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Gary Player's Rant on Trees


Gary Player's Rant on Trees  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you agree with Gary Player re: trees on a golf course? (See the first post)

    • Yes
      6
    • No
      24
    • This fence is mighty comfortable!
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I’m a fan of tree lined courses. That said a course has a design that should match the area and terrain. An inland setting with trees calls for a parkland style design. A barren Oceanside area calls for a links. The photos of old courses when they where built is misleading. Some of those designers planned for the course to mature. Trees force golfers to hit the ball straight or use shotmaking to navigate around. That’s how golf should be played. Bomb and gougers don’t like trees because they want to hit it anywhere and be in good  shape. Unfortunately that’s not golf but it’s where the game is going.

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I generally do not like trees on golf courses. On most courses, they are overgrown and narrow playing corridors, making the course more difficult than it should be. Any tree that's in play and not trimmed so someone can hit a golf ball under them is a crime.

That said, there are some courses where the trees fit in nicely. If they do not narrow playing corridors too much and allow for recovery, then they're fine. 

Gary Player, though...

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For me, there's a big difference between tree lined fairways and forest lined holes. Holes separated by large trees that are cleared of thick brush underneath are fine, because even tho you might be blocked, you still can find your ball and advance it - think most of Firestone. It's when everything is overgrown and you can't even find your ball that I don't like - like TPC Boston.

Oh, and Gary Player is an asshat.

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I fully disagree with GP.  He talks about being a conservationist and a tree huger.  I am not aware that they are cutting down the Giant Redwoods, Sequoias, etc. to make room for a golf course.  I do not agree with bulldozing the Amazon or "Ancient" trees that cannot be replaced but that is not comparable to cutting a tree on a golf course.  Also, trees in general are renewable resource. That is why we have not run out of lumber to build homes or paper to enable the endless stream of junk mail in our mail-boxes.    As for cutting 80 year old trees on a course, if it is a 100 year old course then the tree was not in the original design so it can be justified to bring the course back to the original design.  Even if the tree was placed on the course 80 years ago by the architect, it's impact on the course design today may not be what was intended at the time.  Even if being true to the original design is not the question, courses have the right to make improvements as they feel necessary.  I do no think they are just cutting them down for firewood.

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I voted no. I think Gary Player is an idiot. The fact that he is comparing deforestation in the Amazon to golf course tree maintenance is ridiculous.

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I agree there’s a difference between trees and a forest. I get more satisfaction out of hitting a successful punch cut out from under a branch than I do a good shot from the fairway. Strategically placed trees create shot making decisions. One or two trees placed properly on a dog leg creates a target decision of the tee. If you want to play on a cow pasture why pay a green fee?

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Gary Player is a complete quack, but I do appreciate trees on most golf courses, and I feel they definitely have their place in much of the golf world.  Probably put me in the in-between category.

Watching the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, I considered the course very ordinary with the exception of large Cypress trees lining each hole.

As president of my golf club, I just spearheaded an effort to add 20 trees between a couple of holes where golfers tend to hit the ball onto the wrong hole and not have any penalty for it.  I viewed it as a dangerous situation that these trees could eventually help remedy.

The PGA Tour plays on very few courses where trees are not part of play. 

Shinnecock Hills and Oakmont have great earthwork on them to make interesting elevation changes and undulations that most courses do not have.  The same could be said for most of the courses on The Open rotation.  I can see on courses that have great earthwork that large trees all over the place would take away from the undulation design elements.  It is pretty tough to say that courses that do not have these elevation changes and undulations should cut down most of their trees to get back to the designers "original intent".  I really don't care to always play "goat tracks" where we have flat holes and somewhat flat greens with the only potential obstacle being long rough.  To me golf is great because every course offers different challenges for the golfer.  It can be played just about anywhere with each course offering up local challenges for the golfer.  

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On 9/23/2020 at 11:39 AM, iacas said:

Yeah, I know. But I think even Gary Player would say the Old Course is a great course. It might be one of only about three he would say that about a course on which he never won, but…

BTW, Oakmont in 1994 vs. Oakmont in 2009 or 2016? No contest. Removing thousands of trees made Oakmont WAY better.

Brookside Country Club in Canton, Ohio. They found the original design by Donald Ross and took out over a thousand trees. It opened the views of the course and made it much more playable and visually pleasing. 

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I voted "no" as I disagree with Player... I do agree with many comments above that depending on the location of the course and its age the removal of trees (or lack of trees altogether) makes for a better course. I don't think this is an either/or discussion, however, as many tree lined holes/courses rank amongst my favorites. As someone else said I do enjoy threading the ball through trees or having to get creative in hitting punch shots when hitting the *rare* wayward drive. 

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On 9/24/2020 at 12:59 PM, iacas said:

Ditto. I've never known a time when I didn't dislike him.

Fine golfer and perpetual jerk. Aggressive little man with a complex, who has not improved with age.

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  • 3 months later...

Trees are obviously not a design feature of links courses but cutting them down and stripping a parkland design turns the layout into a nothing bomb and gouge cow pasture. Who says you should have a straight open line to the green no matter where you drive it? Knockdowns, fades, draws are all part of the skill of golf. Driving should be as much about placement and accuracy as length. The game is changing for the worse.

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31 minutes ago, tinker said:

Trees are obviously not a design feature of links courses but cutting them down and stripping a parkland design turns the layout into a nothing bomb and gouge cow pasture.

So, Oakmont is a worse course, a “nothing bomb and gouge cow pasture”?

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20 hours ago, tinker said:

Trees are obviously not a design feature of links courses but cutting them down and stripping a parkland design turns the layout into a nothing bomb and gouge cow pasture. Who says you should have a straight open line to the green no matter where you drive it? Knockdowns, fades, draws are all part of the skill of golf. Driving should be as much about placement and accuracy as length. The game is changing for the worse.

My course took down a bunch of trees. The turf quality improved, and it opened up some great views. They seeded the forested areas with fescue, and they now have long, thick grass where the trees used to be. You can bomb, but you have to chip back to the fairway, if you can find your ball. It really did not make the course easier.

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1 hour ago, Sandy Divot said:

My course took down a bunch of trees. The turf quality improved, and it opened up some great views. They seeded the forested areas with fescue, and they now have long, thick grass where the trees used to be. You can bomb, but you have to chip back to the fairway, if you can find your ball. It really did not make the course easier.

Same with our course, the trees they took down were ugly white pines, that just sucked up water.  We still have plenty of trees but the 100 or so they took down aren’t missed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For a guy who has been around a long time and played some great golf courses, he doesn't know what he is talking about. I live in Philly and we have some great classic courses that were built early in the 20th Century. All of them originally had very few trees and were pretty much changed for the worse over the decades by planting way too many trees. In the last 10-20 years almost all of them have found old maps and aerials and have been restoring their courses and a big part is getting rid of the trees. Our course was built in 1908 and had very few trees, nor did it need them. We ended up getting choked with trees and it had a bad effect on the rough and overall condition of the course. Now the course can breathe and requires way less water and plays every bit as challenging, probably more. I just played Oakmont a few years ago and there is ONE tree on the property. 

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  • 4 months later...

In general, you always need to consider the current state of the course and what can make it better by adding or subtracting things.

i wanted to reply to this because there is a funny story from a senior tour event at the TPC at Jasna Polana, where I was a walking scorer.   It’s a kind of overdone private course, interesting but definitely over the top.  The group I had on Sunday got to one of the holes and just started ripping into the design of the course amongst themselves.  Hated the bunker design, waterfall was stupid, etc.   really funny.   One guy said “Player is an idiot to have bunkers done this way.  Real f***ing idiot”

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