Feature Design


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Trees were not present on the original courses located on the linksland of Scotland. Their use in golf course design began on parkland courses. The many different sizes, textures and colours permit trees to be used in a variety of situations including framing, safety, aesthetics, shade and to act as a hazard.

Trees are an effective means to frame a golf hole and to restrict views into neighbouring holes. Broad crowns with branches near the ground are ideal for this situation. Evergreens extend the season for this use into early spring and late fall when deciduous trees have no leaves.

On tight courses trees can provide a degree of safety from errant golf shots. Tall specimens with dense foliage afford the best protection.

The aesthetic appeal of trees takes many forms. A large specimen tree standing by itself becomes the focus of the landscape. Masses of large trees will dominate the golf hole. Various shades of green or the colour of blossoms create beauty surrounding tees, greens and fairways. Textures, shapes and heights are used with favourable aesthetic effect. The appropriate choice and placement of trees will attract many types of birds and wildlife.

There are also several negative aspects to the use of trees. Turfgrass quality declines under heavy shade. Roots interfere with maintenance machinery and rob moisture from the soil. Debris in the form of leaves, twigs and fruit impedes maintenance and playability. Heavy foliage near ground level will decrease air circulation and promote disease.

Trees can add great beauty and strategy to the golf course, but the types and location must be carefully considered to avoid the many problems which may develop.