Greate Bay CC held a special event around the removal of an infamous tree on the course.
Joyce Kilmer used the present tense when she wrote, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.”
But many golfers often prefer to use other, decidedly less poetic words about trees that get in the way of their enjoyment of the game. And at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point, N.J., the past-tense of “see” was the operative word for a unique charity event designed to replace a tree that had become particularly vexing to golfers at the nearly 90-year-old course near Atlantic City, on the South Jersey shore.
(The tree in question, which towered over one side of the 5th fairway, wasn’t just annoying to weekend hackers, either; when the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic was held at Greate Bay, even an accomplished pro like Annika Sorenstam was moved to comment, “I don’t see the point in that tree.”)
Eventually all the talk about “seeing” the tree (and all of the swearing at it) led to “sawing” it, after a special fund-raising drive for the First Tee of Greater Atlantic City was created to let members decide its fate. Greate Bay members could “vote” with pledges of a dollar each to either save the tree, or have it removed. The first side to reach $6,000 would have its way.
One prominent member of Greate Bay, former National Hockey League great Bobby Clarke, quickly emerged as the leader of the “cut it down” side. “The good weather this season seems to have given that tree a growth spurt,” Greate Bay’s General Manager, Joel Inman, told the Philadelphia Daily News. “It almost taunts [Clarke].”
So Clarke, who was known for his gap-toothed smile when leading the Philadelphia Flyers to two Stanley Cups in the mid-1970s (and was also accused more than occasionally with using his hockey stick to skillfully carve up opposing players), was said to have stuffed the ballot box with votes (and matching donations) that quickly earned his side the right to create a new gap in the look of the 5th hole.
Once the tree’s fate was sealed, a special ceremony was set up where Clarke and another Greate Bay member who was also eager to see it come down—the Flyers’ colorful TV broadcaster, Steve Coates—worked the ends of a two-man crosscut saw to get the job started (a tree surgeon was on hand to make sure the job was done properly).
This was not just an environmental hatchet job, though – as part of the event, Greate Bay also planted new trees on the course. “We’re working with the youngsters from the First Tee to identify the right spot for the new trees that will take [the old one’s] place,” Inman said.
Tell Us What You Think!
You must be logged in to post a comment.