Environmentally Friendly…Golf?

After watching the Masters Tournament held at the Augusta National Golf Club and being an avid golfer myself, I wanted to research to what extent golf courses around the world require vast amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides, and how badly they are harming our environment.  I quickly came across an article from National Geographic titled “Golf Masters Green–Ten Environmental Courses” that does not so much address the negative effects of this, but focuses on a shift in practices.  While golf courses have been detrimental to the well-being of our environment, there are efforts being made to help golf earn a greener reputation, as the article says.  Consumer consciousness about sustainability, an economic recession, and new technologies in turfgrass, sprinkler systems, and carbon-neutral engineering are all helping the cause.  The amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides that the featured golf courses consume have undoubtedly been ridiculous, but it is interesting to read about the measures being taken to curb the negative impacts this consumption has had.

Definitely check out the website, whether you’re a golf fan or not.


3 thoughts on “Environmentally Friendly…Golf?

  1. I might not be a huge fan of golf, but my dad is. He’s made me play golf since I was a kid, and I never really got into it. Nonetheless, golf tourism is spreading rapidly all over the world. Although most people play golf as a sport and way to interact and be around nature, most golfers do not realize or consider how environmentally damaging the sport can be.

    There might be a lot of efforts to help the environment but with the development of golf courses alone entails clearing vegetation, cutting forests and creating artificial landscapes. These activities lead to land erosion and block the soils ability to retain water. Golf courses also need large quantities of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides, which cause health problems among golfers, workers, and nearby residents.

    I recently read that Asia has gone from just 45 golf courses in 1970 to over 500 today. Golf courses not only require land for the course itself but have extended to create luxury hotels, spas, etc. to attract more tourists. In order for changes to happen, the implementation of a sustainable golf course goes not only in one place just as Augusta, but should be focused all around the world.

  2. I think it will be really interesting to see how the Golf Environment Organization will go about making more sustainable and environmentally friendly changes to golf courses already in existence. Many golf courses, such as Augusta, have remained historically unchanged and that adds to a lot of popularity and allure for golfers to return to the course.

    It will be interesting to also see how they can develop changes for these courses to better conserve water without damaging the play of the course. If courses become drier due to conserving more water, it will have a drastic effect on the play of the course, so I wonder if most of the changes instead will just impact pesticide usage rather than water usage.

  3. I’ve played golf since I was big enough to hold a club so I’m well aware of what it takes to keep a highend golf course functioning. It is unfortunate not only the amount of water but pesticieds and fertazlizers that are need to keep courses in pristine condition. The particular golf club I grew playing at also happens to be located next to a lake, so I know there have been issues over he years with pesticide/fertalizer run-off into the lakes. It has supposedly had negative impacts on fish and the effects can be seen as seaweed/other underwater plants grow uncontrollably in the area arond the golf club compared to other parts of the lake.

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