June 4, 2010 in Sports

Keeping courses clean

Dogs, decoys help deter waterfowl
By The Spokesman-Review
Rich Landers photo

Tim Ansett, Manito Country Club superintendent, heads to work with his 7-year-old border collie, Nelson. The dog earns his keep by herding waterfowl off the course.
(Full-size photo)

Dogs aren’t allowed on most golf courses. But an exception is being made for dogs employed to chase waterfowl off greens and fairways.

Nelson, a 7-year-old border collie, has virtually eliminated the mess and health hazard of goose droppings at Manito Golf & Country Club.

Owned and trained by greens superintendent Tim Ansett, Nelson heads out early in the morning with the greens keepers to patrol the course.

Decoy swans, some with mechanical necks that move, seem to be helping deter geese after being anchored late this winter for the first time at MeadowWood Golf Course ponds in Liberty Lake.

In the natural world, nesting swans generally beat up on other waterfowl.

MeadowWood also is patrolled by a greens keeper’s border collie this year, which may help keep the geese from getting wise to the swan decoys.

“Geese normally line up along some of our fairways,” said Andrew Zyph at the MeadowWood pro-shop. “Now we have just a few geese around.”

Geese making a home at Hangman Valley and Qualchan courses are being studied by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department researchers, who may recommend control measures.

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