Making a Golf Course for the Birds
Mid-Missouri golf courses are following guidelines that might help the environment.
Developers plan to follow Audubon International guidelines to promote conservation of natural resources. One way is to put native plants throughout courses. Audubon suggests putting native plants in the rough and out-of-bounds areas to create homes for birds and rodents. The society says about nine out of every 10 courses that follow its guidelines do that.
MU's A.L. Gustin Golf Course took part in the conservation program.
"People pay attention to what golf courses do, because golf courses tend to have a bad reputation for using a lot of pesticides and fungicides, said A.L. Gustin resident pro Jim Knoesel. "And, we've proven that you can take care of the land while having a golf course that's in good condition."
And, Knoesel sees the benefit of following the guidelines.
"In the past 10 years, there's been over 1,000 fledglings, bluebirds, which is the state bird of Missouri, that has come out of the golf course," he explained. "We have nesting areas for American kestrels, woodpeckers, purple martins. So, the bird projects been real successful."
But, Knoesel admits the Audubon program's not easy.
"It's a pretty serious commitment. There is a lot of work involved, a lot of paperwork," he said. "We spend time every week checking birdhouses and checking records. So, it's a big commitment."
A new golf course along Clark Lane in northeast Columbia is near Hominy Creek. Developers hope to limit the course's effect on water by following the Audubon program.