If you ever tee off at the Country Oaks Golf Course in Thomasville, you'll now be playing a course that's a sanctuary for hundreds of different species of wildlife.
Country Oaks has received certification from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System to preserve and enhance the course's environment and keep the wild animals that call it home safe.
The wide open spaces, shady trees and bodies of water on a golf course are a natural habitat for hundreds of different animals, insects and plant life.
"Foxes, hawks, redheaded woodpeckers and obviously some of the reptiles people like, the snakes and alligators and things like that,” Mike Owens, Head Golf Pro at Country Oaks shares.
The Country Oaks Golf Course in Thomasville, which just recently joined the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program, will now plan course maintenance around the wildlife, as advised by the Audubon Society.
"When you come to a golf course you want to be able to look around and enjoy what's around you and be able to see different types of wildlife,” recalls Country Oaks golfer Phoebe Fulford.
Besides providing nesting for birds, the program includes environmentally safe pest management and water conservation.
"Some of the chemicals that go on the golf course obviously go down into the water table and we want to make sure we have clean water on this golf course for the animals and for the people, so we're working with the superintendent about what chemicals go on the golf course,” Owens adds.
By following advice from the Audubon Society, Country Oaks employees hope to keep the course a healthy sanctuary for the animals, and a relaxing place for golfers to spend the day.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program is coordinated by Audubon International and is sponsored in part by the United States Golf Association.