6 Unforgettable Golf Course Icons
Mother Nature did President Dwight Eisenhower a favor 45 years too late when she took out the famous Eisenhower Tree with a mid-February ice storm.
Eisenhower, an Augusta National member from 1948 until his death in 1969, had lobbied for the removal of the 65-foot high Loblolly pine from the left side of the 17th fairway but was rebuffed. The incident earned the tree the Eisenhower name and it became one of the iconic features on the world-famous course.
In honor of the difficult loss of the tree last month, here are six notable course icons that help give some of the world’s best courses a big part of their identity.
Island Green at TPC Sawgrass – The 17th green at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course is an intimidating site and has gotten the best of amateur and pro golfers alike for years. There’s no where to go and its either all wet or dry, a tad unfair in the sometimes windy Atlantic coast conditions. Designed by Pete Dye, the 17th at Sawgrass has been often imitated but never completely duplicated over the past 30 years.
Church Pews bunker at Oakmont Country Club – Members are sometimes referred to as masochists at this unforgiving track. Oakmont is known for having some of, if not THE fastest greens in the world – they actually slow them down for professional tournament play. Adding to the torture are the Church Pews bunker, one of the nastiest you will ever see. Proceed with caution.
Bethpage Black Course Warning Sign – You have heard all about it, The Black Course at Bethpage State Park. The one players sleep in their cars overnight for a chance to play. Well, if you do get a chance to test this public gem – it has hosted a pair of U.S. Opens – bring your A-game or stay home. You’ll need it as the sign that greets you before play warns.
Troon North-Monument Course Boulder – On the third hole on the Monument Course at this desert classic course in Scottsdale, Ariz., watch out for the giant boulder in the middle of the fairway. During construction of the Tom Weiskopf design in 2007 the boulder was too heavy to move, so it was included into the course design and became the namesake for the course.
Harbour Town Lighthouse
The most difficult hole on the course, the 18th, is also one of the most picturesque and beautiful. The par-4 is at its toughest when the wind is blowing off the Calibogue Sound. The lighthouse in the background is the identifying feature of this hole and the entire course for that matter and sets up a scene and a shot that rivals any closing holes in golf.
The Road Hole at The Old Course at St. Andrews
One of the best-known holes in golf – No. 17, has an actual road in play.
A blind tee shot, shallow green and treacherous bunker make the road hole a test from beginning to end. The bunker is sometimes also called “the Sands of Nakajima,” after Japanese golfer Tommy Nakajima, who was in contention at the 1978 British Open until he hit into the Road bunker and needed four swings to get out.
Featured image of the Eisenhower Tree at Augusta National courtesy of Masters.com.