Going Green: Environmentally Friendly Golf Courses: Part I

Many of today’s golf course owners and operators strive to make their greens greener than ever before. Environmentally accountable and sustainable courses are on the rise. By reducing chemical use and water consumption, in addition to finding alternative energy sources like solar and geothermal, golf courses are more eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing than ever before.

Here are a few ways you can modernize your golf course and its water features by making it more eco-friendly!

Opt for Organic Maintenance

One option is to make your maintenance operation entirely organic in nature. Designed by English architects Steel and Mackenzie, the Vineyard Golf Club course in Massachusetts has replaced their traditional pesticides with composted bio-stimulants and fertilizers to help protect the island’s single-source aquifer. This is a great example of how an eco-friendly golf course can maintain both beauty and impressive playability.

Weather Monitoring

Likewise, Chambers Bay in Washington is an open host that now welcomes wildlife. This course converts bio-solid waste from a waste treatment facility nearby into fertilizer. It also utilizes a satellite-linked irrigation system that uses weather monitoring, which has helped the course cut its water use by 20%. If you’re not quite ready to invest in a new irrigation system, keep an eye out for local weather changes to avoid any unnecessary watering to cut down on costs.

Replace Tee Boxes with Grass

The Collier’s Reserve Country Club in Florida became the world’s first Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary back in 1995. The year before, the club opted to replace all of their tee boxes with paspalum grass, but they didn’t stop there. The club also replanted all of their surrounding areas with mulched walking paths and native grasses, in addition to modernizing their irrigation system to use effluent water across the course.

Algae-Eating Fish for Golf Course Water Features

The Westchester Country Club in New York has enlarged its holding ponds to capture rainwater for irrigation, and white amurs, a type of algae-eating fish, have replaced chemical elements such as copper. The club also features bird boxes to help restore the local bluebird population, which had almost gone extinct a few years prior.

Wildlife Corridors and In-Play Irrigation

Our home state of Oregon is renowned for its environmental consciousness. This evens holds true on our golf courses. Located on the outskirts of Portland, Stone Creek was constructed to feature wildlife corridors that minimize any potential disturbances of nature. This course also features an integrated pest management program which uses pesticides sparingly in addition to irrigating the in-play areas only. Their water is tested annually for fertilizers and pesticides, and their lakes are also 100% buffered.

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