Golf Courses Benefit People and Wildlife

One of the reasons that Earl Oglebay chose this lush hilltop land for his summer estate was its natural beauty.  We are committed to preserving and sustaining this natural beauty through sound environment practices and green initiatives ( ) and the golf courses are at the forefront of this commitment.

Fox on the golf course

A red fox pauses near a tee on the Palmer Golf Course.

According to the United States Golf Association (USGA) more than 70 percent of most golf courses are rough and non-play areas including natural grasses, trees and shrubs. Combined with the open areas of fairways and greens, the golf course is an attractive wildlife habitat. The USGA and the Audubon Society have developed the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses ( ) and one aspect of this program is the enhancement of wildlife habitat on and around golf courses. From bluebirds to wild turkey to deer, an amazing number of species call the Oglebay golf courses their home and now honeybees can be added to the list.

Ricky Border with honeybee hives

Ricky Border, Superintendent for the Palmer Golf Course at Oglebay, stops by the honeybee hives that have been provided by the Tri-State Beekeepers Association.

“We have partnered with The Tri-State Beekeepers Association ( ) to be a host site for some honeybee hives,” said Ricky Border, Superintendent for the Palmer Golf Course at Oglebay.  “The hives are located on the Arnold Palmer Golf Course and they will be used educationally by the Beekeepers association. This indicator species will demonstrate how golf courses are genuinely stewards of the environment. Honeybees are very important pollinators for nearly every plant species that we use for food, shelter, and aesthetic beauty. ”

Turtle on a green

A box turtle makes its way across a green in the early morning hours.

The mowed turf areas of the golf course also provide benefits to the environment including protecting topsoil from water and wind erosion.  Our nation’s topsoil is not a renewable resource. Wind and water may erode the topsoil into rivers, lakes and oceans and once gone, it cannot be replaced in our lifetimes. Turf controls erosion by capturing and slowing fast-flowing water from storms. Rain is an important source of clean groundwater, which supplies much of our drinking water, and golf course turf absorbs and filters runoff water during and after storms. The turf growth process also takes carbon dioxide from the air and releases the oxygen we need.

Nick Janovich, Superintendent of the Jones Course at Oglebay, says that both he and Ricky have been working towards certification by the National Audubon Society and expect to achieve certification within the year.

UPDATE: Check out the video of the bee hives at Oglebay at