McKone adds beekeeping to his superintendent duties

Like a lot of golf course superintendents, Erwin McKone is an environmentalist at heart. So when a member of Briar Ridge Country Club in Schererville, Indiana, where McKone is director of golf course operations, suggested the course would be an ideal site for a honeybee hive, McKone was all for it.

McKone took the idea to the club’s board of directors, and they liked it. While some members were concerned that thousands of bees were being added to the property, McKone and others convinced them that the bees wouldn’t be a threat.

With this new addition to the course in 2011, McKone  added beekeeping to his superintendent duties.

The three colonies are located between two holes on the 27-hole course. McKone says he’s proud to help sustain the honeybee population, not to mention the important work they do in pollinating plants.

Last summer, Time magazine ran a cover story entitled, “A World Without Bees.” The story blames insecticides, specifically neonicotinoids, for harming honeybees and contributing to colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Golf courses use insecticides to control grubs, mole crickets and other turf-damaging insects. Therefore, in the eyes of environmentalists, golf courses are guilty of contributing to CCD.

McKone doesn’t like the label or believe it’s true. He decided to go on the offensive to prove that golf courses can be a great spot to house honeybee colonies.

“This isn’t a problem just for apple, pear and strawberry growers,” McKone says. “This is our problem. It’s also a global problem.”

Nobody can accuse McKone of NOT being an environmentally friendly superintendent.

The honeybees will attest.