Is your golf club on par with it’s Tree Condition Surveys?

Tree condition surveys are the foundation of maintaining a safe and healthy golf course… but why?

Because trees offer a myriad of services both physiological and psychological, without which the experience for the player is seriously diminished. This article looks at five reasons club managers should regularly engage the services of an arboricultural consultant to undertake tree safety inspections. We also discuss some of the less obvious ways in which trees benefit golf players. First; here’s why your club should always be up to date with its tree safety surveys:


1. Tree Condition Surveys ensure safety on the course

Safety is important for any outdoor recreation and golf courses are no exception. Trees add character and can mitigate unwanted noise and visual distraction on the course, but they can also pose potential hazards. Tree condition surveys can identify structural issues, weak branches, signs of disease and other issues that may not be noticed during regular groundskeeping activities. Particular care must be taken to identify any hazards close to target areas such as branches overhanging walkways, fairways and greens. Early identification of these issues can mitigate potential accidents through appropriate remedial work such as pruning.

2. Regular inspections improve tree health and longevity

Like any living organism, a tree requires care to flourish. This is especially true of trees in manmade or heavily managed environments. Through regular inspections, arboricultural consultants are able to detect signs of disease, insect infestation or inadequate nutrition early and provide solutions to prevent further or unnecessary deterioration. Timely intervention can be the difference between a tree experiencing stress (from which it can recover) or strain (from which recovery is more difficult). An example of intervention is soil decompaction, which enables more oxygen to circulate in the soil around the tree roots facilitating better uptake of nutrients and improving the health of the tree.

3. Tree condition surveys benefit landscape aesthetics

Visual appeal is an obvious criterion for any golf club manager and tree condition surveys can help identify the succession by which trees may be lost from the landscape enabling long-term planning for their replacement. Trees are pivotal to the aesthetics and enjoyment of the course; framing holes, creating shade and offering shelter from drizzle. Regular tree condition surveys ensure that the course retains its charm by supplying a schedule of works that addresses any issues such as unbalanced growth or poor form early in a tree’s development. Engaging an arboricultural consultant who does not undertake tree surgery work relieves management from the concern that an arborist may be suggesting unnecessary work (that only serves to create more income for the arborist).

4. Enhanced environmental stewardship

The range and significance of environmental services provided by trees on golf courses cannot be underestimated and good arboricultural consultancy and regular tree condition surveys can really enhance these benefits. The golf course itself is an ecosystem whose microclimate and habitat provision is moderated by the flora and fauna it contains. To name just a few of the many ecosystem services; trees support local wildlife, sequester carbon, intercept rainfall and reduce the impact of wind on buildings. Tree condition surveys enable the club to identify and respond to any signs of stress that may be affecting the trees, and then implement appropriate measures to mitigate such stressors and maximise the benefits of the trees to the recreational facility.

5. Improved financial planning

Investing in routine tree safety inspections, such as an annual Tree Condition Survey, might initially seem like an additional cost but it can save substantial amounts of money in the long term. Swift identification of tree-related issues often results in the capacity to ‘nip them in the bud’ and prevents the escalation of problems that could later be more costly to deal with, such as emergency tree removal after a storm. As well as this; healthy trees and an ecologically sound approach to tree management is a marketable commodity; something a club can pride itself in and golfers can enjoy all year round.


And why is it that golfers enjoy trees on the course so much? Here are the top five reasons you should prioritise the health of your trees for all the members of the club to enjoy:

  1. Trees create backdrops and reduce undesirable views
  2. Trees are signature features that help identify doglegs on the course
  3. Trees provide protection and safety separation from other parts of the course
  4. Trees cast shade and reduce the effect of wind on the course and at the clubhouse
  5. Trees are signature features that frame the course and enhance the environment

If you manage a leisure facility and haven’t had a Tree Condition Survey recently, you are advised to arrange one to ensure your trees do not pose an unacceptable risk to anyone attending your property.

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