Birdhouses are ecological project for golf course

BREMEN – Birds and Birdies abound at Sprig O’ Mint Golf Course in Bremen. Well, birds anyway. Birdies—1 shot under par—depend upon the golfer.
The birds, however, have been a winter ecological project of Brian Feldman, Golf Course Superintendent. In addition to his maintenance and planning duties during the off season, Feldman has busied himself building wooden birdhouses—16 bluebird houses and four duck houses, to be exact. He then erected the houses along the fairways of the golf course.
This feathered endeavor is a part of the golf course owners’ thrust toward ecologically sound management as golf courses across the country join the green movement. It’s not all for the birds, either. The golf course has joined a federal project to create native prairie wildflower areas near recreational endeavors. Sprig O’ Mint now has about four acres of wildflower plots planted along its fairways on its 100-acre property. The flowers are just now starting to come up, insuring a beautiful and creature-friendly spring and summer.
This plant emphasis makes a connection with Bremen history. In 1961, the course was built on the grounds of a former mint farm which figured prominently in the prior industry of the area. Thus, the golf course makes a complete ecological circle.
Feldman, a 1996 Triton Jr./Sr. High School graduate, describes the golf course as “an oasis of calm in a busy life.” He is well prepared to give the facility the care it deserves. Having worked in his industry for the last 12 years, he was formerly Assistant Superintendent of the Plymouth Golf Club for 10 years.
He points out some of the many intricacies involved in maintaining an environmentally-friendly golf course. His crews use four or five different heights of mowers to guarantee proper grass height. Although spraying is necessary, it has changed over the years. Thirty years ago, he points out, sprays contained mercury and arsenic. Now, the EPA carefully controls chemical composition. In addition, the golf course drains into Lake of the Woods. He has to be very cautious of what is sprayed for fear of fertilizing algae, killing fish, etc. in the lake.
Feldman’s birdhouses are easy to build. He uses inexpensive materials and simple designs which can be duplicated in the backyard. (For six or seven different bluebird house plans, go to nabluebirdsociety.org.)
Feldman grew up on a farm in the Bourbon area and likes working outdoors. His is an ever-changing job with new challenges every day. With his dedicated grounds crew of nine, Feldman maintains the golf course.
He said, “Everyone should try golfing once. There is no better way to get away from the pressures of daily life.”
To help make this suggestion attainable, the owners of Sprig O’ Mint offer to all new golfers a one-time discount of $5.00 off of an 18-hole round. To utilize this offer, use the code “Bluebird Special” when signing up. As you play the course, be sure to look for the bluebird and duck houses. Who knows—you might even connect with a “birdie.”