‘The Ancient Oak! — Loss of an Icon
Recently, we suffered a heart-felt loss. A loss that affects all of us in the Lake Wildwood golfing community. A loss that will be felt for many years to come.
After nearly 200 years of existence, the large oak tree which dominated the air space between Hole #18’s tee and the Green, expired. It fell to its final rest, landing across the fairway and exploded much like a glob of decayed wood.
We all know the visual, we have seen it before.
Wow, “that tree made the hole.” The view from the tee box, highlighted by “The Tree,” framed the hole that led to our new, beautiful clubhouse.
Everyone, and I mean everyone who ever played the hole, had to think about that tree. “Do I go over it, under it, around it? I just don’t want to go through it”
Golfers often say a tree is 90-percent air….except THAT tree! Many say that by the time they got through it “that tree is 10-percent air,” if you were lucky!
Here are a few comments I got from members around the clubhouse:
—“After years of trying various techniques; over, under, around and sometimes through, I finally perfected a fade. No need now”
—”Finally, I can hit over you.” a gentleman said after walking up to the fallen tree.
—”Better view of the Clubhouse.” Not sure too many agree with that assessment.
I asked Tyler Knight for his thoughts, “It made a good hole into a somewhat mundane hole.”
I caught Pro Jim Knight and asked if the tree ever had a name. “Oh, over the years, that tree has been called many names.” Doubt most are unprintable.
Most everyone of us had a love-hate relationship with The Tree. Love when we passed it in the wind, hate, when it threw our ball dead right into its brother-and-sister trees which trace the path on the Hole #10.
Whatever that momentary feeling at the time, I think we all agree on one thing, we hate to see The Tree go. It will never be forgotten.
If there is a glimmer of good news, I think this is it. I spoke with agronomist Bill, our head course keeper, a few days after the fall and his mind iwas already turning. Although it is very early in the situation at hand, he is already thinking about ways to put a signature back on our finishing hole. “No surprise, Bill!”….what great guy to have.
On a different note, at a recent board meeting there was a brief discussion about all the rain we’ve experienced this season. I was asked to mention in this article the importance of keeping our golf carts on the carts paths. Please don’t pass other carts unless you are certain there is a dry spot on the uphill side of the path.
When approaching the tee boxes. let the longest hitter be in front so they can proceed to their just-hit ball without leaving the path to go around our cart.
Finally, on the red flag days, consider doubling up on the carts. It will speed up play.
If you are on the opposite side of the fairway from the cart path, your partner can assist in advancing the cart after your hit your ball and remain on the opposite side of play if need be. It makes sense.
Now that it’s “daylight Savings Time,” maybe we can get some sun to come along with it. — Vince McNamara
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