SHERIDAN — Kendrick Municipal Golf Course has aesthetic appeal as it’s presently constituted. The 18-hole golf course sits on a plot of land with panoramic views of the Bighorn Mountains for golfers to gaze at as they scribble in their scorecards.
Over the last decade, head golf professional Brian James has given customers a chance to voice their opinions of the golf course in the form of surveys. The overwhelming thing golfers clamored for: trees.
The second annual Kendrick Golf Course Tree Tournament got underway Friday afternoon. Participants teed it up with their $65 entry fee going toward the purchase of more trees.
Last year’s tournament raised around $3,000 and the money went to buying 12 trees: two Colorado blue spruces; two flowering cherries; two honey locus; two golden willows; one Black Hills spruce; one flowering pear; one greenspire linden; and one Norway spruce.
Keith Kershaw — who works at Landon’s Greenhouse and Nursery where the trees were purchased — indicated that it’s always in the best interest of a buyer to purchase many different species of trees when making a large order.
“We like to not have a monoculture,” Kershaw said. “If we have the same tree in one location or in an area, and there was bug or disease that came through, all of a sudden we’d have no trees. Diversity is really a key thing for us. … The more diversity the better.”
The trees bought ranged in age from 6-8 years old and were planted in October 2017. That gave the young trees a chance to develop more roots during the warmer days and weeks in the late fall. Trees will continue to grow roots in Wyoming so long as the temperatures stay around 50 degrees or warmer.
Prior to the inaugural tree tournament last year, James asked the players where they’d like the future trees planted, and they unanimously voted for them to reside around the second hole. That will give golfers a quick taste of how a more tree-lined hole will play early in their round.
Nolan Billings, who plays anywhere from 2-5 rounds of golf per week at Kendrick, enjoys what the first wave of trees will do for the golf course in the years to come.
“Once they’re grown, I’m sure they’re going to have an aesthetic impact to the course,” Billings said. “You go to a course like Buffalo that has massive trees lining each hole and it’s just a really neat course. I think those trees do a lot for the aesthetics of the course. They also add a challenge to keep your drives straight.”
This year’s tree tournament garnered more hole sponsors than last year, and the number of golfers will increase the pot of money to acquire even more trees. James doesn’t yet know who he’ll buy trees from this fall, but he plans to once again make his investment after the summer when he can capitalize on greenhouse sales.
James understands the importance of the now annual tournament and what it means for his customers and the golf course in the future.
“As a PGA professional, our job is to serve our members on a daily basis by listening to what they said and working with them through this process and really taking their recommendations,” James said. “I’m simply doing my job as a PGA professional, looking out into the future for the future health of the course, not only enjoyment wise but from a revenue perspective down the road for future generations.”
Only time will tell where and how the next batch of trees will enhance Kendrick Golf Course.