Golf Courses Can Play an Important Role in Caring for Our Environment
Golf Industry Adapts Sustainable Approach
By Dean Miller Director of Agronomy, La Quinta Resort & Club / PGA West | September 18, 2011
Golf courses have always been recognized for their natural beauty and serenity. Players feel as if they are worlds away from reality - with the silence broken only by the swish of a club or the warbling of a native bird. While it is often criticized for its abundant use of land and natural resources, the golf industry is answering back with sound programs that assist courses in measuring environmental sustainability.
According to the Golf and the Environment Initiative, an effort led by Audubon International in partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and The PGA of America, golf has a unique role to play in caring for our environment - providing significant natural areas that benefit people and wildlife in increasingly urbanized communities across the country.
Industries around the globe, including the resort and golf industry, recognize sustainability as an essential business practice that feeds the triple bottom line: financial, environmental and social. As with any business, sustainability is challenging. In fact, running, managing, and maintaining a championship-caliber golf course with impeccably manicured greens and lush fairways takes considerable foresight, planning, resources, knowledge and manpower.
Realizing the many inherent benefits of a sustainable approach, the golf industry has steadily begun to adapt organic and sustainable course management practices - such as ensuring correct grass selection and minimal inputs of water, chemicals and fertilizer, and ideally reducing the carbon footprint through the most efficient use of resources and effective habitat management. This increased awareness of sustainability has also made the industry more collaborative - sharing best practices, implementing innovative solutions and highlighting measured progress.
For the industry to flourish, it must adapt such sustainable practices. To that end, a number of organizations, including Audubon International, The Environmental Institute for Golf and PGA of America, have joined forces in the sustainability movement.
According to the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, stewardship of natural resources is vital to the long-term health of the golf industry. The organization is leading a collaborative industry-wide effort toward a sustainable approach to golf facility management, and even recently launched a quarterly e-publication targeting golf course management, Sustainable Golf Management.