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On Earth Day and Everyday, 6 Ways Golf's Green Agenda Helps Environment

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Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 01:27 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Editor's Note: In an effort to bring a diverse array of opinions and perspectives to Newsmax's A Golfer's Life, we are actively seeking contributions from industry leaders and newsmakers from the world of golf. The following column has been submitted by Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. Mona has been ranked as one of Golf Inc.'s "Most Powerful People in Golf" for the past 13 years, and in 2014 he placed higher on the list than Tiger Woods.

April 22 is Earth Day, which is celebrated in many different ways across the U.S. With more than 15,350 courses in America, golf brings numerous positive environmental aspects to local communities. It accounts for more than 2 million acres of green space, as an average 18-hole course comprises 150 acres (including 50 acres of rough, 30 acres of fairway, six acres of greens and tees, 24 acres of forest, and 11 acres of water).

The golf industry is dedicated to continually improving the construction and management of environmentally-responsible and economically-viable golf courses. Golf provides significant value to the environment and is the only sport in the world with an eco-label from the Rain Forest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council.

Statement on Sustainability


Almost 80 percent of 18-hole golf facilities have taken steps to conserve energy. In October 2012, the game’s leading organizations, such as the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and United States Golf Association (USGA), came together to endorse the International Golf Federation’s “Statement on Sustainability” to employ environmental best practices.

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The goal is for course managers and developers to continuously improve water conservation, water quality protection, energy savings, and pollution reduction. This includes providing ecological and economic benefits to local communities, protecting habitat for wildlife and plant species, using natural resources efficiently, respecting land adjacent to golf properties, and supporting ongoing scientific research of eco-friendly solutions.earthday.jpg


Golf’s Environmental Agenda

Golf makes a positive social and environmental impact, adding value across the land it manages, resources it uses, and people it touches. Additionally, golf can be a catalyst for sustainability awareness to millions of individuals, communities, and businesses. So what’s on golf’s environmental agenda?

1. Nature: Conserving and enriching biodiversity as well as contributing to the functioning of ecosystems as healthy semi-natural landscapes for people and wildlife.

2. Water: Acting as protected green space within watersheds, innovating highly-efficient irrigation technology and practices, investing in infrastructure to reuse and recycle low-quality water, and developing and renovating courses to require less irrigation.

3. Energy: Minimizing energy consumption and harnessing renewable resources.

4. Pollution control: Enhancing air, water, and soil quality through responsible professional land and resource management.

5. Supply Chain: Driving a greener economy through sustainable purchasing and moving toward zero-waste businesses.

6. Community:
Providing healthy recreation for all ages, youth programs, jobs and training, meeting place for families and businesses, and an event platform for charitable fundraising.

The Real Facts About Water

Among the most important issues facing the future of golf is water use. In some parts of the country, courses require large amounts of water to irrigate the landscape. But what you may not know is that more than 90 percent of golf courses use wetting agents to aid in water retention and efficiency. Close to 80 percent use hand-watering techniques for increased precision. Most importantly, only 15 percent utilize municipal water supplies.

For several decades, the golf industry has recognized its responsibility to reduce water use and become less reliant on irrigation sources. This multi-faceted approach includes development of new grass varieties that either use less or can tolerate poor quality water, improving the efficiency of irrigation systems, using alternate water sources to reduce or eliminate potable water use and introducing design concepts to minimize grass areas requiring more water.

Education

Providing certification programs to course managers and developers is crucial to create a sustainable industry and provide maximum environmental benefits to local communities. This includes continuously improving water conservation, water quality protection, energy savings, and pollution reduction. Below are a few organizations heavily involved in providing tools for use by golf course superintendents:

GCSAA – The GCSAA is the professional association for the men and women who manage and maintain the game’s most valuable resource — the golf course. The organization provides educational programs in agronomy, business management, communication, environmental management, and leadership. Founded in 1926, the GCSAA has 18,000 members in 78 countries.

USGA (Green Section) - The USGA supports the largest, private turfgrass and environmental research effort in the history of golf. Since 1920, the USGA has placed more than $40 million in funding university research projects. The goal is to achieve a significant reduction in water use, pesticide use, and maintenance costs.

Golf Environment Organization – Dedicated to promoting, supporting and rewarding meaningful action and serving a growing community. GEO Certified is golf’s international eco-label — a trusted symbol of great golf environments worldwide.

Results

Many golf courses serve as shining examples of environmental stewardship by providing ecological and economic benefits.

In 2007, Pasatiempo Golf Club maintained 95 irrigated acres. Just two years later, the city of Santa Cruz, California announced a mandatory 28 percent water cutback. The club quickly realized a water reduction of that scope was not sufficient to adequately irrigate all areas of the course. The golf course reduced its irrigation to 70 acres and saved $369,000 in 2009, $320,000 in 2010, and $300,000 in 2011.

Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Florida, obtains enough reclaimed water for its two courses to supplement its regular water supply. It has made environmental enhancements and corporate responsibility central to its business model. For its environmental stewardship, Broken Sound has received numerous acknowledgements, including certifications from the International Audubon Society, Green Corporate Citizen Award, a Proclamation from the City of Boca Raton and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Commendation for Recycling.

Located 30 minutes from Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island is home to five championship golf courses — all classified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries. The Ocean Course, designed by the legendary Pete Dye and host of the 2012 PGA Championship, has 14 miles of pipes and drains under the course to collect all water that falls onto the greens and cart paths. It picks up about 300,000 gallons of fresh water per day. Half of the water is used to irrigate the course.

During the design process, Dye also created more than 22 acres of freshwater wetlands within the golf courses, restored 80 acres of saltwater marshlands and planted native grasses to help preserve the dunes from erosion.

Conclusion

Golf’s environmental value and contributions are significant. The collaboration of the industry’s leading organizations has formed a strong bond on sustainability to lead us into the future. Educating golf course superintendents and consumers alike is important to get the facts straight and find better ways to be efficient and conserve water.

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About Steve Mona

Steve Mona became the World Golf Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in March 2008. Mona served as tournament director of the Northern California Golf Association from September 1980 to January 1982. Mona then became assistant manager of press relations for the United States Golf Association from January 1982 to June 1983, at which time he became Executive Director of the Georgia State Golf Association. In November 1993, he became CEO of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

For more information, visit www.worldgolffoundation.org.

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RonVarrial
April 22 is Earth Day, which is celebrated in many different ways across the U.S. With more than 15,350 courses in America, golf brings numerous positive environmental aspects to local communities.
earth day, golf, environment, green, agenda
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2015-27-21
Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 01:27 PM
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