Elk create nuisance for Oregon courses

Published online: Nov 25, 2015 Golf News

BEND, Ore.—It's their world, we golfers just live in it.

I am talking of course about the elk—large animals that call the Eastern slopes of the Cascades home.

And depending on where your course is, you may or may not have to deal with the damage they cause on a golf course.

Hoof imprints on greens, droppings that have to be cleaned up, urine that kills the grass, and, believe it or not, the occasional elk delay—all problems reported by area courses.

“Where else on earth can you have an elk delay?” asked Josh Willis, Sunriver’s director of golf. “I guess people like to live on golf courses and so do the elk.

Our joke is that they are our only residents that don’t pay association dues.”

Two herds

Willis and his grounds crew at Sunriver have already been dealing with two herds that call the resort home.

“We have a north and a south herd,” Willis said. “There’s one at Crosswater, and the other herd that ventures between the Woodlands and the Meadows courses.”

“The elk typically come down the most with the snow in the mountains, but we are already seeing them. They come out in the mornings and then they leave. But once there is snow in the mountains the golf courses become an elk haven ... and that’s when they create the most havoc because they don’t leave all day.”

The courses at the resort use a very simple “fencing” around the greens to keep the elk from treading over the delicate putting surfaces.

“The fencing is metal stakes all around the green with twine between them about chest high,” Willis explained. “Then we tie ribbon to it, and the ribbon flaps in the wind and spook the elk.

“If they wanted to get through it they could with no problem, but regular fencing can trap them.”

Plans are to fence off the greens, but the resort may hold off on putting them up until the weather turns.

“Our plan is to not put fencing up at this time, but to reopen Meadows and Crosswater,” Willis said. “As long as the weather stays good, we’ll keep everything open.”

Elk urinating on the greens creates a larger problem than the hoof marks at Sunriver.

“What we deal with is not so much the damage, but the urine,” Willis explained. “That will kill off the grass, so you have to sod it because it will not grow back.”

Source: www.bendbulletin.com