Some trees seem to be able to move with you, only to make it harder for you to send the ball into the hole. Unless you are playing on a
haunted golf course
, it should be just an impression. It should.
Until a few years ago, there was a tree atAugusta National with an unholy reputation. He was said to have turned on one of the great minds of World War II, starting an all-out fight against him. It was called theEisenhower Tree and was the obsession of the general and future president of the United States.
Eisenhower’s most hated tree.
It is 1948, a few years after the end of the war. Eisenhower finally enjoys some peace and becomes a member ofAugusta National, which he loves. For him, it’s a perfect golf club with a perfect golf course in every respect except one: the damn pine tree on 17
In itself, there is nothing special about the pine: it is a taeda pine, native to the southeastern United States, nearly 200 meters tall. The problem is that it stands right in the middle of the fairway on the 17th hole: it seems to be made on purpose to trap balls in its devilish fronds. Or at least, to trap Eisenhower’s balls.
Every blessed time he goes to play at Augusta, he hits that gosh darn tree: this can’t go on. The tree has to disappear. From 1948 until 1969, Eisenhower fought one of his toughest and most violent battles, namely to get the damn pine tree cut down. Battle he will never win.
In spite of his role as the nation’s leader, Eisenhower is unable to succeed against the tree, which remains truncated in place. His hatred is so strong and so manifest that the tree acquires a name: theEisenhower tree.
The sad end of the legendary pine tree
Eisenhower dies without succeeding against the terrible tree, which remains with its roots firmly in the fairway of the 17th hole. On its own, the tree continues to exert its harassing influence on anyone who approaches the hole, just as if it had a personality of its own.
In 1999, as they renovated the course, there was talk of cutting it to clear the fairway, but nothing came of it. In 2003, Pine was accused by Tommy Aaron of “eating” one of his balls during the Masters. In 2011, he tripped Tiger Woods, who fell and injured his Achilles tendon.
Despite all this-or perhaps because of it-the pine tree has too strong a personality to really cut it. In its own way, the Eisenhower tree is a piece of Augusta National history. Then come the events of 2014 and the tree dies.
In this terrible year, an ice storm hits the golf club and pine tree. Ice bullets wound it deeply, the tree begins to decay. Desperate, club leaders call the country’s top arborists to rescue him. Unfortunately, the experts are unanimous: there is nothing left for the Eisenhower tree.
A new home for the Eisenhower tree.
The pine tree is a piece of the club’s history, as mentioned: they cannot just uproot it. To keep its memory intact,Augusta National Golf Club has a section of it cut. Now the last fragment of the tree that so angered Eisenhower rests behind a shrine, in imperishable memory of so many lost balls.
Where one tree dies, however, another can always grow back. Dalmeny Golf Club, in Scotland, itself has a tree named in honor of Eisenhower, although this is an oak tree. Upon news of the pine tree’s death, the club sends an acorn to Augusta National so it can plant a new Eisenhower tree.
I wonder if this will anger another U.S. president.