Most golf enthusiast took time out of their busy schedules to watch some of the US Open last week, held at beautiful Erin Hills Golf Course here in Wisconsin. The course itself is designed around a great piece of property, where they tried to disturb as little as possible and leave some wonderful natural grass areas. Encouraging native areas can be a win-win for golfers and the environment. These areas normally require less inputs such as water, fertilizer and mowing while providing better habitats for wildlife. Voyager is lucky to already have some great natural areas and I would like to see us continue to add to them.The how, when, where and why of establishing a golf course is unique to each course and deserves a lot of thought before rushing into such a venue. Players at Erin Hills are mostly those who have low handicaps, so carrying a ball a long distance over a native field of grass with a walking path mowed through it is not an issue, but the same might not be a good idea for a course like Voyager.
Having proper irrigation coverage, or ideally lack of it, is also important for maintaining a natural area. An example of this is our own hole number 11. Much of the rough left of the second pond to the green is not ours and was left to grow wild. Our sprinklers there are not positioned to water just our property and actually water out into the other, non-mowed grass. This promotes a different type of grass that is thick and really unplayable and wouldn’t be easy to change without a plan and inputs. Compare that sight to the hill between the hole one and nine fairways on the par three that we left go natural that doesn’t have any irrigation.
All I can say there is a lot of things that play into making the proper decision in whether an area should be let go natural or not, but it can be great for all walks of life if implemented in a positive way.