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(from the 2009 archives) ‘HANSJORG WYSS, RATTLERS & ‘GREENS’ —Stiles

Hansjorg Wyss is one of America’s most celebrated benefactors. He made billions via his company Synthes, which “develops, produces and markets instruments, implants and biomaterials for the surgical fixation, correction and regeneration of the skeleton and its soft tissues.” Though his personal fortune declined in 2008 to less than $6 billion,  he donated $125 million to Harvard Universityto create the “Hansjorg Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.”

He is also a financial supporter to many environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society (TWS), The Grand Canyon Trust (GCT), The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), Moab’s Red Rock Forests, even Great Old Broads for Wilderness. He sits on th board of directors of SUWA, GCT and TWS.
But I found this story about Mr. Wyss by Charles Durrenberger in the Arizona Daily Star that actually made me laugh out loud. Although Mr. Durrenberger may not have seen the irony in it, the irony is there. The story is about a Tucson golf course. He writes,

“Despite its new name, Crooked Tree Golf Course at Arthur Pack Regional Park feels like an old friend in spiffy, new duds….The 18-month face-lift — with a few more nips and tucks in store — is more than skin deep for the tract that hits the big 3-Oh next year. Beyond the sparkling clubhouse, past the flagstone patio behind the repositioned No. 1 tee and on the other side of the championship-caliber practice area is a rejuvenated tract that looks, feels, smells and plays as a golf course should.”

But the golf course had some problems. So the new developer made some changes…

“Brush has been cleared, opening up views of the nearby mountain ranges. Even the high-handicap golfer is not in serious danger of losing a ball due to a stray tee shot. ‘There were no vistas.’ complained one golfer. Rattlesnakes were plentiful, however. Leveling unruly desert broom and creosote eliminated much of the reptilian habitat.”

Yes, those damn rattlesnakes kept slithering onto the fairways, even the greens, causing a mighty distraction to duffers on the course. But of course, if you can obliterate the habitat, you can get rid of the problem.

And who holds the lease on this newly revamped, rattler-free golf course? According to the Daily Star, “Tucson-based Wildcat Golf Partners, headed by medical-equipment mogul Hansjorg Wyss, holds the lease through 2019.”
Hansjorg Wyss…another one of America’s great conservationists who loves Nature, as long as it doesn’t interfere with his putting.
“Damn those diamondbacks, hand me my seven-iron!”

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