Janesville68.7°

Fore! Cows hit links out for a spring swing

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Catherine W. Idzerda
May 7, 2008
— Keep your head down, maintain tempo throughout the swing, and watch out for that cow.

On Saturday and Sunday, golfers on the Janesville’s Blackhawk Golf Course shared the fairways with some bovine visitors.


Three Holsteins wandered across the course near the first and second holes. Thankfully, they avoided the greens, keeping to the rough.


Just like amateur golfers.


“There wasn’t really any damage to the course,” said Tom Tautges, general manager of Riverside and Blackhawk Golf courses.


Tautges said a few instances of cows on the course have happened over the years. The eighth hole borders a pasture.


“I think its just a snow fence that keeps them in; it’s probably deteriorated some,” Tautges said.


The cows are owned by the Churchill family, among minor celebrities in the Rock County dairy world. Richard Churchill, 79, has been milking for more than 63 years.


The family is working with the city to fix the fence.


While everyone has a tender spot in their hearts for Holsteins, the golf course isn’t the best place for them.


It’s not just the random grazing and the additional “hazards” that a would be a problem.


“Cows are not typically light on their feet,” said Randy Thompson, UW Extension dairy and livestock agent. “If they ran across a green, they could do a lot of damage. Of course, then you’d have plenty of places to put the cup.”


And although the cows had not reserved their round of golf—or paid for it—they certainly adhered to good golf etiquette.


“I don’t think there were any play-through or speed of play issues,” Tautges said.


Good manners are important, but what about skill?


On the positive side of the scorecard, cows have notoriously placid temperaments for golf, which is among the world’s most aggravating games.


But then they might have equipment problems.


“The biggest issue they would have is not being able to fit into the golf cart,” he said.


Thompson speculated that the cows weren’t actually golfers, only spectators.


“In the big golf tournaments, they have areas where the spectators can cross the course,” Thompson said. “Did they have a lawn chair strapped to their backs? That would be a sign.”



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