Jeff Brauer, ASGCA, shares his thoughts on a touchy subject – golf course tree removal – in an article for “Golf Course Industry” magazine. A long list of anticipated benefits, including environmental, playabilty and more, must be weighed against the emotions long-time members have for some of nature’s wonders.

“Members are more open to tree removal now after seeing many famous courses selectively remove trees and still maintain their character, difficulty and charm,” Brauer writes.

“Trees are important to most golf courses, defining doglegs, separating holes, and providing backdrop, filtered shade, strategy, penalty and character. They also cost money – both in direct maintenance and indirectly in golf course maintenance. In cost-conscious times, each tree needs to be functional, or multi-functional, while presenting few problem to be justifiable. Less definitely can be more.

“Trees can impact play in bad ways, especially low-branched trees that hide balls and plantings that have unintentionally narrowed fairways or caused “forced draws and fades.” These may be problems a golf course architect will identify.

“As for aesthetics, your golf architect will know that:

  • Aesthetics can be improved by removing trees, by opening up long-distance views.
  • Carefully located tree groups can serve several holes equally and minimize planting.
  • Random clumps are more attractive than straight lines.
  • This isn’t an arboretum. Except for key areas, plantings needn’t be showy and expensive.”

The complete article can be found here.