It could've been bad."

Despite the relief that there had been no injuries or damage to the clubhouse, Quickstad did know it would be a long day of work ahead.

Several areas of the course saw storm damage overnight, from uprooted and fallen trees to flooded fairways and sandtraps.

Quickstad said cleanup efforts took all morning and lasted into the afternoon, but Blackthorn was open for play for the majority of the day. He credits the quick response to their experience of dealing with the issue each year.

"I remember a few years back, it happened like every weekend and three weeks in a row where we had a lot of storm damage. It's tough on the guys, you know the morale, but we plugged away and we just deal with it."

Blackthorn has about 36 acres of fairways, then greens and tee boxes among the rest of the grounds.

The crew tasked with covering that area was only made up of about a dozen members. Much of the course's summer labor depends on high school and college students, so the majority of the staff has yet to begin.

"We just concentrate on the 'in-play' area and clear off the greens. Try to get them as good as we can. But you just concentrate and try to break it up, don't think of everything at once because it would be overwhelming."

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