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Elk Crossing Ahead: Oregon Golf Courses Deal With Unwelcome Guests

November 2, 2015

Golf courses in central Oregon have something else to contend with besides crowded greens or flagging profits: herds of meandering elk, The Bulletin reports. 

The courses at Sunriver Resort in Oregon have two herds who enjoy passing through as the winter approaches and snow covers the mountains.

“The golf courses become an elk haven,” said Josh Willis, the director of golf. “That’s when they create the most havoc because they don’t leave all day.”

When elk take up residence on the fairway, all kinds of damage can result, from muddy hoof indentations, dead patches of grass, and, yes, elk-related delays. To keep elk off the course, the staff ties ribbons to twine and metal fencing, which are supposed to frighten the elk away. More solid fencing is not recommended because elk could get stuck.

At another golf course in Bend, Oregon, the grounds crew didn’t put up the ribbon fencing in time this year to keep the herds out, leading to the usual destruction.

“There’s no consistent path every night, but they do have certain greens that they seem to like,” said the course superintendent.

For those tee shots that land in an elk hoofprint? We say you get a free drop.