Goats give Presidio Golf Course a manicure

The overgrown Presidio Golf Course will soon get a natural manicure courtesy of living lawnmowers.

Between 250 and 300 goats were brought in from California Grazing Tuesday afternoon to help prune the 18-hole course.

The little garbage disposals will be eating around overgrown thickets near the first and fourth holes. Blackberry bushes and poison hemlock will be their diet for the next two weeks, according to Dana Polk, spokeswoman for the Presidio Trust, which owns the course.

Players may see the goats munching away at the course, but the animals are not expected to disrupt golf games.

The goats will create natural fertilizer and expose serpentine soil. Officials at the golf course hope that this will uncover hidden seeds and allow for native grasses and wildflowers to grow.

The heavy shrubbery has been long-neglected because of an inability to access the area with mechanical mowers, Polk told CBS-SF:

“These areas are very overgrown. They’ve never been manicured. They’re impossible to access with lawnmowers.”

When the goats have had their fill for the night, they will sleep in a guarded area on the course monitored by a human attendant and a herding dog.

Renting the goats will cost approximately $5,000.

By allowing the goats to dismantle the shrubbery, it will allow natural grass to grow and create “fuzzy bunkers,” giving the course a natural look and adding difficulty to the holes. Polk said:

“We have a real mandate to use environmental methods, so whenever we can avoid using pesticides and fertilizers, we do. Allowing the bunkers to grow a bit allows us to cut back on pesticides.”

The Presidio Golf Course was opened to the public in 1995, 100 years after its construction. It had previously been open only to members of the military.

These days, the course is entirely supported by green fees paid by the golfers.