How to Create a Sustainable Golf Course Environment
The world's ocean surface temperatures have hit a record high this past year, as it continues to heat up due to climate change. Ignoring the issue will only result in things getting worse for every species that lives on this planet. One way to reduce humankind's environmental impact is through sustainable living.
It's possible to create a sustainable golf course without sacrificing on its looks and performance. After all, your course's green should match the color of its name.
Here are some different ways to create a more sustainable golf course and lower your overall carbon footprint.
First of all, it's important to encourage biodiversity in your golf course. Your property has a lot of space for all kinds of plant life. Letting it fill up with only grass and weeds would be a shame.
You can plant native flowers in garden beds to increase the amount of pollinators. These pollinators help with things like crop yields and encourage more diverse plant life.
Remove any invasive species and plant native grasses and trees. The issue with invasive species is that they'll suck up all the resources that should be going toward native ones. They may also endanger the animals and insects in the area.
Reduced Pesticide and Fertilizer Use
Most gardeners and farmers are aware of the dangers of too much pesticide and fertilizer use. Too many pesticides can cause health effects to both your golfers as well as any wildlife in the area. Overuse of fertilizers can damage your plants and harm the environment.
While utilizing both is an essential part of running a golf course, they're best done in moderation. Pesticides and fertilizers should only be used when needed, such as during certain times of the year. Your course manager should also explore alternative pest management methods, such as boric acid or diatomaceous earth.
Another way to create a more environmentally friendly golf course is with less frequent watering. Many courses will have their sprinklers set to go off at a certain time every day.
However, there may not be any need to water your grass depending on the time of the year and the area you're in. The kind of plant life on your course will also dictate how often they need watering.
For example, native vegetation in California is used to droughts and going long periods without rain. However, many properties opt to plant trees and shrubbery that require frequent watering to survive.
The most efficient time to water is late evening through early morning. Some types of turf or soil may also need more frequent watering than other areas.
It's normal for a golf course to mow its grass frequently to maintain its looks and performance. However, mowing too frequently can negatively affect pollinators, birds, and other ecosystems that live in tall grass.
One way to avoid any issues is to limit your mowing to only once or twice a week. You can adjust your schedule depending on how quickly the grass grows and if it's causing issues for your players.
Additionally, you can convert any excess turf into native grassland species to help with your course's biodiversity.
Use Energy Efficient Equipment
Utilizing energy-efficient equipment is another way to create a more sustainable golf course. Some examples of energy-efficient equipment include electric lawnmowers and leafblowers that don't require liquid fuel.
The problem with gas-powered equipment is that you'll need to stock multiple cans and schedule filter changes. It's also making use of a nonrenewable resource, while electricity can come from multiple different sources.
Using this type of equipment can also help your golf course cut costs due to how little maintenance it requires.
Locally Sourced Food
A golf club can incorporate sustainability into its food menu. Shipping gourmet foods from across the country or even overseas can cost a lot and requires multiple modes of transportation. This excessive fuel consumption equals a bigger carbon footprint.
If you care about the environment, you can incorporate more locally sourced food into your menu. There are multiple benefits to doing so.
First of all, locally sourced food is guaranteed to be fresher. It doesn't have to ship for as long and won't require as many preservatives.
Second, buying local food products shows support for your local farms and producers.
Finally, you can build meaningful relationships with local producers. This will prove both beneficial to you, as the consumer, and to them, as potential golf enthusiasts.
Better Waste Management
How you discard your waste will also have a significant impact on the environment. Things like plastic bags and polystyrene are difficult to recycle. Many communities lack the resources to recycle certain plastics, so they end up going into landfills.
Research what your waste options are and how to dispose of it. Coordinate with your local municipality to avoid any compliance issues.
One of the best ways to both create a sustainable golf course and lower your energy bills is through the use of solar power.
Everyone knows that you can slap solar panels on a building and generate electricity passively throughout the day. However, you can also utilize solar energy for things like lamp posts, charging stations, and solar-powered golf carts.
Depending on how many panels you get set up, you can easily generate all of your energy needs throughout the day. Even though installing them requires a hefty investment, you can mitigate the costs through a combination of payment plans, tax breaks, and energy savings.
Improve Your Golf Course
It's important to incorporate some level of sustainability into your golf course. You're not expected to change up every single one of your practices, but a little bit goes a long way. Use your sprinklers less, manage your waste better, and care more about how your business impacts the environment.
Hampton Golf provides premier golf course management across the United States. Our team includes over 1,500 members and over 40 PGA professionals. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.