You are always looking for ways to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle, so chances are you try to support businesses and participate in activities that serve a similar purpose. So whether you enjoy golf as a way to blow off steam from a long day at work or it is your chosen profession, it is important to you how your favorite courses conduct their affairs. Golf courses require a lot of resources, so they have been under much scrutiny by environmental activists and the public. Put your worries to rest and read on to find out how golf courses are adopting a green attitude.
When you look at a golf course, it is pretty obvious what the key ingredient is to keeping it so lush and green: water. It takes a lot of water to maintain your own lawn, but imagine the quantity needed to keep 200 acres looking attractive, especially in the summer months. An average course uses up to 300,000 gallons of water each day. A course in the desert: up to a million. So what is being done to help control this amount? Many golf courses have found ways to use less water, installing efficient irrigation systems that are regulated by weather-tracking computers. They are also focusing on watering grass only where necessary and keeping out-of-play areas filled with indigenous plants that tolerate reduced watering. Many golf courses are also designed to collect, store and recycle storm water in a given community. These sites are also using grass seed blends that require less water to thrive and seeding less overall.
Another key component to keeping fairways and greens looking at the peak of perfection is fertilizer. Where before chemicals sustained some ponds, their algae population is now kept at bay with bubbling aerators. Besides using less fertilizer, many courses have started using less toxic fertilizer and pesticides as well. These options include slow-release and organic formulas. The plant products are applied by or under the supervision of trained, licensed professionals and are designed to meet the needs of the grass, not exceed them.
Where golf courses used to just provide an outlet for competitive sport, many now serve as recognized wildlife refuges. Official certification comes from Audubon International, a New York based organization that monitors environmentally responsible practices at places like golf courses. In order to qualify as an approved sanctuary, a course must meet high standards in environmental planning, chemical use and safety, water quality and conservation and wildlife habitat management. Courses are also expected to develop outreach programs in order to educate golfers on environmental practices. When it comes to course layout, designers keep in mind the indigenous wildlife’s habitat. This means that dead trees are not removed and buffer zones around water hazards are left untouched, which encourages animals like birds, frogs and turtles to thrive. Golf course designers also keep in mind the natural layout of an area, incorporating and building around existing natural elements rather than destroying them. So whether you are teeing off at a Los Angeles or Orlando public golf course, chances are you will start seeing more wildlife during your game.