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Golf Goes Greener

Water is the key resource for a golf course, as well as a key impact area for the environment and community.
1. Superintendents at 19-hole golf facilities utilize numerous methods to conserve water, with the top three tactics being the use of wetting agents (92 percent), hand watering (78 percent), and keeping turf drier than in the past.
2. Grass clippings are recycled by spreading them along the rough and around trees. Composting the clippings is also frequently used. Compost is an excellent growing medium that promotes fast germination and can reduce fertilizer use. Recycling grass clipping provides valuable nutrients that improve the soil.
3. Seventy-one percent of 18-hole golf facilities have incorporated one or more design, physical or mechanical changes to conserve energy, such as programmable thermostats, low-level faucets, irragation controller updates and T-9 lighting.
4. Golf faciliteis are highly active in recycling/reusing items in the golf course operations waste stream. For example, 92 percent of facilities that have oil in their waste stream recylce or reuse them. Other recycle/reuse rates inclide equipment/ golf car batteries (93 percent), hydraulic fluids (89 percent), pallets(79 percent), tires (77percent) amd aluminum (76 percent).
5. Surveys show that 29 percent of 18-hole facilities in the U.S. participate in voluntary environmental stewardship programs. In the Pacific Northwest, that number is 53 percent of facilities. 

Water management begins with measuring, tracking and analyzing water use. You have to know where you are to set goals and make improvements in a manner that demonstrates sustainability. One facility may be able to immediately incorporate a weather station and soil sensors, while another may only be able to reduce turfgrass areas or modify irrigation practices.
You should plan for both short- and long-term best management practices to achieve success. Short-term BMPs may range from hand watering, reducing watering times/volumes, or not letting water run unnecessarily. Long-term practices may include the use of technology or converting to a different turf species. You and your facility should set water efficiency and conservation goals as initiatives in conjunction with your business objectives.
Words from the USGA
Water Conservation Resources