Lawrence, Kansas, United States: Golf provides many benefits to communities, including a US$84-billion economy, US$4 billion in charitable impact, two million jobs and fitness opportunities.
In addition, golf courses that are maintained through science-based agronomic and environmental Best Management Practices (BMPs) provide healthy greenspaces and wildlife habitat that benefit everyone.
Best Management Practices demonstrate golf’s professional aptitude and attitude as responsible businesses and stewards of the land and resources.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is spearheading the documentation and communication of golf’s professional management through the creation of BMP manuals at US golf courses, with support from the United States Golf Association and PGA Tour.
The goal is to have State-specific BMP guidelines in all 50 States by 2020. Forty-one states are on track to be finished by the end of 2019.
GCSAA’s online planning guide and template gives State committees an easy online tool to use, and once a State has a published guideline, then individual golf courses in the State can use it to create a facility-specific manual.
In celebration of Earth Day, following are a few facts on the way BMPs are changing how golf courses are managed and increasing the benefits to the communities they serve:
- GCSAA’s BMPs include four focus areas: water conservation, water quality protection, pollution prevention and energy conservation.
- BMPs are a community effort. In addition to superintendents and other golf industry experts, State BMP guidelines are developed in partnership with universities, conservation groups, water groups and state agencies including state departments of agriculture, environmental protection, natural resources and more.
- BMP adoption takes the whole golf facility. While superintendents will lead efforts at the facility level, BMPs also provide architects, builders, owners, managers and golfers with a framework for a sustainable approach to golf course management.
- BMPs help maintain healthy turfgrass, which makes for quality playing surfaces.
- State BMP guidelines can also be applied to parks, athletic fields, lawns and gardens or any other plant-based area.
- BMPs protect and provide for healthy soil and water, as well as food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.