water buffalo on hole 4

A Golf Course Maintained by Water Buffaloes

The animals eat excess weeds and crops—and provide and memorable sight for golfers.

Dedicated greenskeepers use sophisticated machinery to keep golf courses in top condition. But Laguna Golf Lăng Côin Vietnam’s Chan May region—a spectacular Nick Faldo–designed course filled with tropical jungle, ocean sand dunes, and rice paddies—also employs a low-tech solution. At this 18-hole, par-71 course, three water buffaloes handle some maintenance work, tending to almost 48,000 square yards of rice fields in the middle of the course. 

This isn’t quite as unusual as it may sound. At one time, golf courses were mostly on public land and it was common for sheep and cattle to roam freely across fairways. Today, the wilder links clubs in remote regions of Scotland and Ireland use livestock to trim turf and thin out rough.The water buffaloes at Laguna’s course act as bio-mowers by eating excess weeds and crops.

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The paddy isn’t just for show; it is harvested twice a year and yields up to 20 tons of rice, which is donated to local families and seniors.So besides providing a memorable sight for golfers and reducing the need for machinery and manpower, the water buffaloes offer the course a way of giving back to the community.