November - 2009

As we enter into the winter months, I was thinking how our golf course would be affected by the coming storms, and that it's inevitable that some of our trees will break and fall.

When I first started playing at San Clemente Municipal in the early 70's with my Dad (Fred Duesler), my uncle (Wally Duesler) and my brother (Drake), we would play every Sunday at the break of dawn. On the first hole, just off the tee to the right, there is a large eucalyptus tree. Years ago there used to be a REALLY large eucalyptus that covered half the fairway and you could never tell if your ball went into the driving range or not. Quite often, because you couldn't tell if your ball went into the range or not, we would have to hit a provisional ball. Today at least you can see the fence. (Some of you may also remember there was a huge eucalyptus tree affecting your drive on the tenth fairway and also one on the right side of the eighteenth fairway).

San Clemente has many eucalyptus trees that have large heavy branches that tend to hold water when it rains and sometimes the weight cannot be supported by the root structure. Sometimes part of a branch breaks off and occasionally the entire tree falls. In the last few months on the seventeenth hole to the left side of the fairway another tree had a large branch break off. Somehow that branch remained attached to the tree for a while. It was brown and obviously dead, yet still attached. Because this is a common occurrence on a golf course, I thought it would be helpful to provide the decision that covers this situation:

23-1/4 Breaking Off Part of Large Loose Impediment
Q. If part of a large branch which has fallen from a tree (and thus is a loose impediment) interferes with a player's swing, may the player break off the interfering part rather than move the whole branch?

A. Yes.