As the movement toward a more sustainable future continues to grow, an increasing number of golf courses are taking notice. Many clubs around the country are now implementing more sustainable solutions. Industry associations are supporting their efforts with annual awards such as the Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards, which is sponsored by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Golf Digest. Here are some of the most successful initiatives.
Pristine golf greens and beautifully landscaped properties are a cornerstone for most golf courses. In order to keep courses looking their best, thousands of gallons of herbicides are usually required. Although glyphosate-based herbicides are widely used, the World Health Organization reported in March 2015 that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Alternative eco-friendly products are now available; however, some still have toxic ingredients, can be expensive, and may not be as effective as glyphosate. Naturally organic herbicides labeled “minimum risk exempt” meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s strict requirements regarding the active and inert ingredients. Only about 50 natural ingredients are permitted in minimum risk exempt products.
One affordable, minimum-risk, non-selective herbicide that some golf courses are now relying on is called EcoMIGHT. “It absolutely smoked everything I sprayed it on,” said Bradley Jacklin, turf grass and golf course industry expert. “It was absolutely amazing.”
Solar power is an excellent renewable energy alternative and can help generate the energy that golf courses require, especially for those located in sunny areas.
Many solar-powered golf carts as well as conversion kits for existing golf carts are available today. By installing a solar-powered roof to the cart, you can easily collect enough energy to power them. In addition, solar panels can be installed around the golf course and on the rooftops of parking garages or club houses to generate electricity for associated restaurants and other club needs or to sell back to the local power grid.
Golf clubs can participate in common recycling efforts such as recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. In addition, swapping disposable cups for an environmentally friendly alternative is another small, yet significant, step toward sustainability.
Many golf balls are only hit once or end up in a water trap or lost in the brush. Today, organizations retrieve these lost balls and sell them at a steep discount. Not only does purchasing these recycled balls help reduce the production of new ones, but it can cut down costs. Many studies have been conducted that show recycled balls perform just as well as new ones.
In addition, golf courses can now purchase 100 percent biodegradable golf tees, which have the potential of saving 70,000 trees per year and eliminating 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide.
Golf courses are often a cornerstone of wealthier communities in our country. It’s important for golf courses to add sustainability to their mission as they can make a significant contribution to reducing environmental impact through their decisions. Choosing non-selective, minimum risk best herbicide like EcoMIGHT, embracing alternative energy sources, and taking recycling seriously are just a few sustainable decisions that can make a significant difference.