The Sioux City, Iowa property was seeing damage done to its course by waterfowl. After Director of Golf Scott Harmelink realized the birds’ flight pattern took them dangerously close to Sioux City’s airport, he worked with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to address the issue. Also, Champions Run in Omaha, Neb. hosted a First Green Event, to show local 7th graders all that’s involved with operating a golf course.
(As featured in C+RB’s 14th Annual Ideas Issue, June 2020.)
Green Valley Golf Club in Sioux City, Iowa had a Canada goose problem, reports Director of Golf Scott Harmelink, PGA.
“Geese love closely mown areas with water and no predators, which makes [our property] very popular for these birds,” Harmelink said. “They peck at the greens non-stop and leave droppings everywhere. The geese have become very comfortable with people and are hard to harass.”
But after paying attention to the geese’s flight patterns, Harmelink deduced that a lot of them seemed to be flying pretty close to Sioux City’s airport.
“I figured this might give me some ‘ammunition’ when I called the Iowa Department of Natural Resources [DNR} to see if anything could be done,” he says. “We are technically in the city limits but there are no buildings, other than the clubhouse, within a half-mile of the water on the course.”
Harmelink met with the DNR, and Conservation Officer Steve Grehbel provided an idea. After getting City Council approval, Green Valley hosted the first gun hunt in Sioux City history. Grehbel contacted several U.S. veterans and invited them on the hunt as well. He and four other DNR officers arrived at Green Valley at 5:30 a.m. on a late October morning and set up five temporary goose blinds, all with decoys, and were ready to hunt at sunrise.
“Eight geese were harvested—but a lot more than eight shells were fired,” Harmelink says. “There hasn’t been a goose on the property since. And the DNR promised they’d be back to harass them if they return.”
The Goal: Remove problem geese from the golf course at Green Valley Golf Club.
The Plan: Enlist the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to organize a gun hunt.
The payoff: “Eight geese were harvested—but a lot more than eight shells were fired,” says Director of Golf Scott Harmelink, PGA. “There hasn’t been a goose on the
Champions Run in Omaha, Neb. hosted the first-ever First Green Event in the state of Nebraska. The club’s Agronomy Department invited over 50 local 7th graders to come out and learn about all that’s involved with operating a golf course.
First Green, a program of the Environmental Institute of Golf, the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents of America, is an innovative environmental and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education outreach program that uses golf courses as environmental learning labs. Golf course superintendents and/or local golf course representatives host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream-bed restoration and learn about the ecology and environmental aspects of the course.
The students are also introduced to many other aspects of the golf business, and learn how courses offer economic benefits, recreational opportunities and green spaces to the communities they serve. Students gain an understanding of golf courses as large parcels of land with healthy turf, trees and other vegetation that provide habitat for wildlife, produce oxygen and filter surface water.
“The kids loved it and we also had members run the event,” reports Dustin Furhman, Champions Run’s Service Manager. “Kids learned about green speeds, drone flight, and other grounds and greens initiatives throughout the day. Fun was had by all, and it was a very special event to give back to the community and to get involved in the education system.”