COURSE CARE
A Method To Give A Goose To Your Geese! March 23, 2010 By Larry Gilhuly

The laser has the ability to be used a good distance away from a flock and still be able to encourage geese to move on to another location. 

Just as Poa annua seems to be ubiquitous throughout the northern tier of states, migratory Canada geese also are major issues that plague golf course superintendents in the Northwest Region and beyond. Many harassment techniques have been tried to encourage the geese to move on to other areas, with dogs being the most effective. More often than not, however, they still come back for too-frequent visits.

A recent visit to Waverley Country Club (Portland, OR) and discussions with Jesse Goodling at Heron Lakes Golf Course (Portland, OR.) have highlighted a new method to discourage unwanted birds from your golf course. This update will "laser" in on this approach to this "fowl" topic.

During a recent USGA Turf Advisory Service visit to Waverley Country Club, the assistant golf course superintendent, Scott Kirkpatrick, demonstrated the effective use of the Aries Laser to move Canada geese off their property. With the Willamette River rolling along their two par-five finishing holes, Canada geese are a constant problem with both their eating and relieving habits. When activated, this simple laser, that is no larger than the rifle scope, produces a green light that is aimed at the birds. We observed individual pairs and a flock of more than 50 Canada geese immediately take flight from more than 200 yards away. Mr. Kirkpatrick then showed how he could move them down the river by aiming it at the geese on the water; and they promptly took flight.

Though not as effective on a bright, sunny day, this simple tool has been used with equally good results at the Heron Lakes Golf Course on the Columbia River. Superintendent Jesse Goodling reports that the number of migratory Canada geese at his course, often in the hundreds, can cause damage in very short order if they are not harassed immediately. For this reason, he has a part time person who arrives in the afternoon to use the laser on the birds. He reports outstanding results with far less dog use and much happier players.

Mr. Kirkpatrick also mentioned that he thought about the potential use for crows when he heard their normal amount of noise this spring. He experimented by aiming the laser over the trees in two directions. Within seconds, the entire flock was airborne and heading away from the property. Now, if we could only get fresh divots to let off a laser beam we could stop these birds from constantly flipping divots!

Source: Larry Gilhuly, lgilhuly@usga.org, 253-858-2266