PGA Magazine covers Purgatory’s birdhouses
“With wall-to-wall irrigation, 200-acre Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind., has its share of gate valves. Far more of them, in fact, than Eastern bluebirds, which are indigenous to the area.
““We said, let’s kill two birds with one stone, no pun intended,” says Mike Merchent, who owns Purgatory and serves as the three-year-old upscale public facility’s director of golf. “If we put in bluebird houses, we can mark our gate valves and provide a home for bluebirds while we enhance and beautify the golf course for the people out there.”
“Merchent consulted with the Bluebird Society and last spring erected 96 birdhouses to mark the gate valves, with which the irrigation on a hole or a part of a hole can be isolated.
“Within four weeks, most were occupied by a variety of bird species, about 30 percent of them bluebirds, whose population in the area had decreased by 90 percent between 1920 and 1990.
““A couple years back, we had a water blowout on No. 18 on a crowded Sunday and nobody on was here from maintenance. With all the tall fescue and grasses we have growing up, nobody could find the valve,” says Merchent. “With our birdhouses, that isn’t a problem now. And the bluebirds have really added to the course’s beauty.””
This Idea Will Fly, Mike Merchent, Owner, Director of Golf, Purgatory G.C., Noblesville Ind.,; PGA Magazine, March 2002