19 David Phipps – Golf Courses as Pollinator Habitat


Speaker 1: From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is Pollination, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators. I'm your host, Dr. Adoni Melopoulos, assistant professor in pollinator health in the Department of Horticulture. You know when we launched Pollination back in May, we struggled with the title and one of the alternate titles was Pollinators and their People.

And I like that title because it reflected the fact that we weren't going to just talk to people who solely focused on pollinators, but people who in the course of their work were improving the health of pollinators. And Dave Phipps is certainly one of those people. Dave is the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America's Northwest Region Field Staff Representative. Throughout his career, he's been considered one of the Northwest's leaders in golf course environmental stewardship and innovation. As you'll hear in this episode, a lot of this came together when he assumed the superintendent position at Stone Creek Golf Club, which incorporated a lot of habitat for birds but also was one of the pioneers in incorporating habitat for pollinators. And for this, he has been widely recognized. He received numerous awards, including the GCSAA's President Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2012. This episode has a lot of examples of some of the innovations that are taking place in the golf industry as we speak in terms of pollinator health.

It also addresses some of the challenges, but also opportunities that superintendents encounter when they're dealing with pollinator habitat on their golf courses. So I hope you enjoy the episode. The B guy. The B guy. All right. I'm really excited to welcome Dave Phipps to Pollination. Thank you.

It's great to be here. Now, Dave, you've done just to back up a lot of people when they think about golf courses. They think, you know, recreation, having fun. But you've spent a lot of time thinking about golf courses as a place for conservation and you've been recognized nationally for your work at the Stone Creek Golf Club in Oregon City. Tell us a little bit about how you started to connect these two things, golf and conservation.

Speaker 2: Oh my goodness. It kind of, well, golf courses are such an amazing natural resource in itself because there's so much space that we're utilizing, obviously for the game of golf, but there's space as well for wildlife.

You know, I really started picking up on this one. I was with the Oregon Golf Club as the assistant superintendent working under John Anderson and then Russell Van De Hey. And we actually had hosted a lot of groups out, birding groups that would come out on the golf course. And we got a lot of feedback from them saying, my goodness, there are more birds out here than we had ever imagined.

Is that right? Thinking that there was a golf course. And you know, obviously, pesticides are supposed to be used like crazy on golf courses, but birds wouldn't flourish out there. But you know, we had, we had bluebirds nesting in boxes. We had all kinds of raptors flying around. And just, it was just a wonderful habitat.

And these people were going crazy. Eventually, we had Oregon Field Guide came out in 1990, I think it was, and did an episode at the Oregon Golf Club. It was really fun.

Speaker 1: So you realized then that there was this, there's a lot going on there that people were just a potential.

Speaker 2: There's a lot of potential. And John Anderson really kind of got this thing started when he got the Oregon Golf Club as one of the first two golf courses in the state to be certified through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System. And that kind of really sparked my interest. And I really saw the benefit of what this kind of action could do in terms of building a reputation for the golf industry. And then around that same time, the Oregon Golf Board Superintendent's Association developed a program called the Oregon Stewardship Guidelines, which is essentially a BMP and an IPM program built around golf courses. Now they can customize it to their specific course and you know, utilizing the BMPs to protect the environment by specifying inputs and things like that and deciding what action to take, a corrective action when a pesticide needed to be sprayed, and things like that.

It was a good thing. So I saw that firsthand when I was building Stone Creek Golf Club. I was the construction manager there and then stayed on as the growing superintendent and then regular superintendent for 12 years. And I saw that those guidelines firsthand come in handy because when during the construction process we had to deal with permits.

And that's always the big struggle. Well, one day the Corps of Engineers and Division of State Lands came out to the golf course and they wanted to know what I was doing in terms of a BMP program and all this. So I whipped out this notebook that I had customized based on the Oregon Stewardship Guidelines. And these guys were literally going through the pages saying, can I have copies of this?

Speaker 1: Can I have copies of this? This is so good. Wow, what a testimony. Oh, absolutely. And I was just blown away. How powerful. This sort of document could be. And this was back in, oh gosh, I just started Stone Creek in 2000.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I guess it was 2000. I'm sorry, 1990 was way earlier. It was 2000 when the Oregon Field Guide came out. The Oregon Golf Club in 2000 was when I started construction at Stone Creek.

Speaker 1: It's a really great example of how an industry can come together, create voluntary guidelines, and really lead to innovation. You don't really, you know, golf course superintendents must be jacks of all trades. They must be able to know how to run these golf courses and they can really, they're the drivers of innovation, I'm adding.

Speaker 2: We looked at it as being pretty much ahead of the curve. And at that time, I think it was 2005, the Oregon Superintendent's Association won the President's Award for Environmental Stewardship based on those guidelines. And it came out and it was a really big award. It's GCSA's number one award for environmental stewardship. Wow.

And their Association won that award. And that was way back when, and we just now with GCSA finally caught up and established a BMP program where we're doing an online BMP for each state to enable to upload their own BMP based on their state needs, you know. And then at that point, every golf course can go to that BMP, upload it to their facility, or download it at their facility and they'll have their own set of BMPs at their golf course.

Speaker 1: So to understand this right, so the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America, their kind of best management practices around environmental stewardship started here in Oregon? Essentially. Wow.

Speaker 2: That's awesome. We actually, we actually had an online program where it was called Green Golf USA. And I'll point out Tom Calabrese, single him out on this thing because he was kind of the driving force at the revision, point of revision with the stewardship guidelines. You know, initially, it was Dr. Michael Hindahl who put together the first version of the stewardship guidelines and kind of really got things rolling. And that's what the award was based on.

Unfortunately, Dr. Hindahl passed away and Tom Calabrese picked up the ball and took it to another level. And we essentially had it where we could go to this website, fill in the boxes and the squares based upon your golf course's needs. And then we would download and spit you back this IPM plan that was 40-some-odd pages and documented and everything else. It was a wonderful program. And that was way back when. And now we're doing the same thing just today. We're in the process of it with GCSA. So I'm glad to see that Oregon was at the forefront of that way back when.

Speaker 1: That's such an exciting story. Yeah. So it started off with this kind of awareness of bird habitat. When did you start to become aware that pollinator habitat could be a big part of golf courses?

Speaker 2: Well, building Stone Creek, obviously I came from that, that lead role during golf club that Russ and John had instilled in me. So I kind of had a connection with those birders that we had at the Oregon Golf Club.

And so I would connect with this gal. Her name was Cindy Laws. And she was one of the presidents of the Oregon Ornithologist Association or something like that. And she was wonderful. She could hear a bird and she could identify it just like that. Oh, cool. So she came out to the golf course just shortly after we broke ground.

So there's barely any ground broke around the whole facility there. And we did an inventory, a pre-inventory of all the birds. And then we did an inventory later on. So we kind of compare.

So we kept all that going. And I wanted to really be proactive in terms of the environmental stewardship because, you know, building a new golf course in Oregon, this is probably one of the last courses that was built in Oregon back in the heyday. And there was, there were some people that felt that we were going to be infringing upon wildlife and be disturbing the deer habitat and the birds and this and that and the wind and encroaching on the wetlands and things. So I felt it was my duty to put this golf course in the right light for the county because it was the county's property that we're building this golf course on. And so I wanted to get involved with the Autobahn Stewardship Sanctuary Program and all this stuff. Around the same time, the Xerces Society did a program, was doing a grant through the USGA, working with golf courses and establishing pollinator habitats at the time. And I connected with Matt Shepherd, Matthew Shepherd.

And Matt was a great guy. He came out to the course and we're touring around just kind of looking at the facility. And I was still under construction growing the phase, basically, and there are some areas that hadn't really yet filled in along the pond edges and stuff. And there was some bare ground there.

And that's in this area, probably going to have to mulch and put some seed on there. He says, this whole line of sight, Dave, let's look at this. And we got down and got really lower to the ground and looked down and you can see these little flies coming out of these holes in the ground, which I found out are to me like. And the little female was down in there and the male were going up and down into the holes and doing their thing. And I realized that this is a really nice habitat. He said this is amazing. This is really cool. So we essentially put a sign up there and maybe get a picture of that sign and put it on the.

Speaker 1: Oh, I've got a picture. You got that picture. And we were and we had a good fortune. You gave me a tour and we went there and we saw them. And I think they're little saddened bees or maybe they're little spet bees, but they were beautiful little tumuli. Like they were raised off the ground. Sometimes, you know, these things are just flat little holes. But this is like little so cool.

Speaker 2: It's funny. I was in Gillette, Wyoming last week. And if you've been to Wyoming, there's these, they look like giant tumuli. They're basically old, ancient coal deposits that had caught on fire and spouted out like a chimney. Oh, wow. But they look like people giant tumuli out there in the landscape.

Speaker 1: Can you imagine the bee coming out of that thing? But it kind of reminded me of that when I was out there. It's pretty strange. Yeah. It's just a really cool thing. So I put that sign up there, not to tell people to stay out, but to tell people what is here and let them kind of realize on their own.

Hey, if I'm going to be walking here looking for a ball, this is what I should be aware of. That's really good, I think, you know, with a lot of land managers, especially in landscaping, the tendency of course for weed management is to put mulch down. But it's really great that you had Matthew out there and it caught your eye that you had these really great nesting resources right out there.

Speaker 2: A little bare ground can be great. You know, also learn that a lot of snags from the out-of-the-way areas of the golf courses that do not see play, you know, and you don't have to worry about. There are some, we had some old maples with some deadwood in them. Well, those maples, the deadwood areas were full of holes from the bees, burrowing in and creating cavities and nesting in those things. So you may want to clean trees out and have that pristine environment. What's wrong with having something a little bit shaggy around the edges and allowing that habitat to develop?

Speaker 1: You know, this brings a great, another point up is, you know, not all the golf course is a great place to put habitat. There are certain plays that are heavy traffic. Can you tell just kind of when we're looking at a golf course and thinking about places that would be really great for pollinator habitat, where are they situated?

Speaker 2: Well, obviously you don't want to put a wildflower plot, you know, say 250 yards up from the tee, where balls are going to either be hooked or faded into an area like that. So you want to allow those areas for play to continue. But if you've got an area that says it's around a tee box and behind a tee next to a tee or behind a green or areas where you typically aren't going to see balls landing, you can still benefit from the beautification of the wildflower or things like that, those are areas that can be utilized. And it's funny, I just saw that very same last week when I was up in Wyoming, I stopped at Teton Pines Golf Club there in Jackson, Wyoming.

Mike Kitchen is a superintendent there. And we started driving around the golf course and all of a sudden I'm starting to see in all these huge meadows of wildflowers. And I said, wow, would you get a grant through the Soongenta or Bear or anything like that?

No, I just went and bought the seed from Applewood and did it. Wow. That was under his own thing. He just wanted to do it. He felt that was the right thing to do.

Plus he just liked the looks, the aesthetic beauty of it. And as we were driving around, we had members come up and talk to him. He said, man, I sure love these plants. I should have these wildflowers out here. And it was spectacular.

Speaker 1: Oh, we should post, if we can, some pictures. You've got some. They're really stunning. Absolutely. We'll do that. Well, tell us a little bit more about what your members are doing, what kinds of, tell us some of the interesting things that you see a lot of golf courses. Tell us what you're seeing out there.

Speaker 2: Downriver golf courses. Spokane Washington, Mike Drain's a superintendent there. He's worked through bear and this feed-a-bee campaign and actually got a grant for $2,500. He's one of the few courses around that he's even applied for. But he took advantage of that grant and he planted, you know, probably a good acre plot of wildflowers where an old fairway used to be, where a hole was rerouted from. But he also utilized that money to plant a garden that he has planted a whole mess of pumpkins throughout this garden.

Speaker 1: Pumpkins. Really? So cool. He's taken this grant money and gotten some compost and put it in this area and planted these pumpkins. And with the thought that he's going to have children come out and do a thing through the First Screen Foundation, which is the STEM learning program that we've been promoting through GCSA. Bringing the kids out and field trips and teaching them about where food comes from.

Oh, isn't that terrific? So what they're going to do, the kids are going to come out and be allowed to pick, not just grab a pumpkin off the ground, but actually pick it off the vine so they can understand that. Then they can look and see how flowers have developed and they require bees to pollinate these pumpkins.

And when I was out there, I got a picture of Mike as well. You can see the bumblebees, especially the bumblebees love to pollinate those pumpkin flowers. They're out there all over the place. Then he had a hive right there next to two hives of bees, honeybees, right next to the whole plot. And I said, are these your hives? He goes, no, I just got a guy, a local beekeeper here, and asked him if you'd put a hive out here. And he said, absolutely.

So this guy comes out and checks the bees and he'll take care of all the honey and this and that. It's a done deal, but it's just, it's out of the way. It's in the middle of the golf course. It's kind of near his turf nursery and people can still go by and see it and they can recognize the value of what pollinator habitat is. He's got the signs out there that talk about the feed-to-be program through Bear. That sounds wonderful. Tell us about some other examples.

Speaker 2: Syngenta is also doing a program where they'll actually get seed for you from the Applewood Seed Company in Colorado. It's specifically based on your area, and geography, and helps you plant those seeds. Russell Van De He has done some of that up the Oregon Golf Club and planted some wildflower plots and you know, you and I, we saw them, they're pretty cool. Yeah. Yeah, it's pretty neat. And they've done some stuff out at Langdon Farms here in Oregon.

Nolan Wanker was part of that one before he moved on to Hussieville Lake. So I mean, that's just some things that, you know, even, you know, the bear and the Singentas are helping us really promote this and establish these habitats for the wild or the bees.

Speaker 1: That's great. Well, let's take a break, and let's come back and get into the nitty gritty of, you know, what's involved with getting these onto golf courses. Sounds good. All right, we're back and we are, talking a little bit about some of these really great experiments that are going on across golf courses in America, bringing pollinator habitat in. We talked a little bit earlier about the way Oregon really led with stewardship in the past.

And, you know, I'm really kind of curious, what are the lessons learned? Some of these experiments have happened, and people have put pollinator habitats in, I'm sure, bearing success, some of these sound remarkably successful. What do we know about putting this habitat in and what still do we kind of need to figure out? What are kind of the things that are still a little uncertain?

Speaker 2: You know the certain things that I think that I've seen done that work year after year is when they're creating You know either a physical habitat where it's like the old logs and wood or even Mason B boxes with the holes drilled in them Yeah, it's a place where they can come back year after year and have at those places and it makes a great habitat Obviously the really the one that we all think of course are the wildflowers the poppies and the different varieties of flowers You can get that really stand out and they're beautiful and what I've seen some phenomenal Examples of that but then what tends to happen? When a golf course would perhaps they spray out an area yeah, till it up plant the seeds the seeds come up that spring And they look phenomenal a great flower for the following year. Nothing really comes back. Yeah, they're just not Regenerating themselves and so a lot what a lot of guys have tried doing is you know in that process of preparing that bed It's a matter of spraying it out Tilling it under Regrowing it irrigating it letting it grow again sprayed out again. Yeah, and then try to thin out some of that weed population That weed bank that may occur all right because I think once you turn that soil over there There are so many weeds down there.

And yes, this is land. That's you know, perhaps not It just hasn't been touched but as soon as you turn that over those seeds are gonna come right up You're gonna get pigweed and all kinds of this all will start taking off, and things like that

Speaker 1: It reminds me of an episode we had with Jessica Cruz from Xerces Society where she made this statement: Whatever you do don't turn the soil

Speaker 2: up Yes, it almost Lest the better so yeah, if you could maybe even just renovate with an I Don't care. We're not kind of machine They are but if you could just take that upper level of crust off Yeah, clean that seed bed out and then maybe air fi and drop your seeds in the holes and then drag a little bit and let it Come up but again if you turn that soil over you're gonna open yourself up for a lot more issues. Yeah for sure Yeah, so I mean there's I think there's room for experimentation out there Maybe a little bit of research to see what the best way is to establish these types of plots

Speaker 1: Yeah, remember we had seen a couple of examples and we had one example where somebody had turned over the soil and It just got the seed and really they and they said I remember the comment They said the customers really liked it, but it did go into grass pretty quick Yeah, you know, I remember one thing that you said also in you know We were touring was the role of irrigation that sometimes irrigation can be a prop you need it for the establishment, but that sometimes it can be absolutely.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I think if you're getting it full-time year round then you'll see some of those weeds of this pop up right just to take advantage of that space But you know establishing it perhaps with irrigation then able to cut off that irrigation to let it just be more of a Thrive in its own natural environment where it's where the wildfires would normally be

Speaker 1: So I'm so what I'm getting out of this set of the needs are this establishment step figuring out some way either using herbicides in a cycle or some kind of mechanical Clearing to kind of get the weeds down and get that flower patch established and then with that be able to keep it in place Maybe by adjusting the irrigation making sure that you're not, you know Making a situation for weeds to kind of get their right handhold up We saw Russ's place.

Speaker 2: So that was under without any irrigation So the areas were kind of dried and foul a little bit because he was a seed pods that started establishing And so at the end of the season you go through and just mow that down that fractures those seed pods and throws those seed back in the ground

Speaker 1: I remember you talking about that and that it seemed as well He had it wasn't a weedy patch. He had seeded it to kind of grass and it was kind of Yeah, like it was a fescue.

Speaker 2: Yeah, so fescue is more of a clump-style grass Really won't grow up that high and they kind of will survive in an arid climate They'll shut down and go dormant Uh-huh, but yet though when water comes in they regenerate and take off

Speaker 1: And those won't wither away those plugs that he put into there seemed to really take off He had a like a dry place He added some flowers and they really took off and in amongst the fescue stand, right? Well, I'm looking forward to seeing more Experiments and I just like the things that people are doing it sounds like the industry has a lot of innovation and is doing a lot of Experiments as we speak and I maybe to close off. I'm just kind of curious about you know, when you look at different I was made aware that golf courses are not all the same You have public golf courses You have private golf courses some are really high in with the landscaping is really high-end Other business models are really trying to get people to come through the turnstiles and that's how they remain profitable When you look at these kind of different models, how do you see? pollinators kind of fit into all of them. They must take a different form in these different kinds of business

Speaker 2: models Absolutely, but you know, I think there's a place in almost every model of golf course You know because you know some courses thrive on that formal garden Look to it, you know, and there's always flowers that are around that and you can you know bees will be around there some of the other courses that are a little bit more Natural if you will and take advantage of some of that fescus in the tall grass, you know, they lend themselves almost a little bit better to that incorporation of the wildflower or Any other kind of habitat you could throw in there But I still think there's a place for everybody in all these areas, you know I've seen some real high-end courses in Denver that have beehives boxes in the middle of golf course really and people just You know, they had a horticulturist that was into that and they maintained it and you know The bees came and left and did their thing and they harvested the honey and all that so Number of courses, you know, Jesse Goodling at here in lakes. We saw that golf course and he's got a couple of hives out there Yeah, and they're thriving and doing very well

Speaker 1: And you know, it does strike me that there's every golf course we went to there's really great signage, and Golfers get introduced to pollinator health when they're playing the game I think it's a really great fit. You have such high traffic through some of these courses Right people that I don't communicate with on a regular basis. You guys are reaching them

Speaker 2: I mean that was kind of my motto or not. I wouldn't say motto but when I was a superintendent at Stone Creek, you know, I was pretty Forward thinking around you know in terms of Promoting the golf course and showing off what the golf course was doing wasn't necessarily promoting my own work I mean that wasn't my intention by any means, but I wanted the county to look favorable upon the public's Viewpoint and by doing so, you know, I would enter for awards, you know the environmental leaders and golf awards I entered a number of those and the golf course was recognized for that a number of times and we finally won the National Public Award for that and See what awesome bear Selected me as a purple cow award winner, which is a It's called purple cow But it was an award that recognized super tenants for their environmental Sustainable outreach programs and I was very honored to be recognized for that and they came out and did a full story on their little magazine and stuff it was pretty neat Clockmas County recognized the golf course as a co-operator of the year through the soil water conservation district So I was working with the soil water conservation to help promote safe Lawns and safe pesticide use for homeowners. I'm just coming out of a rich program that we did. Oh cool and then Canada to top the pinnacle in our career in 2012 was when GCSA selected Me as the President's Award winner in 2012 and that was pretty was pretty exciting That is to be able to receive that award and then that was actually when I decided to move on and go to work for GCSA and become the Northwest Westfields staff representative and I just you know as a move that I just Had to take

Speaker 1: I can totally understand and it's really the organization is really impressive because it seems like there's just so much knowledge and skill Within the members but also it's such a tight organization. You seem to provide a lot of services Absolutely back to your members, which is really I mean really remarkable.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I mean it's just been the people I work with back at Lawrence are phenomenal and environmental programs that they do in the environment's too for golf And we work for the superintendent. We work for the industry and we want this thing to succeed and this has been a great fit for me Well, let's take a break.

Speaker 1: We'll come back and I got some questions that we ask all our guests I'm really curious how a golf course superintendent association regional person will answer these questions So we'll be back in just a second All right, we're back here.

We've got these three questions. We ask all our guests the first question: Is there a book that you know that you think is useful or you use or you want people to know about? It's like a really good book,

Speaker 2: you know I referred back to the work that the US GA did with the Zerse Society and what came about all that grant and the research was that book called Making Room for Native Pollinators and so I guess that would that would be my favorite book in terms of bees because You know it has to do with golf courses and it has to do with you know benefiting golf courses and pollinators Yeah, it's just a real good win-win.

Speaker 1: So it's a and that's where it came out of your collaboration Like that book sort of had a starting point you had a role in its kind of birth

Speaker 2: You know, I think so, you know because the Zerse society is based out of Portland, and Matthew Shepard You know, I got to know him throughout that process and he was pretty instrumental I think in writing that book He was the author of that book. Yeah, so it was pretty neat to see that come about.

Speaker 1: That's a great suggestion Okay, we're gonna link that on the show notes so people can take a look at it Yeah, the second question we asked people is a tool. So, you know, people think about tools really broadly We've had one person's first episode of The Guy said tools my eyeballs are like paying attention Anyways, people literally interpret this question in multiple ways. What do you think when you think about pollinators? What's your favorite tool?

Speaker 2: Well, the first thing that comes to mind would be a butterfly net.

Speaker 1: Oh, they're good We were catching bees

Speaker 2: on or it was so much fun. Yeah, you know, my dad was an agronomist He worked for a chemical company back in the days and so, you know, he was part of you know catching insects and determining what kind of insects or in same potato fields and things like that so we always had butterfly nets laying around my house and As a kid I used to remember finding those nets and then Going down in the bottom of the street in the woods and waiting for swallowtails to come by and we'd go capture swallowtails Oh, yeah, so fun put them in jars and probably torture them to death, you know But I found insects really interesting that way and then I remember Here in Oregon State when I was taking anemology But we had we had given assignment to create a bug collection So I had right use of that net and everything and I even caught a monarch on When I was pheasant hunting on the east side of the mountains and that went into my bug collection I was pretty proud of that, you know So as a tool goes in pollinators and any kind of insects that that net is important But in terms of a tool that I use every day It has to be my my galaxy s8 because it's got so many tools within itself. It's a tool within a tool in So many ways. I mean I use it for my airline Travel I use it for my calculator sometimes I even talk about it. It's just an all-around Good tool.

Speaker 1: Well, your Twitter feed is really good, too It has all sorts of if you want to see what's going on in the Gulf War world in the region Signing up to your Twitter feed has been really helpful for me.

Speaker 2: Yeah, Mike. My handle is GCSA a underscore NW for Northwest and I just love to you know Bring to attention great things that superintendents are doing out there and like I said after this last trip to Wyoming I was try to make it a point to do a Twitter post after every visit to highlight everyone of my members that I did get chance to see and You know, I found some really neat things that these guys were doing some best management practices One was you know getting rid of grass clippings at the end of the day There when they catch clippings for mowing greens and teas They bring them in to throw them in the back of their top dresser before they go wash out the back of their cart At the end of the day they take all those clippings and go out in the rough and they just cast them out Instead of having a pile of compost that gets really stinky and and obnoxious You know, they're putting everything back out there and then they're returning all those clippings everything back to the soil You know complete in the circle if you will

Speaker 1: well, those are two I think are two tools We love them all nation We do like vulture specimens and we made some collections out on the golf courses this summer and it'd be really good I have a personal goal of coming up with a species list for golf courses I'd really like to know the diversity on some of these golf courses I'm great But the other thing I just love is it's true It's there's a lesson from the golf course that came up the superintendents in this episode is really there's a lot of innovation People are learning from one another and coming up with these great experiments Absolutely and your Twitter feed is like one of those little networking tools that seem to make that happen So

Speaker 2: and it's I'm not the only one I mean I see so many superintendents out there They're tweeting all sorts of wonderful things and that's that's I wish more guys would actually be on Twitter more Superintendents are just people in general and use it as that kind of a tool. I think it's a great tool for that

Speaker 1: Our last question is do you have a favorite bee? Is there a favorite amongst all the pollinators?

Speaker 2: Oh, it's gotta be the honeybee of course, you know, because it's the sweetest thing out there

Speaker 1: Especially this time you were not honey starting to

Speaker 2: come to the jars He's rolling out my brother-in-law's got a few highs. He just lives out here in flow with not far from Corvallis Oh cool We have taken my kids down, you know, August when he's spinning the honey We let the kids turn the crank and we get that honey going out there and then just to pin that finger in there So cool But we all see is it's funny because so many people are so afraid when they see a swarm of honeybees You know, they'll just yeah land the ground I've seen golf tournaments where people lay on the ground taking cover like to be in the middle of the war or something afraid These things gonna attack them But it's a contrary, you know these bees the first thing on their priority is to protect that queen And when she lights someplace then they'll come up and gather around her and create a big ball around her essentially like a Basketball and I've seen a number of these things happen and I've actually captured two hives at the Oregon golf club One where I just walked up with a pair of pruners in a box and cut it and put the whole Basketball inside the box and put a lid over it and drove it down here to my brother-in-law And we threw it in his hive and those things were down here for ages Oh, that's awesome And I just did one a few years ago another one at the Oregon golf club Russ called me up and I went out there and we Got the things off the ground put them in a box and brought him out here and Utilized them in the the bee box and save the hive Without without beat without protection. I mean these things when they're swarming, you know They're all engorged with honey and they don't want to go out and sting anything there They want to protect that queen

Speaker 1: Well, it's so nice to see these honeybee colonies being incorporated into golf courses now and people can see them and there is a lot of fear in Urban areas around bees besting insects, but I think it does a real service to you know The golf court the golf industry really kind of like showing them. Oh, no, there are these, you know We have to respect them, but it can be put into an urban area.

Speaker 2: Yeah, just fine But I still want to say I still think the mason bee and the sweat bees are the unsung heroes You know, they're they don't get the glamour attention the honey bees or the bumble bees get, and things like that Mm-hmm, but they're the ones that almost look like a fly out there and if you look at them in a microscope They're your decent and just gorgeous mm-hmm But they grow out and out of the way areas and we can provide habitat for those things very easily, you know, they're not necessarily You know your big blossom bees that come out and pollinate stuff, but they're Actually, I think do more pollination than the native regular bees do

Speaker 1: I well I still feel really great when we went out to Oregon golf course getting a little celiacsus a little It's just like that was not a bee I expected to see flying on a golf course, but there it was cool Yeah, well, thanks so much for taking time to be with us here today And I'm looking forward to keeping up with all the innovation that's going on in the golf industry. Absolutely Thanks so much for listening show notes with information discussed in each episode can be found at the pollination podcast Oregon State edu We'd also love to hear from you and there are several ways to connect for one you can visit our website to post an episode-specific comment Suggest a future guest or topic or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode You can also email us at pollination podcast at Oregon state edu Finally you can do a poll on the website Questions or comments or join our Facebook or Instagram communities Just look us up at OSU pollinator health if you like the show consider letting iTunes know by leaving us a review or rating It makes us more visible which helps others discover pollination. See you next week You

David Phipps is considered one of the Northwest’s leaders in golf course environmental stewardship and innovation. While working as the superintendent at Stone Creek Golf, he received the GCSAA President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2012, as well as the 2004-2005 Cooperator of the Year by the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District. David received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Oregon State University in Horticulture, Turf and Landscape Management, and currently works for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America as the NW Region Field Staff Representative.

Today we’re talking about pollinator habitats curated within golf courses, how they can best be utilized, and David’s amazing contributions to conservation and the golf industry.

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“I think there’s a place in almost every model of golf course [for pollinators].” – David Phipps

Show Notes:

  • How David became involved in the intersection of golf and conservation
  • Why David’s program became the gold standard for golf courses around the country
  • How courses around the world have contributed to pollinators in different ways
  • The ways David developed the habitat alongside the course
  • What lessons David has learned from the pollinator habitat projects
  • How irrigation and improper preparation can cause habitats to fail
  • The way that pollinators fit into different kinds of courses

“If you’ve got an area that’s not going to see balls landing but you can still benefit from the beautification of the wildflowers, those are areas that can be utilized.” – David Phipps

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