And Now For Something Completely Different – Part 2

By Larry Gilhuly, director, Northwest Region
October 3, 2012

Perhaps the best part of working for the USGA is the opportunity to view so many different ideas related to golf course maintenance. The experience of working with fescues at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links and Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships was detailed in a previous update entitled, And Now for Something Completely Different. During a recent visit to Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore., two other different ideas were viewed.


At Waverley CC in Portland, Ore., goats remove unwanted blackberry bushes while a llama serves to protect the goats from the resident coyote population.


The use of goats is not uncommon in the West (see Goat Power!) with both Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., and Overlake Golf and Country Club in Medina, Wash., having very positive results. In both cases the plants removed by goats were thorny and thick. The expense for humans to perform the removal would have been nearly 10 times greater. Waverley CC had the same issue as Overlake G&CC with massive amounts of evergreen blackberries growing between the Willamette River and their golf course. Goats were an obvious solution. However, Waverley CC had an additional problem that resulted in an unusual solution. An active coyote population is known to roam near Waverley CC, thus some form of protection was needed for the goats. While Pasatiempo and Overlake used trained herding dogs, Waverley “employed” a llama. Apparently, these creatures are very protective of the goats. The llama is proving effective, but don’t get to close or it may spit in your eye!

Gulhuly 10/3 update  

The breakdown of sulfur pellets left over from Fourth of July fireworks can create turf loss of up to six inches or more in fairways.


After viewing the natural removal of vegetation using goats, Mr. Brian Koffler, superintendent, took me to a great “can you guess what caused this” turf problem. Having no idea why the bare areas existed in the middle of the 18th fairway, Mr. Koffler took out a tee and found the problem – a small sulfur ball. It seems the membership uses the 18th fairway each year for their Fourth of July fireworks display. The sulfur balls are the remains from fireworks and cause a minor discoloration in the immediate area where they come to rest on the turf. The gradual breakdown of this concentrated sulfur ball eventually causes the complete loss of turf over an area that expands at least six inches across.

Larry Gilhuly will not spit in your eye nor will he eat blackberry bushes. He will be happy to visit your golf course as part of the Turf Advisory Service provided in the Northwest Region. Contact Larry at or Derf Soller at for information on visiting your golf facility in 2012 or next year.


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image