Forty goats from The Green Goats rental company have made their way from Monroe, Wis., to Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club to clear up patches of invasive buckthorn (along with Canadian thistle and Queen Anne's Lace).
"We were looking for environmentally friendly ways to clear brush without burning, using chemicals or using equipment that has gas and requires labor," said Dustin Hugen, the club's golf course superintendent.
Set up inside 12-volt electric fences with jugs of water and salt sticks, Hugen hopes the goats will be able to clear about five acres over the next two weeks (a goat can munch about 300 square feet of grass a day). Clearing all the invasives will be a two- or three- year process, and their presence will not affect play or course operation. "Customers will see them from the first hole," said Brian Bechtold, director of golf operations," but [the goats are] out of harm's way. It's a really bad golf shot if you hit one of them."