Storms have done a number on the Merrick Road Park Golf Course in recent years, destroying several veteran trees around the bayside nine, including notables on #2 and #5. One of them, however, is making a comeback after its brush with Mother Nature.
The fairway tree in the middle of the par-4 fourth is climbing back to its old self, obscuring views of the green in the distance and occasionally swatting down approach shots. Just about 100 yards out and standing on a grass island inside a bunker, the tree has been one of Merrick's recognizable features since we started playing the course in the late '90s. After a brief hiatus as a stump a few seasons ago, the tree is back, with new branches sporting a dense canopy of leaves.
Meanwhile, around the rejuvenated tree, much of Merrick goes on as normal. Few players rake bunkers or repair ball marks, the latter if which is problematic considering the greens are spongy -- almost saturated -- in spite of Long Island's recent near-drought conditions.