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The ‘Links’ Between Golf and the Environment

The ‘Links’ Between Golf and the Environment

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The ‘Links’ Between Golf and the Environment

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  1. The ‘Links’ Between Golf and the Environment Scott Duzan Ens Senior Capstone Project 5-1-05

  2. Overview • Introduction to the system • Focus areas: • Water usage and management • Fertilizer/Pesticide usage and management • Wildlife management • Eco-friendly practices for golf courses • Suggestions and conclusion • Q & A session

  3. Impact of Golf Courses on the Environment Impact of Golf Courses on the Environment • Water usage • Fertilizers and pesticides • Wildlife and biodiversity • Land usage • Traffic and noise • Energy usage • Economic benefits • Visual impact

  4. Golf’s Popularity on the Rise Golf’s Popularity on the Rise • Game gains notoriety: 1970’s • Course construction boom: 1980’s • Popular athletes, golf-related movies are catalysts • Recent USGA report: • $18 billion industry • 24.5 million Americans play golf • 14,500 golf courses (public and private)

  5. Impact of the Environment on Golf Courses Impact of the Environment on Golf Courses • Outdoor experience “No other land based sport has as much human-environment interaction as does the game of golf”Stuart Bloch, former USGA President

  6. Concerns Arise Concerns Arise • Environmental issues become hot topics: 1970’s • Shift: ecologically sound to environmental disaster • Rejection of course construction projects • Fear, mixed feelings among turf industry leaders • USGA takes a stand; intensive research projects 1989-1997

  7. Water Usage Water Usage • Irrigate, Irrigate, Irrigate • Highly visible action • Depleting local water sources • Polluting local water sources • USGA responds

  8. Water Management 1 Water Management 1 • Develop new cultivars: • Require less water • Use brackish water or ocean water • Collaborate with CIT • Improved technology: • Weather, climate stations on site • Irrigation system upgrades • ‘Best Management’ practices

  9. Water Management 2 Water Management 2 • Alternative water sources • Use brackish water or ocean water • Reverse osmosis desalinization plants • Employ principles in course design • Education and awareness • Collaborate with EPA, ACSP, Sierra Club…

  10. Fertilizer/Pesticide Usage Fertilizer/Pesticide Usage • Pressure to have lush, bright green turf • Credited for golf course development • Again, highly visible action • Nutrient/pesticide leaching • Nutrient/pesticide runoff • USGA responds

  11. Fertilizer/Pesticide Research Fertilizer/Pesticide Research • Divided projects among 12 universities • Leaching and runoff impacted by: • Sandy soils and heavy irrigation – increased rates • Younger turf – increased rates • Dense turf and aerated soil – decreased rates • Less dangerous than agricultural fertilizers/pesticides • Risk assessment: exposure to pesticides is low

  12. Fertilizer/Pesticide Management • Follow manufacturer’s directions: • Apply at proper time of year • Apply recommended amount • Use slow-release fertilizers/pesticides • Increase frequency, decrease dosage • Develop more accurate mathematical models • Employ integrated pest management (IPM): • Structured monitoring

  13. Wildlife Management Concerns Wildlife Management Concerns • Negative image in media • Habitat fragmentation, loss, modification • Introduction of non-native species

  14. Wildlife Management 1 Wildlife Management 1 • USGA claims: • Golf courses = attractive habitat • High biodiversity • High density of earthworms; indicator species • Courses control local pest populations • USGA makes efforts to protect wildlife: • Protect sensitive, endangered species • Use native plant species when possible • Use biological, non-chemical controls for pests

  15. Wildlife Management 2 Wildlife Management 2 • Burrowing Owl study: • Endangered species • Suited to golf course ‘habitat’ • Low cost, low maintenance artificial habitat • Owls provide pest management, charisma

  16. Wildlife Management 2 Wildlife Management 3 • England biodiversity studies: • Courses do have increased biodiversity • Older courses usually provide more habitat • Patch dynamics, metapopulation considerations

  17. Eco-friendly Practices 1 Eco-Friendly Practices 1 • What does eco-friendly mean for golf courses? • Course construction • Site selection • Turf management • Water usage and management • Pesticide/Fertilizer usage and management • Wildlife management • Golf courses not inherently good or bad

  18. Eco-friendly Practices 2 Eco-friendly Practices 2 • Environmental consulting firms join the fray • Services provided • Rating systems • Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program: • Low cost • Complete evaluation • Certification in seven areas • Lists of eco-friendly golf courses • Golfers willing to pay more for certified courses • Extensive economic study

  19. Green Fees

  20. Course Location

  21. Results • Golf courses are substitutes for open space • More or less guaranteed • Most courses use peak-load pricing • Avg. Green Fees • Non-certified course: $54.16 • Env. planning certified course: $71.04 • Env. planning plus certified course: $72.18 • Audubon Sanctuary course: $87.25 • Audubon S. Signature course: $87.95

  22. Eco-friendly Practices 3 Eco-friendly Practices 3 • Pros get involved • Course design • Education and awareness • Eco-friendly golf supplies • Biodegradable balls, tees • Price vs. Performance

  23. Permaculture Ideas Permaculture Ideas • Permaculture = permanance + culture • Zone and sector planning: • Planning tools for best relative location • Seek energy efficiency • Zones: • Many elements support each function • Multiple functions for each element • Sectors: • Observe first, design second

  24. Suggestions Suggestions 1 • Continue fertilizer/pesticide research • Examine new grass cultivars effectiveness • Integrate accepted ecological principles with golf courses • Advertise ACSP • Improve education; more publications • Get more pros and course designers involved

  25. Suggestions Suggestions 2 • Conduct environmental impact surveys • Make small-scale changes • Recycle whenever possible • Compost grass clippings • Carefully consider site selection process • Utilize what nature has provided

  26. Conclusion • Quasi-promising future: • Certified eco-friendly courses on the rise • Golfers willing to pay a premium • Many ecological questions still to be answered