Cut Them Down Guilt-Free

I have some advice on trees. Cut them down. I know you are thinking: easy for you to say Golf Course Owner Guy, your course has no trees. That is true. But at one time it had a few trees, and I deliberately cut them down. You know what’s even more interesting, there was a time when your course had no trees either. Someone thought planting a few thousand too many was a good idea. Now the best idea is to kill them. Here’s why….

A superintendent gave a talk to members of his Board on why the trees at their club could be too close. He talked for an hour, but he claims the one thing he said that resonated was this: “gentleman (it was an all male club), acorns cover 4 of our greens. That could be a sign that maybe the trees are a little too close”. The members were like, yeah that is kind of annoying. Good point.

Trees might be annoying for game play, but trees have a greater detriment. As a club, your hired the Super because he’s an expert in agronomy, let me re-phrase, the dude can grow grass. You paid him a lot. Then you sit around and bitch that losing an 80 year old tree would be so “sad”. Why does your Super want to cut down that 80 year old tree, because he can’t grow grass!

cut them down
I Have Started to Cut Them Down

It’s that simple…grass will not grow in the shade. Grass will not grow where it’s damp. Grass will not grow where there is restricted air movement. Grass will not grow with all those damn roots searching for water along the surface. No one has figured out how to grow grass under them…ever. Stop hugging the tree.

Cut Them Down, It Was a Bad Idea From Beginning

There is a good chance that when those trees you love so much were planted, you were merely a glimmer in your father’s eye. The course was there, the turfgrass was strong, it played beautifully.

Your great grandfather and his buddies thought is was a good idea to plant “pretty trees” everywhere. He was a WWI soldier, and he thought maybe planting them all in a row, was an even better idea. Then your grandfather watched them grow, first he could easily get around them, now he can’t even punch out. Now you, the great grandson hug them and refuse to cut them down. Amazing, 80 years later, all we want to do is get back to where we began. All we want to do is be able to grow grass again.

One of the reasons our course is so wonderful is the total lack of trees. Every day in the country; renovations are happening that cut down 1,000 trees per course. The main reason, they can’t grow grass. But what about all those places who can longer afford to cut down these trees? Like pretty much every single golf course in Wisconsin that isn’t a high end private club. What is the future for places like this? I don’t think the future for playable golf is too good, and that is the real “sadness”. A course like this one, will always prevail.


  1. mark musial June 2, 2020
    • Nick Stephens, PGA June 2, 2020

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