Harpenden golfer's concern over oak trees
A HANDFUL of mature oak trees on a golf course are set to be felled despite fears that it will change the way a hole on a green can be played. The trees are on the second green of the golf course on Harpenden Common and the town council took advice on the
A HANDFUL of mature oak trees on a golf course are set to be felled despite fears that it will change the way a hole on a green can be played.
The trees are on the second green of the golf course on Harpenden Common and the town council took advice on them before deciding they could be felled.
But even though the town council maintains that Harpenden Common Golf Club has asked for the work to be carried out, a past captain at the club argues that it is not necessary.
Nick Verney, of Gresford Close, St Albans, who is still a member of the club, said three to four oaks on the second green had been earmarked for removal even though they were intrinsic to the way the hole was played.
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He went on: "I have a problem here because the trees are getting in the way of golfers but I am taking the long view and saying these trees, if you remove them, will change the way the golf course looks and how it plays.
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"If they are to be replaced, it will take longer than my lifetime for them to mature."
Mr Verney said he was also concerned about town council proposals to remove hawthorn on the common which he believes would leave the golf course exposed to the main road.
He explained: "Two to three years ago, the main St Albans/Harpenden road was screened by a lot of hawthorns and other self-seeded trees and saplings. The town council pulled that out, opening the golf course to the road but those trees protected the road from stray balls and gave the golf course a nice cosy feel. This feels like another step along the same road."
Harpenden town clerk John Bagshaw said there had been a number of large mature oaks overshadowing the green and from 2008 onwards, the club had been urging the council to remove the trees because they were stopping the green drying out and costing money.
He raised it with councillors as it was part of the common management plan which the current generation of members is championing.
"We took professional advice and we were told the trees were not well shaped and poorly formed. They are not great big trees but smaller specimens and removing them will encourage the remaining trees to grow."
Mr Bagshaw said the felling was unlikely to happen this spring but a professional arborist would be crown lifting the trees - removing the lower branch of the crown to allow more light through.
He explained that the town council was also clearing some of the scrub on the common principally to open up the walkways and create a nicer environment.
Mr Bagshaw added: "We are looking to work with the golf club and help them to help themselves but you have to remember this is a common which we have a remit to look after."
No-one from Harpenden Common Golf Club wanted to comment on the situation.