Augusta National Golf Club is known for many things, one of which is its unique array of plants and trees. The founder, Bobby Jones, had been searching far and wide for the perfect spot for a new golf course, looking for a place with natural beauty. Upon finding the current Augusta location at the home of the previous Fruitland Nursery, he knew he had found the perfect home. Already flourishing from the ornamental plant business, the site cultivated a horticultural reputation.
Now, many years later, the trees and plants are well-known among players and spectators even while residing in Augusta, Georgia where weather can get quite frigid. The original Fruitland company imported plants from around the world, from China to Australia. These plants continued to flourish, and help make up the more than 80,000 plants and 350 varieties of the Augusta National Golf Club. One of the most prominent spots on the course is “the Tree,” a gathering place under a beautiful oak tree that shades the back of the golf clubhouse.
Every par has a unique feel, with par-3 being no different. This hole was initially called “Palm” due to the numerous palm trees planted beside it, but in a winter storm many of these warmer-climate trees died. The par was renamed to “Flowering Crab Apple,” however peeking out from behind other foliage could be spotted one lone palm tree that survived the storm.
Hidden among a bamboo forest and in an off-limits area to spectators, the lone palm became somewhat of a tall-tale and trivial question more than a display piece. Why would a palm tree be flourishing in this atypical region? However, a few angles did reveal the tree, including one time in a 1964 tournament when Tommy Jacobs made his caddy climb this famed palm to try and find his lost ball.
Recently, there has been some significant changes to the course architecture, with the fifth hole being lengthened and space being created down the right side of the fourth hole. With new and improved viewing areas, those who are walking down the right side will see the palm tree, now separated from the tree line as the bamboo had been dramatically cut back for this new path.
Plants change the aesthetic and feel of many spaces, and golf courses certainly are elevated by the ability to watch the game framed beautifully by nature. Bobby Jones and the initial owners of the Fruitland company were able to cultivate a beautiful environment that is now famed due to its beauty and design. The right greenery can thrive and elevate a space, from golf courses to our own homes.
For more information on the changes at Augusta National Golf Club, check out this article from Masters.