Ike’s Iconic Tree Unveiled
Todd Pittenger - April 23, 2015 6:15 am
An iconic piece of golf history is now a part of the history collection at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene. A cross-section of the “Eisenhower Tree” was unveiled on Wednesday afternoon, and is now on permanent display.
It was announced earlier this month, during events surrounding golf’s Master’s Tournament, that a cross-section of the Eisenhower Tree, the infamous tree that used to reach out over the fairway leading up to the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, will be presented to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene.
The Eisenhower Tree was a loblolly pine located on the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. In the 1950s it was named after then U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower who unsuccessfully lobbied to have it taken down after it interfered with his golf game. Due to its size, history, and location, it is considered iconic of the Augusta golf course and is one of the most famous trees in American golf
The Eisenhower Tree has played a prominent role in the annual Masters Tournament. One year, the Tree came into play as Tommy Aaron hit a shot off the 17th tee which became known as the “Lost Ball Incident”. The ball could not be located and a drop was given. The next day according to Aaron, while playing on the 17th again, the ball apparently fell from its perch within the tree. Jack Nicklaus stated “I’m not sure I believe it.” In 2011, Tiger Woods was playing a shot from underneath the Eisenhower and damaged his left knee and Achilles tendon when he slipped on some pine straw. The injuries sidelined him until August 2011 and his world ranking dropped to 58th.
In February 2014, the Eisenhower Tree was removed after suffering extensive damage during a major ice storm. It stood about 65 feet tall. It was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old at the time it died.
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Executive Director Karl Weissenbach saw the tree in Augusta, when it was still living. “I tried to hug it, but I couldn’t get my arms around it, it was enormous”, he told KSAL News.
Weissenbach said that their goal is to preserve everything they can about Eisenhower, who among other things was passionate about golf, and his life. “This cross-section is a great addition to our collection”, he concluded.
Eisenhower’s green jacket, which goes along with membership to the Augusta National Golf Club, will go on display with the tree. The jacket is currently at the club in Augusta, where it is sent every year to be displayed during the tournament.
A similar cross-section of the Eisenhower Tree will permanently remain at Augusta National.