History of the Eisenhower Tree at the Augusta National Golf Club

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There are many famous golf courses around the world and one of the most historic in America is the Augusta National Golf Club. This course hosts the famous Masters Championships every year and has been doing so for more than 70 years, with the inaugural tournament taking place in 1934. Over the years since this first tournament, much tradition and history has built up about the Masters Championship itself and also the Augusta National Golf Course. There are many famous features on the course and one of these is the Eisenhower Tree.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was one of the most amazing men who ever lived. He rose to the rank of a five-star general in the United States Army and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during the Second World War, then went on to become the first Supreme Commander of NATO. Following his military career he went into politics and again rose to the very top becoming the 34th President of the United States between 1953 and 1961.

In his private life he became an enthusiastic golfer in his later years and regularly played the game at a number of golf courses. During his time as President he played golf frequently and even had basic golf facilities constructed at the Presidential retreat, Camp David so he could indulge his passion when he spent time there. He made his first trip to the famous Augusta National Golf Club in 1948 and during the time he spent there was invited to become a member which he accepted. Following this he played the course regularly during his time as President and into his retirement.

He became close friends with the Club's Chairman Clifford Roberts and became part of the club's board of directors. During his time playing the Augusta National Golf Course he always had trouble playing the 17th hole which is known as Nandina after the small oriental shrub which grows in the area. There is a tall fir tree which stands close to the left hand side of the fairway, around 210 yards from the tee of this par 4 hole. Its branches overhang the fairway and many a golfer has been frustrated to see their golf ball hit the branches of the tree and ruin a good looking tee shot. Eisenhower was one of these and on many occasions he was unfortunate enough to see his ball hit the tree.

This happened so many times when he played the course that he became exasperated enough at a board meeting to make a proposal that the tree be cut down and removed. This happened at a 1956 board meeting and not wanting to offend the President of the United States of America the Chairman of the Board, Clifford Roberts adjourned the meeting immediately rather than reject the proposal outright. In the end Eisenhower’s proposal was never passed and to this day the tree still stands and catches out golfers who play the course. Because of Eisenhower’s close association with the tree, from 1956 onwards it was given his name and became forever known as the Eisenhower Tree.

The Augusta National Golf Course is one of the most historic and storied in the world. The Eisenhower tree is part of this and the tree stands in commemoration of one of the most successful and important men in world history.

More about this author: Ian Farquharson

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