2013-08-06 09.42.52

Copetown Woods Golf Club has added two new members to its ground crew to keep up with the club’s environmental responsibility.

Brock and Lee, two-year-old goats, were brought on the course in the middle of last year’s season by the Hamilton-area course’s owner, Gordon Forth. He told The Toronto Star he got the idea to use the goats from a golf course in Horseshoe Valley, near Barrie, Ont., which he wanted to use as part of the course’s eco-friendly initiatives, which also involves recycling, composting, and organic fertilizer.

“The advent of maintained grass on a golf course originally stemmed from animals grazing around the golf links of Scotland,” Forth told Canadian Groundskeeper. “The animals would forage and maintain the grasses at a relatively short height that was ideal to hit a golf ball off of. It has been well observed that of these animals, goats tend to favour the leafy texture of broadleaf weeds versus the fine-leaved fescues. With this in mind, Copetown Woods Golf Club has taken another huge step toward truly becoming a ‘green business.’”

The course was built by the Forth family, who was known for their broccoli farms. Forth got the goats from a woman in Flamborough, Ont., and his oldest daughter Tammy came up with their names as a play on the family’s connection to broccoli.

“They’re working out pretty well,” Forth told The Star. “They didn’t cost us very much and the golfers are pretty friendly with them. They don’t give us any back talk, and they’re on time every day.”

During the golf season, the goats live in a shelter on the course. In the winter, they are in a barn at a nearby horse farm. They start work at 4:30 a.m. as they are taken to a fescue area for weed removal and have a breakfast of milk weeds, thistle, and Queen Anne’s lace. They favour the flowers of the weeds, but then they move on to the leaves and eventually eat the stems. Forth says when a given area has no more weeds, the goats move on to a new area of the golf course. They are then left with water until 2 p.m., when they are collected by a maintenance worker.