By Christine Willard
Golf Inc. Reporter
Some unusual ducks are helping out with mosquito control at a Myrtle Beach golf course.
Indian Wells Golf Course Course, which is managed by Classic Golf Group, has a resident flock of about 75 Muscovy ducks that wander around the course and eat insects and algae. Nearby residents have noticed the impact.
“You can sit outside in the summertime and no mosquitoes will bother you,” said George Garrant, who lives near the 14th hole. He and his wife, Celia, lived on another golf course about three miles away. Mosquitoes there made sitting outdoors in the evenings intolerable.
He has posted signs to inform golfers about the ducks. “The Ugly Duck is Not an Ugly Duck,” reads one.
Muscovy ducks have a characteristic carbuncle, a bright red crest around their eyes and above the beak, which some find ugly. Their plumage is black and white, the original wild color pattern, according to Ed Hart of the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities.
The ducks are no problem to golfers and even attract some players.
“People call and want to come out and see them,” said assistant pro Frank Sneed. “Tourists are just fascinated by them, “ said Garrant. “They come right up to the cart and beg for food.” Some answer when he calls their names.
Their waste is liquid and acts as a natural fertilizer. “It is sold as fertilizer to nurseries,” Garrant said.
To keep them fed and healthy when there aren´t a lot of insects around, Garrant and some of the other neighbors feed the ducks bread and grain. “We go through about 30 loaves of bread every 10 days,” he said. Six 50-lb. bags of scratch grain last a month.
If the weather gets too cold, Garrant his and his neighbors open their garage doors and let the birds in to warm up.
“They are not the prettiest thing to look at, but they give some character to the golf course,” said Sneed. “They are no problem to us.”