ROCKLAND — The Canada goose has distinct features.

A black head and neck. White cheeks. Brown body. Often found close to fresh water and known to be territorial in nature.

Certainly none have been known to have a particularly strong golf handicap.

Despite that final fact, dozens have found their way to the Rockland Golf Course the past few years and have wreaked havoc on the course — and enjoyment of patrons — of the beautiful, well-mantained 18-hole public course on Old County Road.

“Usually they go away in the wintertime,” said RGC PGA Professional Keenan Flanagan. “Well, now they’ve been staying. They were not here the winter before, but they were here last winter. And as this summer has gone along, it’s gotten worse and worse and worse.”

And with that many geese and their penchant for stalking for food — either from nature or human sources — well, one gets the picture.

“So the Canada geese … disposal, or whatever you want to call it, it gets smudged into the turf by our mowers and that kills the grass,” Flanagan said. “It was making a mess of the mowers and it just looks like there’s grease all over the golf course. And of course the customers and the people playing golf didn’t really like walking through that all day long.”

There has been geese feathers and bird crap on most fairways and many greens. It became difficult to navigate around the mess and, the geese themselves, as the birds simply walked a short distance away when golfers approached.

Now, Flanagan has called for reinforcements. The big dogs, if you will.

“I got an idea from one of my friends to put some coyote decoys out there. If you look them up on the internet there’s probably 50 different kinds. So I placed an order.”

Flanagan said he has two coyote decoys on the front and back nine holes of the course. The location of the decoys constantly will change to keep the geese from the course as a whole and not just specific areas.

After five days, Flanagan said, “it seems to be taking effect.”

“Whether or not that lasts is trial and error,” he said. “I’m not a geese expert by any means. But the decoys seem to be helping.”

Of course, the issue is not strictly a RGC problem, but a general golf course problem. Other courses contend with the geese and their mess.

At RGC, at least, the geese now seem to fly over, but do not land, so the problem-solving idea to bring in coyote decoys seems to have worked — for the time being.

Of course, it does not hurt there also are a few live coyotes in the area who have found the menu of food items in and around the course appetizing.

For now, fake coyotes are the most visible deterrent as Flanagan — and golfers — hope that keeps the geese moving along as the birds look for suitable landing and living spots — far from the Rockland Golf Course.