CHATHAM – Someone really doesn't like some of the trees bordering the town's Seaside Links Golf Course.
Several trees near the eighth green were recently discovered to have been “girdled” – the bark removed around the entire circumference – probably with a chainsaw, an action Park Director Dan Tobin said was “very intentional.”
“Somebody knew what they were doing in terms of killing these trees,” he told the golf advisory committee last week.
He added Monday that an arborist who examined the trees said it also appeared as if the trees were injected with an herbicide, virtually guaranteeing that they would not survive.
Tobin said the trees cannot be saved. The vandalism is being investigated by police, he added, and could result in criminal charges should be perpetrator be identified.
Two of the trees are large oaks at least a foot in diameter, said golf committee member David Devlin. At least one other tree was also girdled, although its species was not immediately known.
Tobin said he plans to contact an independent tree appraiser to determine the cost of having a value placed on the mature trees. Long term, the committee will have to discuss removal and replacement of the trees, he added.
It's clear that the trees are on golf course property, running along the northern boundary of the nine-hole course, Tobin said, in a wooden area just beyond the eighth green.
The incident comes at a time of tense relations between the town and the owner of the property along the eighth green. The owner was before the commission in June complaining of golf balls landing in his yard and pool and requested that the town relocate the eighth hole to alleviate the problem.
Instead, the committee asked golf course contractor Johnson Golf Management to install signs at the eighth tee. The signs read, “Alert: Please be aware of the houses on the left. Play hole center right. Do not endanger neighbors.”
The signs went up about two weeks ago in six areas, said Jason Laramee of Johnson Golf Management. Tee markers were also slightly angled to direct play away from the house and others along Fairway Drive. He said staff hasn't noticed as many balls on the hillside by the home since the signs were put up.