A passion for stewardship & green courses
Environmental stewardship is very important to Tetherow Golf Club. Since the construction of the golf course to present day, an emphasis on environmental stewardship is at the forefront of our maintenance practices. It started with the certification process through Audubon International as a Signature Sanctuary and it continues today on a daily basis.
Many of the factors that led to the certification were implemented during the construction phase of the golf course and we continue to use them currently. Thinking ahead and moving forward in an environmentally conscious direction will ultimately allow us to leave the property that we call Tetherow in better shape than before day one of construction.
The certification process was only the beginning. The desire to continue and promote environmental awareness for Tetherow Golf Club comes from the Golf Course Maintenance department. It is our job to ensure that the programs set forth by Audubon International and the Oregon Golf Course Superintendents Association are implemented and scrutinized on an annual basis to improve the overall effort. These two organizations have clear and concise programs that a golf course can follow to promote sound environmental stewardship.
Tetherow is very fortunate to be supported by both of these organizations and to have an ownership and golf course superintendent who believe strongly in our pursuit of sound environmental stewardship. So far we have succeeded at Tetherow by the following: Becoming the first and so far only Certified Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International in the state of Oregon and for Chris Condon of Tetherow being the Chapter Winner in the resort category for the 2010 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards. These awards show others that we have succeeded but the real awards come from the hard work of many in our environmental efforts. In particular, the work of a few volunteers should not go unnoticed.
One of the biggest reasons we are able to win awards, certification and continue our environmental efforts is the help from our volunteers. In particular, Cal & Alice Elshoff and Erik & Mary Jensen have contributed a lot of time and effort to help us in our endeavors. I personally want to thank them for all of their work and support in creating habitat for the many species of wildlife we see at Tetherow.
Volunteers help implement plans that will benefit the environment and without people such as Cal, Alice, Erik and Mary, it would be very difficult. All of us at Tetherow would like to extend our gratitude to the four of you.
You have read what we have accomplished and who is lending a hand so far. What exactly are we doing to continue our efforts in our pursuit of being a good environmental steward? Below are just a few items that we are doing:
- Providing over 30 nesting boxes for various bird species. Most recently, all but a couple of these nesting boxes were occupied with many having eggs ready to hatch.
- Provide habitat for other animal species other than birds around the golf course. There is a bat box on #6, a brush pile between #3 and #6 and the lakes have been stocked with Bluegill and Black Crappie which have grown to 4-6 inches in just a few years.
- Using products that are either sustainable in their production or come from a waste product. We are using fertilizers that contain plant waste, chicken waste and kelp that is harvested and processed in Ireland. We create our own beneficial microbes that keep our ponds clean and clear, help with our nutrient release from our soils, produce better soil structure and control the mosquito population.
- Pesticides are very limited in their use. The only fungicide application we use is to protect the turfgrass from winter disease. We have been able to virtually eliminate any disease outbreaks by maintaining the fine fescue dominate turfgrass. Weeds are taken care of on a spot-spraying basis throughout the maintained portion of the golf course. Anywhere else, hand picking/pulling is utilized.
- The Fine Fescue and Colonial bentgrass mixture allow us the ability to use half as much nutrients and water compared to the other golf courses in the Bend area. The maintenance practices of keeping the playing surface firm and fast allows us to utilize less water.
- Educational opportunities – Grade school class field trips and member open house to the maintenance facility allows us to provide answers to question that someone may have during the course of a round concerning the maintenance of the golf course.
- Recycling, recycling and recycling. A cornerstone of any environmental program. What do we recycle? Plastics, grass clippings, glass bottles, tree branches, paper, bedknives, food waste from the kitchen, wash water/rinse water, motor oil, plant material from thinning projects, rock, fertilizer jugs and barrels, etc.
Sound environmental stewardship is an ongoing practice. We strive to learn new procedures or products that can help us with our efforts. Most importantly, it is our responsibility to make a concerted effort to provide the best playing conditions while protecting the precious resources used on the golf course in the most economical manner.
I hope that you are enjoying the golf course and it was great to see all of you who attended our inaugural Golf Course Maintenance Open House. It was a lot of fun. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected].
Golf Course Superintendent