ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – The greens at the very private Westwood Country Club in Rocky River almost look like plush carpet.
They’re meticulously maintained, clipped and fussed over.
But even Westwood has its rough.
But there’s rough, and then there’s “I just opened a new sleeve of Titleist Pros and can’t find any of them” kind of rough.
The 17th hole at Westwood is a big water challenge for golfers, and an even bigger challenge for lawn mowers.
So you bring in the experts: a herd of goats for hire.
Using goats to clear hard-to-cut brush isn’t new.
But Westwood is one of the first premier golf courses in the area to give it a try.
“It’s a lot safer than having manpower down there. It’s chemical-free and organic and it saves our manpower to do other things on the golf course,” Westwood General Manager Dan Denihan said.
Denihan says it’s also very cost-effective.
Every few years they would have to spend thousands to have the hillside stripped down.
And during the course of the summer crews would regularly trim down the edges.
But the Alpine goats don’t kid around.
They are seven bearded eating machines with four stomachs each.
“They use their mouths like fingers to use it to feel things” Haulin’ Goats owner James Kovach said. “That’s a myth that they’ll eat tin cans. They really kind of stick to vegetation and everything else they kind of explore with their mouths.”
The goat crew will have the entire lake area cleared down to the nubs in a week to 10 days.
A few folks may actually find balls that hit the hillside.
And the grass will actually look a little greener on the other side of the lake when they’re done.
“They’re a lot quieter and they definitely use a lot less gas – that’s the advantage. And they leave behind a bunch of organic fertilizer as well,” Kovach said.
Kovach says his goats are in demand. He says they’ve got a list of jobs lined up throughout the summer.