Introducing Mike the Headless Chicken… Golf’s Newest Environmental Advocate

By |  August 14, 2013

By Kevin A. Fletcher, Ph.D., President & CEO, e-par USA, Inc.

Summertime… a time for lemonade, swimming pools, a little golf (we all hope), and of course, small town fairs and festivals filled with happy children, hot dogs, carnival games, popcorn and frozen dead guys. That’s right, frozen dead guys. And sometimes even Rocky Mountain oysters. You see, some small town festivals are odder than others. I learned this a few years ago when I first read about “Mike the Headless Chicken Days” (not kidding…see below). And Mike’s not alone. There are lots of these odd occasions happening around the country, and each one can teach golf owner and operators quite a bit about environmental management. (I know it sounds like a stretch, but I’ll make it work.)

Wacky Festival #1: Mike the Headless Chicken Days (CO)

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 4.40.56 PM

Photo: Kevin A. Fletcher

In 1945, Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, (CO) went to slaughter his chicken, Mike. He lopped off his head with an ax, but Mike didn’t die. Olsen had left Mike’s brain stem intact, and a blood clot kept Mike alive. He began feeding Mike with an eyedropper, and the chicken survived another year and a half — headless!  Now, each year, the Town of Fruita holds the “Mike the Headless Chicken Days” festival — with events like a “Chicken Dance” contest, chicken cook-offs and the 5K “Run Like a Headless Chicken” race. Learn more:

The Environmental Management Lesson:  Mike taught us that you don’t have to have a brain to survive, but without one you’ll need an awful lot of help to get by. Without a comprehensive business strategy, a golf business may as well be headless. And any business strategy must include environmental management plans. Yet, a recent survey revealed that not many golf operations have written environmental management plans, and well over three-quarters lack a written Environmental Policy statement. If you’re running around headless like this, your future is sure to run afoul. (Ouch.) Want to see sample Environmental Policies?:

(Part two of another Kevin Fletcher epic comes tomorrow!)

This is posted in Uncategorized

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

Comments are closed.