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Too Many Trees


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#31 HatsForBats

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 11:55 AM

I play about 35 different courses throughout any year so I have seen plenty of courses where poor maintenance of trees is an issue. If it's bad enough I simply do not go back to that course often if at all. Have seen a couple of these trees taken out by storms making the hole a much better hole IMO.


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#32 andrue

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 12:12 PM

View PostNard_S, on 21 August 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 21 August 2017 - 06:42 AM, said:

Maybe someone in the tree business can enlighten us.  Seems like a no brainer.  I'm sure the golf course doesn't want the wood either.

View Postlarrybud, on 21 August 2017 - 06:42 AM, said:

Maybe someone in the tree business can enlighten us.  Seems like a no brainer.  I'm sure the golf course doesn't want the wood either.

Tree removal is quite expensive because it is dangerous and there is high liabilty insurance to carry and  risks to property and the people who do the work. Cherry pickers and wood chippers are not cheap by any means. Wood only commands decent prices when oil is over  $100 a barrel, The cost of cutting a cord and delivering takes most of the profit out of it.

In my neck of the woods, removing one mature tree can run $1500 easily.
In some areas of the UK at least a course might be subject to tree preservation orders. At one time the area I lived in had a blanket order so you were supposed to get permission before cutting any tree down. Thankfully it was removed a while back and looking at the council's online map my club at least appears to have no orders. Still - I can believe there's a lot of annoying bureaucracy involved. But personally I don't see the problem. Trees are part of the course. They are obstacles to play around. As I said in my first reply what annoys me is losing a ball in knee high grass. Having to punch out and go ten yards back down the fairway is just part of the game.
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#33 Conrad1953

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 12:15 PM

View PostNard_S, on 21 August 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

View Postlarrybud, on 21 August 2017 - 06:42 AM, said:

Maybe someone in the tree business can enlighten us.  Seems like a no brainer.  I'm sure the golf course doesn't want the wood either.

View Postlarrybud, on 21 August 2017 - 06:42 AM, said:

Maybe someone in the tree business can enlighten us.  Seems like a no brainer.  I'm sure the golf course doesn't want the wood either.

Tree removal is quite expensive because it is dangerous and there is high liabilty insurance to carry and  risks to property and the people who do the work. Cherry pickers and wood chippers are not cheap by any means. Wood only commands decent prices when oil is over  $100 a barrel, The cost of cutting a cord and delivering takes most of the profit out of it.

In my neck of the woods, removing one mature tree can run $1500 easily.

The price will vary by region but it's still expensive. No doubt it also depends
if a tree here or there is being removed or if it's a mass clearing of trees and
brush in some areas of a course.
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#34 CMCSGolf

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 04:53 PM

In my opinion trees are a less interesting challenge than other hazards (i.e. well placed bunker or difficult hump/angle on a green).  When you encounter one, you can go high/low or shape a ball around them.  When you encounter a strategic bunker, all of these options are still available to the golfer and there is no chance of not having a shot and being forced to pitch out. In short, trees limit the recovery options and that's not fun.  

Secondly, trees don't really make a course much harder (if at all).  Oakmont is the obvious example, where removing every tree on the property still results in arguably the hardest course in America.  This shows that challenges can come in other forms.  The fact that every renovation/restoration I have heard of results in removal of trees, rather than addition, shows what the experts think.

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#35 CELTIC

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 06:44 AM

I'm one of the few exceptions here - I love a course with large, old trees. Maybe the golf is more difficult but the scenery makes up for it.

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#36 uitar9

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 07:15 AM

View Postlarrybud, on 21 August 2017 - 06:16 AM, said:

I can't believe there aren't services that will cut them for a very small price and be allowed to keep and sell the wood.
I am not a logger, but have done business with them.

If you want to sell the wood, say for lumber, you need a full tree. Equipment needed to drag out a whole length tree is gonna chew up a course. Full length truck, with a picker of some form on it and falling a full length tree. You'll get paid market land owner price for the wood, a $100 an hour for each piece of the operation and clean up is the owners responsibility (most land owners are cutting for development any way)

On the other side, a tree trimmer outfit can take down a tree and mulch it, with a half ton pu truck pulling a chipper. Cut it in sections and rope it down. No worse than a maintenance truck on the course. $100 an hour, no mess, no tree.

Yer gonna pay for maintenance. I think I prefer decent greens, decent fairways and decent tee boxes. I'll either figure out the trees, curse them or lay up.

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#37 HatsForBats

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:11 AM

View PostCMCSGolf, on 21 August 2017 - 04:53 PM, said:

In my opinion trees are a less interesting challenge than other hazards (i.e. well placed bunker or difficult hump/angle on a green).  When you encounter one, you can go high/low or shape a ball around them.  When you encounter a strategic bunker, all of these options are still available to the golfer and there is no chance of not having a shot and being forced to pitch out. In short, trees limit the recovery options and that's not fun.  

Trees can be well placed. A local course has a large Oak on each side of the fairway for one hole. The trees are after two ponds that are about 260 yards from the back tee. They are far enough away from the landing area that a player can work a ball around them or if far enough back over them. Another hole on the course has a large oak on the right side of a dogleg right and it is about 285 yards from the back tee. It usually plays into the win and it is very rare to see anyone get past it and it just serves to make the right side of the fairway unusable. The fairway slopes right to left and there is a creek off the left side of the fairway. That is a poor use of a tree IMO. There is also poor bunker placement on that hole but that is a different discussion.

Also bunkers can be designed in such a way that severely limits the options for players escaping with a full shot.

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#38 MrJones

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 08:43 AM

View PostCMCSGolf, on 21 August 2017 - 04:53 PM, said:

In my opinion trees are a less interesting challenge than other hazards (i.e. well placed bunker or difficult hump/angle on a green).  When you encounter one, you can go high/low or shape a ball around them.  When you encounter a strategic bunker, all of these options are still available to the golfer and there is no chance of not having a shot and being forced to pitch out. In short, trees limit the recovery options and that's not fun.  

Secondly, trees don't really make a course much harder (if at all).  Oakmont is the obvious example, where removing every tree on the property still results in arguably the hardest course in America.  This shows that challenges can come in other forms.  The fact that every renovation/restoration I have heard of results in removal of trees, rather than addition, shows what the experts think.

To me, bunkers, water hazards, even abnormal landscape conditions, all are things that don't interfere at all with my ball flight. They only affect the ball when I mishit my shot. I can play any shot I like into a fairway or green and have no obstacles at all.

A tree however can force me to have to play certain shots off a tee. They can force me to seek certain parts of the fairway to have the desired second shot. They can force certain types of approach shot be played rather than one's standard shot. And they are literally the only objects on the course that can not only stop forward progress of my ball, but even reverse it.
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#39 suprfli6

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 09:07 AM

The 18th hole at my home course is an uphill par four. From the back tee you have a relatively narrow look at the fairway with thick trees on both sides for the first hundred yards. In addition, there is a tree branch that sticks out from one side that you can hit if you have a high launch with your driver. I have to intentionally hit my drive very low on the face to avoid it which always irritates me. Every time we've had an ice storm the last few years I keep hoping that branch will come down but no luck so far.

The other course I play the most is in a state park and it is very narrow, especially since they don't do much trimming so the trees crowd the course more and more every year. There are a few holes that force you to hit a big slice off the tee or else hit something like a straight 7 iron and leave yourself 250 in on a par four...

In general I like trees on the course but not when they force such extreme shots on you.

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#40 CMCSGolf

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 11:40 AM

View PostMrJones, on 22 August 2017 - 08:43 AM, said:

View PostCMCSGolf, on 21 August 2017 - 04:53 PM, said:

In my opinion trees are a less interesting challenge than other hazards (i.e. well placed bunker or difficult hump/angle on a green).  When you encounter one, you can go high/low or shape a ball around them.  When you encounter a strategic bunker, all of these options are still available to the golfer and there is no chance of not having a shot and being forced to pitch out. In short, trees limit the recovery options and that's not fun.  

Secondly, trees don't really make a course much harder (if at all).  Oakmont is the obvious example, where removing every tree on the property still results in arguably the hardest course in America.  This shows that challenges can come in other forms.  The fact that every renovation/restoration I have heard of results in removal of trees, rather than addition, shows what the experts think.

To me, bunkers, water hazards, even abnormal landscape conditions, all are things that don't interfere at all with my ball flight. They only affect the ball when I mishit my shot. I can play any shot I like into a fairway or green and have no obstacles at all.

A tree however can force me to have to play certain shots off a tee. They can force me to seek certain parts of the fairway to have the desired second shot. They can force certain types of approach shot be played rather than one's standard shot. And they are literally the only objects on the course that can not only stop forward progress of my ball, but even reverse it.

I agree with everything you said, but those are the reasons I view trees as inferior one dimensional hazards.  There are certainly good trees on courses and not every course would be better if it got the Oakmont treatment, but in general there are too many trees.

I agree that hazards other than a tree allow you to hit whatever shot you want and do not impact the ball flight.  But if there is no tree, that does not mean every shot is equal.  Green contours or bunker placement can dictate a low draw or a high cut or whatever.  Every shot is still on the table though and this is important for the 90% of golfers who can't shape shots reliably.  Even at Oakmont or any links course, holes call for specific shots all the time.  It's just not as obvious when there isn't a tree.  

In a similar vain, as you said the tree FORCES you to hit one shot.  Being forced into a shot is not great because not everyone can pull off the shot.  So if I can't hit the low 20 yard cut, then I pitch out and the opportunity for a recovery shot is much less likely in a sea of trees.  The tree challenges unskilled golfers in a harsher manner than skilled golfers, which isn't ideal.  Allowing the golfer to hit any shot they want, but still rewarding the golfer who plays the called for shape is the best outcome.  In my opinion, it is tougher to do this with trees than other obstacles.


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#41 Matt J

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 11:53 AM

Well, golf evolved in a climate that doesn't support large trees.  With the migration of the game to the continent and North America 'target golf' immerged.

The problem is that trees and grass are rivals for sunlight.  Well placed trees are awesome obstacles, but also maintenance intensive.

I think our community looks forward to high wind events to see which holes will get opened up.  I do love the shade.  The right blend is really living art.

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#42 finleysg

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:05 PM

View PostMatt J, on 22 August 2017 - 11:53 AM, said:

The right blend is really living art.

I am on board with that sentiment. Getting it right makes for a great, mature, parkland golf course. Getting it wrong can make for some really dumb holes. I've played more of that latter than the former, unfortunately.
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#43 larrybud

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 12:46 PM

I'm sure some from my neck of the woods (I made a funny!) have played Dunham Hills GC.    I always think of this course when I think of overgrown.  

3rd hole, fairways slopes severely from right to left, so much so that there's a big dip around 150 from the green that balls collect on the left side.  Then of course, there's a tree which overhangs that side of the fairway, so you end up being blocked out 9 out of 10 times, and this is being in the fairway.  I don't often see a ball hang up on the right side of the FW to give a clear shot to the green.

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#44 bervin

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:28 PM

Not a complaint, nor a supporting argument for heavy tree-lined courses, but sort of an interesting factoid.  A course I play routinely in NW Florida for $25 to ride 18 holes birthed the talents of Bubba Watson, Boo Weekly and Heath Slocum (to a much lesser extent).  This course is super short, super tight and huge trees everywhere.  Most WRXrs would turn their noses up and call it a goat track, no doubt - but I enjoy playing it as I competed there in High School (as did Bubba and Boo).  It is really interesting though that this course produced a game like Bubba Watsons who hasn't hit a straight ball in his life.  Everything is moving one way or another.  If nothing else, this course taught them (and me, too) how to hit real punch shots with accuracy and great control.  In fact, Boo did an interview a few years back for the Golf Channel after hitting a 4iron punch shot to a couple feet and said "If you grew up playing at Tanglewood (the name of the course I am referring to), you'd know how to hit that shot, too!"  It makes a lot more sense that it helped shape Boo's game, as his strength is ball striking.

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#45 teejaywhy

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 10:37 PM

View Postputtingmatt, on 20 August 2017 - 06:16 PM, said:

Frankly, tree lined fairways reward accuracy, and really makes for a better tournament.

A silly statement. Frankly.


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#46 teejaywhy

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 10:54 PM

View PostFerguson, on 21 August 2017 - 05:40 AM, said:

The cost to keep trees cut back is enormous.

Better fairways and greens, or getting the overgrowth cut back - it's a choice.

View Postuitar9, on 22 August 2017 - 07:15 AM, said:


Yer gonna pay for maintenance. I think I prefer decent greens, decent fairways and decent tee boxes. I'll either figure out the trees, curse them or lay up.

These goals are not mutually exclusive.  Trees block airflow and compete with turf for sunlight and nutrients.   Fewer trees encroaching on the playing areas can provide for healthier turf.  Healthier turf = better playing conditions.

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#47 uitar9

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:41 AM

View Postteejaywhy, on 22 August 2017 - 10:54 PM, said:

View PostFerguson, on 21 August 2017 - 05:40 AM, said:

The cost to keep trees cut back is enormous.

Better fairways and greens, or getting the overgrowth cut back - it's a choice.

View Postuitar9, on 22 August 2017 - 07:15 AM, said:

Yer gonna pay for maintenance. I think I prefer decent greens, decent fairways and decent tee boxes. I'll either figure out the trees, curse them or lay up.

These goals are not mutually exclusive.  Trees block airflow and compete with turf for sunlight and nutrients.   Fewer trees encroaching on the playing areas can provide for healthier turf.  Healthier turf = better playing conditions.
Agreed. But if you got a lot of mature trees today, the long term benefit to turf is gonna cost you big bucks today.

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#48 HoosierMizuno

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:28 AM

View PostFerguson, on 21 August 2017 - 05:40 AM, said:

The cost to keep trees cut back is enormous.

Better fairways and greens, or getting the overgrowth cut back - it's a choice.

its also a choice on whether to go back and play a course that has large overgrown trees too close to the tee bed or greens which impede your tee shot or approach even when hitting the fairway. yes trimming trees is expensive, but i've played a couple courses that i would never play again because they penalize good shots or just take a bit of luck to get by. i can think of a few courses nearby where we avoid the course because it isn't fun yet could be a really great course if they removed some of the overhanging trees that have outgrown the course.
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#49 nix

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:54 AM

my course has too many trees, most old courses have too many trees.

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#50 halliedog

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 09:42 PM

My course has a few that are getting overgrown.  

Hole 5 is a par 5, the #1 HC hole.  Not really reachable in 2 for most players, but you hit the right side of the fairway with your drive and you are forced to hit hit a low cuter to get into the fairway for your approach.  I don't mind this hole, as there's ample room in the fairway down the left side, so if you know what you're doing off the tee shouldn't be an issue.

Hole 8 has a huge Oak about 40 yds in  front of the tee box on the left side - if you can't hit a stinger or a draw you run the risk of hitting the overhanging branches or usually blow it way right into bad rough or more trees.  I hate this hole, as I have almost no chance.  All of the guys I play with either launch it lower than me, or can draw it around, so not a problem for them.

Hole 13 is a par 3 with a wide green and an old oak overhanging the right edge.  If pin is left no issue.  If pin is right, you better be able to carve a butter cut in there to get close.  

All in all I think it's a fair setup, and its an older course so not overly long, so I don't mind the few obstacles you have to avoid along the way.  The few holes that do have fairway bunkers are usually not on play with the longer balls/drivers.

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#51 thug the bunny

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 10:02 PM

Just hit a 7i 20 yd cut, sure no problem. I play on two 100 yr old courses that have many overhanging trees. I'm a 10 cap. Imagine how much time that adds to a round of four 20 cappers. My courses also have calf deep fescue rough, and we wonder why people complain about 5 hr rounds. It's time to make resort and muni courses more player friendly in the interest of the game.
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#52 Tcann32

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:55 AM

View Postfinleysg, on 20 August 2017 - 05:53 PM, said:

I helped to run a tournament for fairly good players this weekend.  5 hcp max and a winning score of -3 for the two days. One of the things that I noted was how often the topic of "too many trees" came up from the field of players. This golf course we were playing had fast greens and long, wet rough (we've had a lot of rain), but if you strayed more than 2 or 3 paces into the rough, it didn't matter how long it was because you almost never had any way to move the ball forward anyways. The oaks and spruce (predominately) had grown so large and there were so many of them that a wayward shot was penalized severely. From the back tees, the overhanging branches were a real concern. You might want to work the ball a certain way, but the narrowness of your line of flight made that risky or impossible.

My own home track gets many of the same complaints about the trees, though our fairways are pretty generous and the grounds crew trims the trees below 6-8 ft, so it is a bit more "user friendly" than what we faced this weekend. Still, we could get rid of 1000 trees and both the golfers and the turf would be happier.

I know this topic has come up in relation to major venues like Oakmont, but what about your home course. Do you play a parkland style track, and have the trees become "too much"?

What course was it? We have lots of courses with too many here in MN! lol

We have a ton of older courses that aren't that long, but since they're 100+ years old, even if they're very well maintained (a certain D-Ross course comes to mind in this instance) they can really play difficult because of it, and without trying to sound like a baby, almost too difficult. A tight track doesn't bother me, but a course that's extra tight, cut in the woods with 100 year old, mature oak trees lining every hole leaves almost no room. That scenario was given about a really nice course too.. We have some public ones that the trees are overgrown and even though the fairways aren't super tiny, the trees are grown out over the rough for most the course, and a small miss, almost anywhere is penalized, and if you were to hit a 10 yard miss, there's no escape.

I don't care for courses that are meant to be wooded but really aren't either though.. the ones where the trees aren't mature yet and you can just cut every corner and make easy work of it.
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#53 Tcann32

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:58 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 23 August 2017 - 10:02 PM, said:

Just hit a 7i 20 yd cut, sure no problem. I play on two 100 yr old courses that have many overhanging trees. I'm a 10 cap. Imagine how much time that adds to a round of four 20 cappers. My courses also have calf deep fescue rough, and we wonder why people complain about 5 hr rounds. It's time to make resort and muni courses more player friendly in the interest of the game.

There's a course here in MN that's a lot like what you're talking about it. From the black tee's, at 6600, it's rated at 73/149. Playing there drops your handicap like a rock if you're half decent and can play within yourself to manage the course.
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#54 finleysg

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 09:01 AM

View PostTcann32, on 24 August 2017 - 08:55 AM, said:

View Postfinleysg, on 20 August 2017 - 05:53 PM, said:

I helped to run a tournament for fairly good players this weekend.  5 hcp max and a winning score of -3 for the two days. One of the things that I noted was how often the topic of "too many trees" came up from the field of players. This golf course we were playing had fast greens and long, wet rough (we've had a lot of rain), but if you strayed more than 2 or 3 paces into the rough, it didn't matter how long it was because you almost never had any way to move the ball forward anyways. The oaks and spruce (predominately) had grown so large and there were so many of them that a wayward shot was penalized severely. From the back tees, the overhanging branches were a real concern. You might want to work the ball a certain way, but the narrowness of your line of flight made that risky or impossible.

My own home track gets many of the same complaints about the trees, though our fairways are pretty generous and the grounds crew trims the trees below 6-8 ft, so it is a bit more "user friendly" than what we faced this weekend. Still, we could get rid of 1000 trees and both the golfers and the turf would be happier.

I know this topic has come up in relation to major venues like Oakmont, but what about your home course. Do you play a parkland style track, and have the trees become "too much"?

What course was it? We have lots of courses with too many here in MN! lol

We have a ton of older courses that aren't that long, but since they're 100+ years old, even if they're very well maintained (a certain D-Ross course comes to mind in this instance) they can really play difficult because of it, and without trying to sound like a baby, almost too difficult. A tight track doesn't bother me, but a course that's extra tight, cut in the woods with 100 year old, mature oak trees lining every hole leaves almost no room. That scenario was given about a really nice course too.. We have some public ones that the trees are overgrown and even though the fairways aren't super tiny, the trees are grown out over the rough for most the course, and a small miss, almost anywhere is penalized, and if you were to hit a 10 yard miss, there's no escape.

I don't care for courses that are meant to be wooded but really aren't either though.. the ones where the trees aren't mature yet and you can just cut every corner and make easy work of it.

We were at Dakota Pines (the old Hastings CC). To be clear, I really like this golf course, and I don't think it's unfair (hard in places, yes), but had they spent the money on tree trimming and removal that they spent on their clubhouse, maybe the club would have survived. Since going public it seems like they're doing ok. I hope so, anyway.
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#55 theebdk

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 07:03 AM

I play a tight course that has a lot of trees.  But when I look at some of the original pictures from the course there were barely any trees.  If I am not mistaken adding trees to courses became the thing at some point in time.  Maybe the 50, 60s or 70.  And perhaps at our course they added a lot for safety reasons.  As long as the trees are trimmed up and do not encroach on the fairway, I am fine. What grinds my gears is trees that have grown in above a bunker.  Not sure I understand a hazard on top of a hazard.


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#56 Snowman9000

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 07:37 AM

View PostNard_S, on 21 August 2017 - 11:44 AM, said:

[

Tree removal is quite expensive because it is dangerous and there is high liabilty insurance to carry and  risks to property and the people who do the work. Cherry pickers and wood chippers are not cheap by any means. Wood only commands decent prices when oil is over  $100 a barrel, The cost of cutting a cord and delivering takes most of the profit out of it.

In my neck of the woods, removing one mature tree can run $1500 easily.

OK, but that is retail.  Any course with a significant number of trees to remove ought to learn how to do it with their staff, given some professional instruction of course.  I've owned property with trees, and have felled and cut up a few.  It can be learned.

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#57 thug the bunny

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 09:53 PM

I play an old Ross links course, and old pictures show that the trees were few and small. The main defenses of this course are greens, rough, and wind. Now there are a bunch of holes where trees add to the ancient defenses. They mainly take away entire lines off the tee or force a sideways out as if 3" rough weren't enough.
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#58 warfelg

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 07:20 AM

View Postthug the bunny, on 26 August 2017 - 09:53 PM, said:

I play an old Ross links course, and old pictures show that the trees were few and small. The main defenses of this course are greens, rough, and wind. Now there are a bunch of holes where trees add to the ancient defenses. They mainly take away entire lines off the tee or force a sideways out as if 3" rough weren't enough.

And I would bet those greens are on the smaller size, quite contoured, and have bunkers by the "sweet spot" for pins.

I think there's a bit of a cause and effect where greens started getting faster, so the slops became 'unfair' and the greens lost speed.  So the designers started to flatten greens, and because they didn't have the contours they needed trees to add to the defense.  Next thing you know unless you have a giant flat green with only one or two bunkers you've designed an 'unfair' course.

There's another forum that has a few course architects on the board, and they talk about this quite often and how they can't defend the courses the way they used to be because people deem it as "too tough".

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#59 wkuo3

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 10:53 AM

We love our trees on the golf courses.
Only a few link style golf courses here have very little tree on the golf course.

One golf courses used to have more than 4,000 matured firs and spruce and maple trees, but recent issue with decease and insects had killed off many.

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#60 platgof

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 01:17 PM

In Tennessee we are overgrown nearly every where. I guess if I lived some where else  where trees are rare it would be different. So many older courses here have holes ruined by old trees. Fortunately some storms over the years have taken out a few, but not enough. Some say the trees were already here, but I say so was the grass, and it gets mowed. Poor maintenance and priorities. Copper sulfide anyone?

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