With Masters 2013 right around the corner (less than a month away!) it’s no wonder that people are talking about golf, golf courses and— of course —how not environmentally friendly the average golf course is.
It’s true: for the most part, golf courses are terrible for the environment. This, however, is starting to change as more pressure is put on course designers and keepers. Here are some of the latest advancements in making golf courses environmentally safe and friendly places to spend some leisure time.
Weed Resistant Grass
More and more golf courses are putting in weed resistant grass. What good does this do? It reduces the need for pesticides and other poisons that are meant to keep the grass looking good and the weeds away.
Smaller courses and driving ranges are implementing astro-turf to help reduce mowing, weeding and labor costs. On larger courses, however this is not an option because artificial grass can be deeply harmful to animals that wander onto the course looking for a snack (plus, it’s not real golf if it’s astro-turf, right?).
Sprinkler System Improvements
More and more courses are switching over to computerized sprinkler systems. This allows the course to control how much watering is or is not done, which reduces water waste. This makes it easier to turn sprinklers off in the event of heavy rains. It’s also possible to program the sprinklers to go on and off automatically so there is no worry about forgetting to water or watering too much.
Some courses are using gray water and reclaimed water to water their greens. This helps reduce the amount of water wasted over the lifetime of the course and saves the owners of the course thousands of dollars a month. The RiverCrest Golf Course also uses a rain collection can to measure the amount of watering the course actually needs each day, which reduces waste even more.
There are few things that are ubiquitous with golf courses: immaculate landscaping and a clubhouse at which people can get meals and snacks. Some golf courses have set up composting systems with their clubhouses to help reduce their landscaping costs. The compost from the clubhouse is implemented in flower beds and other areas of the course to improve growth. Composting reduces waste. It also saves money on expensive fertilizers (which are not as environmentally friendly as composting in the first place).
It wasn’t so long ago that a golf course would move into an area and take over. The naturally occurring flora and fauna would be dug up/scared off and replaced with unnatural fairways and overly landscaped “natural hazards.” Today more golf course designers are working with the natural elements that are already there, using already existing wooded areas for hazards, existing ponds and lakes for water hazards, etc. It helps reduce the stress on the environment and the amount of money that it takes to completely overhaul an area to make it “golf-ready.”
These are just some of the improvements that are being made to golf courses. What’s great is that many courses are making retroactive improvements to reduce their overall impacts. This helps make it easier for environmentally friendly designers to do the eco-friendly things they want to do.