Some claim that golf courses are a waste of green space, that they use too many chemicals and too much water. That land, they say, would be better off in conservation easements with nothing done to the land.
Conservation easements are simply a way for wealthy people to earn tax advantages from the state – you and me. Whereas no building or improvements take place, they are a wasteland as far as wildlife is concerned. The easements are fescue farms, worthless to most wildlife.
The last three times I have heard or seen quail have been on golf courses – at Old Trail, Greene Hills and Heritage Oaks in Harrisonburg. Quail cannot exist on fescue filled conservation easements.
I have also seen milkweed necessary for monarch butterflies growing along the edges of fairways on golf courses. Golf courses are also one of the reasons that bluebirds have made such a recovery. Driven from their natural nesting sites by invasive starlings, bluebirds have been thriving on and along golf courses where many courses have positioned bluebird houses at the 150 yard marker on each hole.
I am able to see lots of wildlife and wild things when I play golf – probably because I venture off the fairways and into rough places far too often. Wildlife, however, is thankful for these golf courses.