WAR OVER GOSLINGS
By R.J. Smiley
Canadian Geese have flourished over the past 25 years across the northern half of North America. The wedge shaped white bib just below their eyes on their black heads makes these huge grey/brown birds easily recognizable. Hunted almost to extinction in the early 1900’s, the population has rebounded to over 5 million birds.
Canadian Geese love golf courses and parks! During the warmer months Canadian Geese feed primarily on grass. Goslings, baby geese, began feeding during their first day or two and the rich grasses of golf courses and parks provide great forage and easy mobility. Guardian parents, who keep a watchful eye out for predators, prefer open grassy areas with great visibility for intruders.
These grass eaters have become a frequent sight on most golf courses. This is where our story begins.
Our foursome of old friends, all once scratch players, gather once or twice a year for a renewal of the competition that once drove them to practice hard and work on their game. The organizer had selected a good golf course near St. Cloud, Minnesota. The mid-May day had turned warm with light winds after an early morning shower. The 1:08 tee time arrived just as the sun broke through the clouds. “Let’s get this match started!” the organizer shouted. “We will play cart mate teams. You guys have the honor. It will be the only time you will shoot first all day.”
The golf was good, lots of pars with a few birdies thrown in. But the conversation about college graduations, Mother’s Day and the continuing adventures of their kids brought smiles to all. On the 4th hole, the driver of golf cart “A” requested a ruling. “My ball is sitting directly on a big piece of goose crap. If I try to move the crap, I think my ball will move. But I really don’t want to get that stuff on my hands. Can I just take a drop?”
After a brief meeting of the committee, the decision was made to allow a drop – due to unusual course conditions. “Thanks for the drop guys! But I now have that stuff all over my new ECCO shoes my wife gave me for my birthday. What a mess.”
As the “A” cart driver was about to hit his approach shot, a drake and hen Canadian Goose walked directly onto the green followed by six newborn goslings. “I am going to try to get one of those pesky SOB’s. Wait just a minute until they get closer to the pin.”
“No, wait until they get out of the way before you hit. Those little babies are so cute,” said his cart mate. With a perturbed look on his face, “A” cart driver wiped goose poop off his shoes on the grass while the green cleared.
“I hate those suckers,” he said as he got back in the cart. “All they do is mess up the golf course. You have to watch where you walk on every step.”
Now on the back nine, with a few more messy incidents behind them, our group of comrades was on the cart path along the woods near a swampy area. Then it happened: a family of geese, with five babies, stepped directly onto the cart path. Driver “A,” who had been attempting to get goose poop off his new ECCO shoes for the entire round, hit the gas.
“STOP!!” screamed the passenger. “You will kill those babies.”
Driver “A” slammed on the brakes as the cart skidded to a halt only inches from the goslings. “I hate those SOB’s. If you had not been with me I would have gotten all of them.”
“Mother Nature put them here for all of us to enjoy. I don’t see why you want to kill them,” the rider shouted as he got off the cart and grabbed his wedge. Then he stomped up the fairway toward his ball.
“I suppose you feel the same way about baby rats, baby snakes and baby bats. What are you some kind of damn tree hugger?” Driver “A” shouted.
Then the organizer said, “Come on guys, are you going to spoil this wonderful day over a few geese?”
In the grill after tempers had cooled the organizer said, “Man I thought you guys were going to come to blows over those geese.”
“I guess they are OK off the golf course, but I hate what those SOB’s do to a golf course. Next time we play I bet we get a big laugh over those damn geese,” Driver “A” said as his face lit up with a big smile.