My problem with trees on a golf course

I’ve secretly held a grudge against trees on a golf course. But not every tree.

I’m talking about the trees that get in the way of making a good, clean regular golf shot. I know many golf holes where it is almost impossible to play a draw or fade from the tee. I’m not referring to a hook or severe slice, just a controlled natural ball flight.

I am aware of what the first reaction to this rage against large fauna often is; “Hit it straight!” or “You should be able to shape the ball both ways!”.

Firstly, it is a rare golfer whose natural ball flight is straight. And secondly, a golf hole is entitled to have a preferred “line-in”, but you should at least have the option to shape it either way and should not be punished before you’ve even begun the hole.

I’ve silently held this frustration for a long time but often wondered if the God of Trees is aware of my bugbear given the luck I’ve had with these woody beasts. Recently, I was pleased to hear I’m not the only one who holds these views.

A story last week reported that Killara Golf Course are set to chop down over 1200 trees as many of them are affecting the “playability” of the golf course.
The story stated: “A consultant’s report included in the club’s development application states that trees have “eliminated the possibility of any strategy” as golfers only have one option – hitting the ball straight.”. As expected with this many trees to be felled, there are some vocal objectors and to be honest, it does seem like lumber-jacking overkill.
Another who shares the same view is Mike Clayton. The former Australian professional golfer is now a sought after course designer who made the welcome changes to The Lakes Golf Club and is currently in the process of redesigning Bonnie Doon Golf Course.

The Bonnie Doon course masterplan makes interesting reading for any golf geeks and he makes some interesting comments about changing the current sixth hole, a severe dog-leg right around some tall trees.

“The game is always better when it is played over hazards on the ground as opposed to hazards in the air i.e. trees. Trees discriminate against those who cannot hit the ball high in the air and they ask longer hitters to play up and over to unseen ground. There is not one acknowledged great short par four in the country where this principle is applied. 

All the great holes of this length are organized strategically around hazards on the ground – generally bunkers – and greens that are designed to favour an approach from a particular part
of the fairway. The 10th at Royal Melbourne is the finest example of a hole based on this simple principle. The 4th at Barnbougle Dunes…”
I feel somewhat justified in my resentment of a few golf holes now, but a little scared all the same. The disdain for these trees has now out in the open, which is more than I can say for my golf balls.

If it is any consolation to the tree Gods, I’ll keep the offending golf holes to myself for the moment, they know who they are.

H/T to Golf Industry Central

2 thoughts on “My problem with trees on a golf course

  • I agree. Off the tee you should not be “forced” to hit a draw or a fade, it should be advantageous to hit the correct show, but not impossible to do the other.

  • My playing partners are often subjected to my rants about the position of some trees affecting the shot off the tee. Quite often you’ll see teeing areas completely worn on one side because of it. I’m sure they were not intended as part of the design, but have just grown that way.


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