How do Golf Courses Get Rid of Moles? What You Need to Know

Last Modified on May 21, 2024 by Zachary Smith

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Do you have a mole problem on your golf course?

If so, you’re not alone. Moles love to dig into and destroy pristine fairways and putting greens.

And, when they do, they can wreak havoc on your business AND your customers, making your course look unprofessional and disrupting golfers’ games.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with destructive moles forever.

Here at Smith’s Pest Management, we know how to get rid of moles on golf courses because we’ve been doing this for years in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast.

We leveraged our extensive knowledge to compile this complete guide.

Let’s start now.

What Attracts Moles to Golf Courses?

golf course mole control tips

What attracts these destructive, digging creatures to your golf courses?

Here are a few of the most common factors:

1. Food

Moles eat mainly earthworms, insects, and grubs. Moles find their food sources by digging through the soil, and they like cool, moist soil that contains many insects. That’s why they’re so likely to be attracted to the well-maintained, often-watered turf on your golf course.

2. Landscaping elements

Moles are prey animals, so they often construct their underground runways near landscaping elements that provide shelter, like fences, paths, or other man-made borders – all of which are common on golf courses.

3. Trees and hedges

Moles like to burrow beneath shrubs and trees since insects tend to live in their root systems.

7 Effective Mole Control Tips for Your Golf Course

mole trap golf course

Now that we’ve discussed what draws moles to golf courses, let’s discuss what to do about them once they arrive.

Here are a few mole control methods we recommend for your golf course:

1. Insect Reduction

Food is the primary factor that draws moles to golf courses. Less available food means fewer moles.

With this in mind, one way to address your mole problem is through insect reduction methods, like the grub control services we offer here at Smith’s.

Our team uses natural, eco-friendly tactics like nematodes and milky spore fungus, or liquid systemic insect products.

These methods get rid of grubs without harming your grass or putting non-target species in danger.

Pros: Effective, generally safe for moles and non-target species.

Cons:  Should be used in conjunction with other mole control methods.

2. Trapping

Live-catch traps are a human and effective way to remove moles from your golf course. To use them, place them along active mole runways.

To tell if a runway is active, press down on the edge and come back in 2-3 days to see if the moles have repaired the runway.

Since moles won’t repair abandoned runways, this is an effective way to identify their thoroughfares.

Once you’ve identified active runways, place a live trap at the entrance and check it daily. When you trap moles, relocate them at least a half mile away from your golf course and release them back into the wild.

You can also use kill traps if you’re not interested in live-trapping moles. These traps are effective at eradicating moles quickly but are not humane solutions.

Pros: Effective, humane (if you use live traps), immediate solution.

Cons: Requires close contact with moles, can be time-consuming, not all states allow trapping of wild animals. 

3. Deterrents and Repellents

Deterrents and repellents are mole control tactics that discourage moles from frequenting a specific area without harming them.

Repellents are usually granular chemicals that can be spread throughout your golf course to keep moles away.

Today, it’s possible to find eco-friendly, safe repellents that contain scents or substances moles dislike but won’t kill moles or non-target species.

Mothballs, garlic, and spearmint leaves are all common options. For additional suggestions, talk to a pest control expert. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, reach out to Smith’s.

Deterrents, like repellents, discourage moles from burrowing, but they do so by making the habitat undesirable for moles.

Some deterrents rely on noise, sending ultrasonic pulses down into the ground to deter moles. Other deterrents imitate predators like hawks or eagles to scare moles away.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with deterrents and repellents to find the mixture that works for you.

Pros: Effective, natural, non-toxic, ideal for severe mole infestations.

Cons: May take a while to get rid of existing moles, may require some experimentation. 

golf course mole damage

4. Baits

If you want to eradicate moles on your golf course, toxicants and rodenticides are available.

Some rodenticides mimic moles’ natural food sources, and fatally poison the moles upon ingestion.

Since they are not a humane or eco-friendly option, though, we generally caution golf course owners about using them.  Additionally, they’re banned in California.

Pros: Effective, fast-acting, long-lasting solution

Cons: Baits and toxicants may poison non-target species, such as birds of prey who consume poisoned moles. 

5. Barrier Methods

In extreme situations, you can install underground barriers that prevent moles from tunneling into an area such as a fairway or putting green.

While these methods are expensive and time-consuming to install, they can be effective.

Pros: Effective, natural, and non-toxic.

Cons: May be impractical for large golf courses, expensive, difficult to install. 

6.  Natural Predators

One easy and eco-friendly way to control moles on your golf course is to introduce natural predators, such as snakes and owls.

For best results, create owl and hawk nesting sites throughout your golf course. As the owls breed and grow, they’ll feed on juvenile moles, thereby keeping your mole populations low.

Pros: Effective, natural, good for the environment.

Cons: Will not eradicate an existing mole population, must be used in conjunction with other mole control methods.

7. Golf Course Modification

Finally, you can choose to modify your golf course rather than eradicating moles.

This solution is ideal if moles are only causing slight disturbances for your golf course, and you’d prefer to live with the moles rather than getting rid of them.

To cover up visible mole damage on your golf course, spread dirt displaced by molehills with a rake, and add grass seed over bare areas.

Flatten surface ridges from tunnels with your foot and bring in dirt or sand to fill the depressions created by mole runs.

Wherever possible, utilize natural-looking landscaping designed to hide mole activity.

Examples include planting hardy native plants and keeping off-fairway grass cut to knee-high level, rather than mowing it down shorter.

Pros: Eco-friendly, non-toxic, provides a long-term solution for living with moles and limiting the damage they do.

Cons: Can be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. 

How do Mole Control Experts Get Rid of Moles on Golf Courses?

golf course mole control expert

If you hire a professional to get rid of the moles on your golf course, what can you expect?

Here’s the step-by-step process Smith’s follows to get rid of moles on golf courses:

1. Mole Trapping

Once a Smith’s professional has visited your golf course and evaluated the extent and severity of your mole infestation, the first step is generally no-kill mole trapping.

Smith’s professionals identify active mole runways, and expertly place no-kill traps in high-traffic areas.

Once the traps are set, your Smith’s pro will return frequently to check and change the traps, and to relocate all trapped moles.

This option reduces the current mole problem and prevents moles from returning.

2. Grub and Insect Control

Next, your Smith’s professional will focus on making your space unappealing for moles by reducing their food sources.

Smith’s provides grub control services for golf courses via granular lawn treatments, which are easy, fast, effective, and straightforward.

3. Exclusion and Barrier Methods

To prevent moles from re-infesting your golf course, we’ll likely recommend exclusion techniques.

These no-kill, humane, eco-friendly techniques make it difficult for moles to enter your golf course and dig their tunnels.

Usually, we recommend gopher wire and gopher baskets to protect tree roots and landscaping and to make it difficult for moles to burrow into your fairways and putting greens.

While we don’t install these exclusion methods, we’re happy to provide recommendations.

4. Ongoing Maintenance

Getting rid of moles isn’t a one-step effort. Even once your initial mole problem is over, you’ll need to invest in follow-up treatments to keep moles from coming back. Fortunately, our annual mole control program is here to help.

When you enroll in our annual program, we’ll return to your golf course each year to monitor for recurring mole problems and address them accordingly.

The result is a beautiful, green golf course that your golfers enjoy, and no more mole headaches for you!

Need Mole Control for Your Golf Course in the San Francisco Bay Area? We Can Help!

Don’t struggle alone with mole damage for one more day. Instead, contact the team here at Smith’s Pest Management for reliable, comprehensive mole control services you can trust.

We serve customers throughout Northern California – from Marin to Monterey – and we specialize in helping commercial establishments like golf courses control rodent populations.

Don’t let moles take over your golf course! Call now for a free mole control quote: (408) 871-6988

Author Bio: Zach Smith

Landscape Pro Turned Gopher Pro: Owner, Zach Smith, graduate of Cal Poly’s Horticulture program worked nine years as a landscape professional- dealing with gophers, moles, and ground squirrels and was quickly recruited by other local gardeners. Fast forward to the past 15+ years, where Zach and his team trap and remove burrowing pests from residential, municipal and commercial properties throughout the San Francisco Bay area, from Marin to Monterey.