Something’s lurking in that water hazard—and it’s not just the errant balls of duffers. New research shows that golf courses can be havens for turtles, and may even attract a richer mix of species than ponds in seemingly more natural settings.
The findings are only the latest of a growing number of studies showing that golf courses—long derided by environmentalists for heavy use of water and pesticides—can provide valuable wildlife habitat in a rapidly urbanizing world.
No one advocates flattening an ancient woodland to build 18 new holes. But scientists say that a golf course in the right place, built and maintained in the right way, can be an oasis for creatures from bluebirds to beetles.
For the turtles of North Carolina, golf ponds “are providing something that other ponds are not,” says University of Kentucky herpetologist Steven Price, a co-author of the two new turtle papers.