Welcome to my blog!
It is my intention to give the readers a better understanding of what we do to maintain The Farms Country Club's 18 hole championship golf course and grounds.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wildlife and Coyotes damaging #5 Green

I actually wanted to write about this earlier but the subject of green's aerification had to take precedence for obvious reasons.
The maintenance staff and I have the opportunity to start our day, basically, on a wildlife preserve. Most players never get to see what we see every morning, every evening and every day. Deer, foxes, coyotes, hawks, eagles, muskrats, bobcats (I still say I saw a mountain lion), every kind of bird from bluebirds to cedar waxwings, etc.  The list is much longer.
I love the mornings and hearing the staff talk on the radio about the family of turkeys on #7, or the fawn they just saw on #2, or the mating snapping turtles in #6 pond...again, the list goes on.

The snapping turtle mating ritual goes on for hours! Nobody sees it except our staff!

I have so many pictures of these two in #6 pond on 8-27-12
As beautiful as it is, there are instances that create problems for us. We have a family of coyotes we've been watching daily this year. Our best estimate is that there are five or six pups. They are always around five green and six tee in the pre-dawn hours. They will stay until one of the mowers or carts drive by, then they are spooked for the day. We have truly enjoyed watching them mature all season!

Pup's running away from #5 green because I'm 200 yards away trying to get a picture.

Another picture of the "spooked" pups leaving #5 green. I photoshoped these pictures to make them more viewable. It is still before sunrise so the quality is not great.
The problem now is the coyote family has decided to start digging up the fifth green! I don't know why. The first day was Saturday, August 25th. The damage was minimal. We fixed it easily. This kind of thing happens all the time... animals dig a small hole, deer make rutted footprints, etc. Sunday the 26th was much worse. They went right back to the same spot on #5 green and started digging deeper holes and more of them.

Holes on #5 Sunday, August 26th

This is not small!
Our Assistant Superintendent, Andrew Fenn, had to try and repair this before play got to #5 green. He said Mr. Dimugno's group, one of the fastest playing four-somes, were completely understanding that they had to wait a few minutes for us to finish repairs (thank you).

Sunday's damage was bad. I decided that it would be a green we would aerify first. An environmental change might make the spot undesirable for the coyotes. It didn't work out as good as I had hoped, but it was better.

Andy surveys the damage Tuesday morning after aerifying. It's not as bad, but they still want to dig in the same darn spot!
We made our planned fertilizer and wetting agent applications after topdressing was completed. Our simple physical changes and fertilization techniques seem to have made the coyotes want to find a new place to practice digging. As much as it was an inconvenience and it caused us  more work, it was awesome to be a part of a positive and mutually beneficial environmental change! Can you say symbiosis!
Very Cool!