Here are the unedited (except for minor spelling/punctuation) comments received during the discussion period regarding potential redesign of this hole.

Strategically there are at least three ways to make a good shot at #8 .. with the tree standing.  Without the tree, the hole becomes just another relatively boring downhill par three, and a quite forgiving and easy hole.  #8/17 would immediately become the easiest scoring hole on the course.

One of the most alluring parts of this game — at least, it’s so for me — is that it asks me to adapt and learn, while I’m knowing and accepting that I’ll never have it figured out.  But, no matter how old or rusty or tired I become, for the rest of my days I can keep trying to expand my repertoire of expected/hoped-for good shots.  The tree is one of those quirky things — which ALL good courses have — that will challenge us (as golfers) to keep working at learning different ways to play, while being creative.

If our club is to thrive over the long term, the LIGC needs to be found special and intriguing and appealing — by golfers who are not currently members.  The course has to be attractive AND challenging.  I strongly believe that removal of the tree would make it less so in both regards.

*****

The Lopez golf course is not an incredibly difficult course. The 8th (17th) hole is an interesting challenge. A drive to the left at the bank means a lovely roll onto the green. Properly played one can see, if not a hole in one, certainly a two. Removing the tree not a good idea.

 *****

We are against removing the tree on #8/17 green.  We both feel the tree adds interest and challenge to the hole and would simplify the hole too much if it is removed.  We also are not sure whether removing the tree would change the course rating and if so, do we want a lesser rating?

*****

The tree on #8 should remain;  otherwise the hole will be a cake-walk.

*****

I am against removing the tree.  I believe the tree makes the hole interesting.  Good golfers are able to put the ball on the green in one, and putt for a birdie or par. I'm not a good golfer, but I enjoy the few ponds, sand traps, and trees as a challenge.  Sometimes I get lucky, and sometimes I don't.  All well designed golf courses include hazards and challenges. I have played with many of our visitors to the island, and none have ever complained about the tree…..or anything else about the course, for that matter.

*****

I think the tree should be left as it is.  It adds to the character of the course!

*****

What is the cost involved in removing the tree and grinding the stump to ground level?

*****

I think the tree should be removed and a big trap should be put around the left.  The dirt from the trap and more should be mounded in the front to provide some much-needed terrain.  Also, by the way for the future, why not dig out some part of 2 and or 3, long and narrow in line with the fence, to add interest and drainage of the swamp that sometimes occurs.  The fill could be used to add some terrain here and there.  I had a look at the site for a No. 8 tee box to the right — looks way too intrusive to me.  

*****

Having spent 40+ years learning to hit into the green by going to the left of the tree and taking advantage of the hillside to roll toward the green, I do not find the tree objectionable.  However, I could adapt if the membership wants to remove it.

I would object to expanding the sand bunker.  We find it hard to maintain good ones anyway and we don't need that extra "interest" or "risk=reward".  I would also object to longer grass on the hill to the left.  That will still be a good way to access the green by rolling off that hillside.  I don't know what a "berm" on that side would mean.  A sand trap to the left and rear of the green might be a good idea, so one ended up in the sand rather than in the deep brush if hitting the ball too far on that side.

*****

It seems I rarely hit a good straight shot off the #8 tee box and when I do half the time the ball gets knocked down by the oversized tree that blocks half the green. I think the tree should be removed and the hole could be made more interesting and beautified in the future.

*****

The points that Jim, Sue and Jim present are the most accurate as pertains to #8/17.  The tree has always been a punishment for many of us hh golfers, when its beauty belies its peril.  Their suggestions for fixing the hole are precise and agreeable to us.  Although the tree does increase interest to the hole, overall it is a challenge that should not be, given the overall user-friendliness of our course.  The green is very challenging and with the removal of trees surrounding it the health of the green will be greatly improved and probably make the green even more challenging.  Getting on it should not be an exercise in futility because of that darn tree.

*****

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.  The #8/17 hole is a beautiful golf hole which can be enhanced both from a visual and play aspect.  With the tree which blocks the approach to the green removed you would see a beautiful green tucked into a forest setting.  With some additional enhancements the hole could become a signature hole; ie., bunker, plantings, tee enlargement.  I have never seen a golf hole, especially a par three hole, which had a tree blocking the approach to the green.  The position of the tree penalizes a good golf shot to the green especially if the pin is positioned forward in the green.  I believe the tree should be removed.  I would suggest that one way to solve the tree problem is to have a fund raiser.  Have each faction, to remove or not remove, raise funds for their cause.  The money would go to enhance #8/17 and any left over goes to a designated course need.  The faction which raises the most money wins their position.  Either way the course wins!

*****

Let's save the tree if we are going to move the # 8 tee box on new location…. If tee box remains same location…tree needs to go and replaced with "grass bunker" front left.

*****

The tree should be left in place. It creates challenges in how to best reach the green, to go over, to play the hill to the left or to run past on either side. There are trees in fairways on number 1 and number 6. They too will potentially punish players for a "good" shot. They also create visual and physical obstructions that force each player to be thoughtful in how to best overcome those obstacles given their skills, abilities and styles of play.  Leave the tree on hole 8.

*****

I see no reason to remove the tree.  The only rational that I can come up with is that it would make it easier to try for a hole in one or some similar thing.  We have a short course anyway and I like the idea of keeping some interesting challenges.

*****

Please, please save the tree.  We need it to help offset global warming.

*****

Please do not remove the tree.  It adds much needed uniqueness and challenge to the course.  My boys’ weekend group love that hole and were even dismayed when the tree was pruned back a few years ago. Without it, the hole becomes a rather pedestrian par 3.

*****

We would like to see the tree stay.  It is no different than the trees on the first/tenth holes.  You just have to play around them.  If you shoot for the left side of the tree, the ball will roll down onto the green.  We have only been playing a couple of years and we could figure this out. ; )  The tree is beautiful and healthy.  Why go to the work, time, and expense of removing it?  Keep it!  That's our opinion.

*****

Trees are part of our course and should remain unless they become a hazard to people or buildings. Our course is rated for difficulty/slope with these trees in place, and to change that would/could change our slope/difficulty rating…leave the trees alone!

*****

The tree is not a "hazard"; it is an obstacle that prevents low straight hitters from getting on the green.  I have never seen a par 3 with a tree in front of the green. No golf course architect would design a tree in the middle of a path to the green; it is not a part of design criteria.  The hole is long enough, narrow around the green, bunkered, and will demand a well-placed shot without it. 

Put another bunker left, now that's a nice par 3–

*****

I'm sure that you know my opinion, but it ain't that huge a deal.   I can keep hitting the ##** thing if that is the majority vote.   Love the "save me " sign.  

*****

I would vote to take out the tree.  Then add a sand trap on the left side of the green leaving a 20-25 foot entrance to the green.  The sand would also catch water from the side of the hill in winter letting the green dry.  No sand trap, leave the tree.    

*****

I vote to "leave well enough alone" which means to leave things as they are.  We have trees in the fairway on #'s 1, 2, 6, as well as #8. I think of this as an attribute of a "short course" and gives some interest.  Also no need to spend time or money on this.  I do relate to the concern as this week I hit the perfect shot, headed to what was probably a hole in one but hit the top of the tree dead on and bounced back 50' towards the tee. But what the hey, I got a bogey anyway.

*****

When I joined LIGC one of the things I liked best was the quirky course. Sadly, most of those quirks have gone away under the banner of improvement.  Board members wanted a course "as good as any in Seattle" (an actual quote.)  I like the tree; it does not bother me at all.  I would like to retain at least a few of the things that makes this a funky island course.

*****

I am opposed to the removal of the tree on #8 for the following reasons:

The tree has been there for a lot of years.  It is the single characteristic that defines the eighth hole.  Generations of golfers have learned to cope with the tree.  The risk/reward is that if you hit a good shot over, under or around the tree you will be rewarded by being on the green.

There are plenty of other trees that could be considered for removal for the same reason proposed for removing the #8 tree.  The trees on the first hole and the tree in the fairway on #6 come to mind.

The tree provides character with minimal cost.  To spend money to cut down the tree, grind the stump and replant the area and then spend more money to make the hole "more interesting" doesn't seem in the best interest of the club.  The #8 hole has plenty of interest as it is currently configured.  All of the suggested methods to make the hole "more interesting" after the tree is gone will be maintenance problems.

Once the tree is gone you can't get it back!

*****

I remember the first time I came upon “The Tree”. More so than merely interesting I thought “How unique” and then, as realization set in, “How Challenging!”

I quickly learned even though there are several ways to play the hole, each takes a purposeful stroke requiring perfect execution and often a different club depending on conditions, including my play to this point.

By that I mean, knowing “The Tree” is looming down course, as I tee off on number one I begin refining my swing in anticipation of attempting that perfect and purposeful shot so I can shout “HA!” at “The Tree” passing by on my way to a birdie.

That hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t blame “The Tree” for my score any more than my triple bogey often made on number nine, where trees are operating as a gang! When do we do something about them?? Or that guy on number one who keeps side-stepping into my line of fire?

In reality, what I am forced to learn dealing with “The Tree” on number eight prepares me for confronting those other guys when they come into play. “The Tree” is making me a better golfer. Thank you Tree!

Without “The Tree” number eight becomes a bowling alley ending in a funnel and all you have to do is stay out of the gutter on the left. Any flub-a-dub hit would eventually work out. You could putt from tee to green like in miniature golf.

Without “The Tree” our whole course becomes less challenging, less educational, less fun and much less interesting. Nothing could replace it to re-create those attributes and be as cheap to maintain in cost and effort.

Without “The Tree” our course is no longer unique.

I agree with “The Tree”, which speaks to us simply…….”Save Me”.

*****

The tree has been the topic for discussion for years and perhaps it is a good time to put it up to the members for a vote; however, we have more important uses for our limited funds such as equipment repair, irrigation system repairs, etc.  I suggest that the people who proposed the removal of the tree, raise separate funds to pay for removal of the tree and its stump, groom the ground and replant grass. This could serve as a model for other members' pet projects in the future.

 *****

I vote that we keep the tree. If this tree goes, then others will be ripe for the picking. Thank you for asking for individual opinions.

*****

I am not in favor of removing any of the trees in play. They vex me at times (many, many times), but given how wide open most of the course is, I think it's good to have them to reward accuracy and punish inaccuracy… 

*****

I think the main reason to remove the tree is stated in the proposal. It punishes good shots. I also doubt that any golf course architect anywhere on the planet thought that putting a tree directly in front of a par 3, or any green for that matter, is a good design feature.  

*****

I would like to think that removing a significant challenge would be the wrong approach. If you do anything, just trim it up. Challenges are a good thing.

*****

I believe the tree should remain to keep our course rating at the level it is.

*****

Good idea. It's smack in the middle of the fairway.  A bunker would be more appropriate 

*****

I have always been in favor of taking down the tree because when I hit a good shot at that green and hit the tree I always say cut it down.

*****

We vote to keep the tree.  A number of years ago this topic came up for discussion and it was decided the tree should stay.  It is a part of the course that makes it  a challenge and  unique.  

*****

Proposal is well presented. I support removal of said tree.

*****

I'm in favor of keeping the tree.  It adds a wild-card aspect to the course.  On another issue I like the idea of adding the additional tee box and expanding the screen on 8/17.

*****

My vote is NO, leave the tree there.

*****

We prefer that that tree at the eighth green remain.  It makes that hole more interesting.

*****

This is not a good idea.  That tree gives that hole character.  It's always been there, why change it.  If it's because it makes the hole a little easier I guess we could cut all the trees on the course and that would make it really easy.

 *****

We support the removal of the tree.  Why?  Because I’m often right behind the damn thing!!!!

*****

I like that tree. For me, a 15+- handicapper, it makes for a challenging but fair test. Although I have not been successful this year, I have dropped it over the tree onto the green which is very exciting and adds to the fun of playing LIGC. Landing to the left side of  the tree usually gets a kick to the right. (I miss not having the 2nd flag (17th) as it makes for an even more challenging and fun shot.) Having tough holes near the end of a round adds to a course’s appeal, in my opinion. I realize a lot of members can't go over the tree, however there are other ways. 

I would suggest that the players who want to take the tree down, instead of getting out the chain saw, they get out their clubs and practice the kind of  shot that could work for them on that hole. Perhaps they could invite Steve Nightingale to give a special lesson on how to attack that hole. Just joking, kind of. 

If you are going to rev up the chain saw to make the course easier, why not take out all the trees that are in fairways.  Hole 1(10) has two trees between the tee box and green. Hole #2 (11) has two trees, one out in front of the back tee box and one on the left side  closer to the green. #6 (15) has a tree on the left side at approximately the 150 yard marker. I have either hit or been handcuffed by these trees (mostly pretty good shots) more often than the one being voted on. Of course those trees are not going to be taken down! They have always been part of the course, as is the #8 tree. 

Par 3 greens often have sand/water/grass bunker-berm protecting the front side, making for a more interesting tee shot. We have a tree. Any of these 3 alternative options would be more expensive to install/maintain and would not make the hole easier.

Even though my response is slightly "tongue in cheek," my vote will be to leave the tree. 

*****

Three reasons why removing the tree is a bad idea:

1.  It’s just silly.  There’s no reason or logic to making the course “easier” to play.  Even though LIGC doesn’t have a lot of hills, water hazards, bunkers, length, etc.  Why make it easier?  I’m proud that while it may appear easier, once you play it, you respect it.

2.  Unnecessary expense for a club that doesn’t have cash to be spent on unnecessary changes.

3.  Probably most important, the whole request seems to conflict with the spirit and more important the Bylaws of the Club.  It doesn’t appear this request is the result of a properly noticed and approved motion by the Board, even the required 14 day notice prior to the Membership meeting.  There’s nothing wrong with the Board asking for non-binding opinions from the members, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  I’d much rather see the Board making decisions rather than general membership.  If the Board wants the tree removed, I’ll support that.

*****

From what I have seen online from other clubs and/or recommendations on how to handle changes to the course, only the greens committee votes on changes.  That way members are encouraged to get involved with the greens committee if they feel strongly about the course.

Opening the vote to the membership will be interesting.   I agree, it does level the playing field as members with strong ties to the members on the greens committee cannot be seen as having influenced the decision.  However, after thinking about this, I am wondering about if this sets a precedent.  In the future, how do you determine what kinds of decisions can be handled solely by the greens committee and which ones to put to the membership?  I recommend that you include an explanation with the information you send out that the greens committee still has sole authority to decide what changes will be made to the course and that this vote is not official, but will be used as advisory information for the decision of the greens committee.  Of course, if the club has different bylaws about the role of the greens committee, I withdraw my comments!

Just thought I should mention this as I remembered about this potential issue when reading about course changes on several golf forums online.

I do look forward to other members' comments.   At the Memorial event I was chatting with Donnie and he suggested a big mound there so you would still have to hit over something.  I really like that idea.   We would need more dirt, but we can get that by reshaping the hillside leading up to the tee.  That is something I have been interested in doing anyway.

*****

I say keep the tree. Not bad to have the challenge.

*****

While we are not great players ourselves and taking out that tree might help our score on that hole, we don’t want to “dumb down” the course. We want to strive to get better.

*****

The tree on 8/17 makes it an interesting hole. Without it and no other change reduces it to a hole with little or no character. However, if the tree was removed and a large sand bunker placed on the left-front of the green it would retain the character of a challenging hole. Otherwise it is just roll the ball down the hill!

*****

I think the tree should stay because:

1. It makes for a unique and challenging hole

2. It keeps the course slope rating high

3. Its sinister and unnatural appearance seems to cause some golfers to blame it for their failure when playing the hole. Depriving those golfers of such a course feature denies them the opportunity for improvement in both shot making as well as personal responsibility. 

*****

I believe that removal of the said tree is a good idea, and have thought so since I became a member.  I don't always get a good tee shot at these holes but when I do I've been disappointed to have the tree take the shot away on more instances than I care to think about.  I agree with all that was stated in the proposal.

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I'm in support of removal of the tree only on the grounds that the sand trap be installed at the same time. My only reasoning is for aesthetics.

*****

Will removal of the tree change the slope rating of our golf course? What would replace it to keep our same rating?

*****

I will be voting to save the life of the tree!  We need all the help we can get to offset global warming!   

*****

The plan as spelled out in the memo does not make a compelling argument to remove the tree based on risk/reward criteria.

If you remove the tree and replace it with grass as the extension of the fairway, it will reward those that have a poor shot and are unable to carry the ball flight into the green.  If the proposal was to add a “grass bunker” where it would require more skill to execute a chip rather than a much easier shot with fairway grass.

Based on how the current plan is proposed, I would vote to KEEP the tree where it is.

If there are changes to the current plan that will provide a more eloquent solution (grass/sand bunker, etc.), I would be in favor of the tree removal.