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Cooper the crafty canine keeps golf course clean

Photo courtesy of Dan Trubisky

Golfers at the Ohio State Golf Club might have to hide their sandwiches in their carts to protect them from one crafty course worker, but that same staffer makes sure they don’t have to deal with the mess often left behind by passing geese.

Cooper is the crafty canine who has been known to steal food from golfers. He’s also the resident patroller for geese at the two-course club in Upper Arlington.

“He’s learned to steal food from the carts,” said Dan Trubisky, the club’s athletic grounds specialist and Cooper’s owner. “But no one gets mad. They think it’s funny, and when I find out what it was, I replace it.”

Cooper is trained to scare the geese off the course and runs toward any flock he sees to prevent geese from settling in and leaving waste. Ducks and the occasional swan inhabit the golf course, but Cooper knows to leave them alone. The geese are his only responsibility, and he has learned to distinguish them from other waterfowl.

Trubisky said Cooper doesn’t actually catch any of the geese but scares them away. And he rarely interferes with golfers’ rounds.

Foraging for golfers’ food, along with chasing geese, seems natural for the energetic dog.

Cooper, who lives in an apartment with Trubisky, is a Hungarian Vizsla, a dog traditionally bred for hunting. “I got him for the geese, but I also really wanted a dog,” Trubisky said. “It’s nice to be able to bring him to work, and the golfers seem to love him.”

Sharmin Rudin, who has been golfing at the club for more than 10 years, said the course has improved since Cooper came to town.

“The hole near the pond (No. 4 on the Scarlet Course) was always covered with goose poop, and we had to walk around it and putt through it,” she said. “Cooper has really helped solve the problem.”

William Santanich, the club’s assistant golf professional, said the arrangement is beneficial for the course. Besides the occasional golf-cart raid, he said no one complains about Cooper.

“They think it’s funny. Cooper doesn’t care what you’re doing,” Santanich said. “He just wants to do what he’s doing.” 

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