Golf Courses & the Environment

Our favorite sport has long been targeted as detriment to the environment. With the use of a variety of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and the blatant use of water (approximately 18 million gallons per course, per year), it’s no wonder we’re on the environmentalists bulls eye. In the near future however, with the growing number of green-golf-trends, we might just get back in to their good books. Here’s a look at what’s out there…

Organic Golf Courses

With on-going pressure from local communities for golf courses to clean up their act, there’s been a dramatic movement as of late for more environmental and safe chemical use on you’re local course. Although, “green pesticides” and pest control methods have been around for quite some time… the concept of an organic golf course, is something new. An organic golf course is free of “any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and or any other chemicals that are traditionally used on golf courses.” The Kabi Organic Golf Course in Australia may be on to something, environmental impact on animals for the creation of maintaining of a golf course is quite huge. Giving something back, may be a trend worth looking in to.

Golf Courses as Nature Sanctuaries

Are all the chemicals used on a golf course damaging? Apparently not. In 2007, a study was conducted on the effects of chemical contamination in a golf course pond on three specific species of frogs. These frogs faired better than their counterparts in a controlled environment without the chemicals. This study found that the pesticides and chemicals were more effective at killing invertebrates, like dragonflies and beetles; which quickly reduced the number of predators the frog had to face.
environmental issue with golf courses - new solutions

Using Recycled Water

Now, here’s a novel idea, the St. Andrews Country Club of Boca Raton uses only reclaimed water to irrigate and maintain its golf course. They pipe in the water from a nearby wastewater treatment company, thats able to clean the water up enough to meet federal irrigation standards. Interestingly, the added nitrogen and nutrients from the reclaimed wastewater act as a natural fertilizer to help keep the grass green. Top this all off with a 50 acre man-made wetlands that works as natural filtration to clean-up this water even more. Pretty cool stuff!

Golf & the Environment Initiative

The USGA, PGA of America and Audubon International have started an organization to help educate the public, golf course owners and superintendants on how to protect and enhance the natural environment of our golf courses. Similar organizations are popping up all over the world. They make a strong argument that many golf courses protect wildlife from urbanization. Their website has plenty of cool links, here’s a couple worth taking a look at:

Find an eco-friendly golf course near you!

Ways a golf course can protect the environment

We can all do our part as well, something as simple as fixing your ball marks and replacing your divots can make a big difference in the long run.

Remember the 3 R’s! Replace your divots, repair your ball marks, rake the bunkers.

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