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Thornberry Creek at Oneida keeping nature at center of course


001KaliByLine_NWisneski_newMany golf courses get a bad rap for their liberal use of chemicals and fertilizers but at Thornberry Creek at Oneida, a more nature focused approach to course maintenance is used.

Thornberry Creek at Oneida’s Course Superintendent Steve Archibald has steered the course’s upkeep for the last 20 years.

“We’ve been doing this for years. We try to find that balance between the manicure and natural state,” said Archibald.

The course does take a different approach to how some course maintenance is done. Archibald is involved in the state’s Audubon Society.

“I became certified in environmental planning with the Audubon Society. Our plan is certified but our course isn’t,” said Archibald.

The course also works with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin (BRAW).

“We have bluebird houses throughout the course, the (BRAW) staff monitors the course for us,” Archibald said.

Along with bluebirds, Archibald has noticed a problem with the Monarch butterfly population.

“When I started reading I noticed that we were cutting down their habitat; milkweed. We used to fight it. It actually cost us more money. Instead of fighting it we thought to let it more natural and save some money,” he said.

Now milkweed is throughout the course and it’s not uncommon to see a number of monarchs flying around as you tee-off on the first hole.

Along with the natural look Thornberry Creek at Oneida has a unique way to treat fallen trees.

“Any time a tree falls in the woods, we leave it there. We leave it for the wildlife to have,” said Archibald.

Not every tree is left where it lies. Some are cut up and used in the kitchen’s fire burning pizza oven.

The natural look around the course has caught the attention of homeowners.

“A homeowner sent me a message that he wasn’t happy with the natural look of the course along his property. After explaining what we are going for we got people to buy into it,” said Archibald.

“A weed to some is beautiful to others. We need to keep working to find that balance between nature and the golf course,” Archibald said.

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