Michael Lynn is carving out a new career, literally.
The longtime art instructor for Pawhuska Public Schools, spent the last month and a half sculpting wooden creations on the golf course at the recently-resurrected Pawhuska Country Club. Using specially-designed blades on a chainsaw, Lynn has fashioned his artwork from dead and distressed trees located on the historic site.
Lynn first transformed a dying oak directly behind the newly-renovated clubhouse into an oil-gushing derrick. Next, he created a trout-carrying eagle in full flight from the trunk of a tree located on the northeast section of the course.
The country club facility, which closed in 2009 after 88 years of continuous operation, was reopened earlier this summer by its new owner, local businessman John Long. Superintendent Ben Martin, a Pawhuska native, has been working on rebuilding the course, which opened in the early 1920s and was designed by the legendary Perry Maxwell.
Although the Pawhuska Country Club is again open to golfers, work is continuing on course. Temporary greens are being used until the original ones can be rebuilt. The greens are to be re-seeded this fall and it is hoped golfers will be putting on bent grass by next spring, said Martin.
Martin’s expertise with such projects includes twice resurrecting the greens at Pawhuska, as well as several other courses in Oklahoma and around the country.
Lynn said he started chainsaw sculpting after lightning struck down a tree in the front yard of his Pawhuska home. The result: a wooden hand flashing the peace sign.
"I decided that this might be something I could do after I’ve retired," said Lynn, a longtime local resident.
The teacher, who studied art in college at Northeastern State University, said his first project at the country club probably would present the biggest challenge for him.
"I’ve sculpted a lot of animal and human figures, but this was my first oil well," Lynn said, adding that he plans to turn another of the golf course trees into an Indian — Osage, of course.
After cutting the tree down to size (with the help of a local tree trimmer and the golf course staff), Lynn went to work on the well derrick in early July. It took about three weeks to complete, including burning and staining the wood to make it the color of oil.