Green grass, open spaces, and critters to chase – what more could a dog want? Not much, as several IGM Superintendents have found on their golf courses, though the smiles and belly rubs are also popular. With adequate training and familiarity, man’s best friend can be a welcome addition to a golf course maintenance crew.
Dez @ Sebastian Municipal Golf Course
Chris Eckart, Superintendent at Sebastian Municipal Golf Course, brings his self-described mutt Dez to the course every day. “We start with rounds of the course for 30-45 minutes in the morning. Dez chases armadillos and Egyptian ducks back to the pond (never catching them), and she knows to stay away from the sandhill cranes.” Eckart then takes Dez to the maintenance office, where she greets everyone, including the UPS delivery person, then sleeps in a pen while Eckart works.
“She’s good for morale, and some of the regular golfers look for her.”
Pattie @ Reflection Bay
Ryan Howell, Superintendent at Reflection Bay Golf Course, says dogs provide an important benefit in pest control. “Most dogs enjoy chasing the coots or geese, and the birds don’t like having a predator regularly chasing them around. They’re also just great companions.” While Howell’s dog Pattie was a great bird dog, she can no longer run because of an injury, but she’s popular with staff and vendors.
“Pattie currently enjoys hanging out in the office, having lunch with the staff, waiting for food to drop from the table, and chasing mice around the shop.”
Riggins @ The Sanctuary at Cat Island
Golfers at The Sanctuary at Cat Island were fond of Superintendent Chris Garrett’s dog BJ and enjoyed his company from the time he was a puppy until he passed at age 14.
"He brought a smile to people's faces and lifted morale. He was the course mascot, and we received an outpouring of support upon his passing.”
BJ also helped his owner by chasing geese, moles, and other wildlife off the course. Garrett added, “With the long hours we work in this industry, having man's best friend along for the ride makes every day better.” The club will be welcoming a new puppy, Riggins, when the 7-month-old finishes a little more training.
Simba @ The Ledges
IGM takes special pride in preserving natural habitats at the golf courses we maintain. Assistance from canine pets helps keep unwanted wildlife off the golf courses and away from hazards like golf carts and stray golf balls. Club Manager Michael Fontaine, at The Ledges, notes that his German shepherd Simba is “a working dog and offers a humane way of keeping geese off the course.”
Dogs at IGM golf courses are held to high standards of discipline, namely not barking on the course and respecting those who aren’t comfortable around dogs. Fontaine says Simba is trained with both voice and hand commands.
“It’s imperative for a dog to be well-trained. Simba will stay in the cart if he’s told to, and he won’t touch a golf ball. IGM doesn’t want dogs to be a liability.”
He adds that while Simba stays away from guests who prefer not to interact, many like to dispense treats he keeps in his office.
IGM provides complete golf course maintenance services in markets across the U.S. The company is committed to agronomic excellence and environmentally conscious methods and products. To request a consult, please contact Greg Plotner, Executive Vice President, 407-589-7200. Additional information may be obtained by visiting IGM’s website at golfmaintenance.com.