Golf courses have the potential to become more “green” – on their greens and in everything they do — if they use an interactive, on-line “Green Toolbox” that is being developed by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) and LandStudies, Inc., based in Lititz, Pa.
The golf course “Green Toolbox” will identify multiple environmental benefits that can be achieved through best management practices (BMPs). The project is funded by a PA Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener grant.
Practices such as riparian buffer installation, floodplain and wetland restoration, and manure compost usage can reduce maintenance costs while also reducing nutrient and sediment runoff, which have the potential to generate water quality trading credits that can be sold. The toolbox also will enable golf courses to improve stormwater management, aquifer recharge and filtration, water usage, native plant communities and wildlife habitat, and will help courses and municipalities meet water-related regulations.
PEC and LandStudies will meet with golf course industry representatives and local environmental action committees to gather information and help coordinate local support and implementation among golf course superintendents and municipal planners. John Chassard, Director of Grounds at the Lehigh Country Club, and Jeff Broadbelt, President, Agrostis Golf Management, will help organize and coordinate this phase of the project.
Brian Hill, PEC President, says, “As someone who enjoys golfing and also cares deeply about conservation and good water quality, I believe this project provides an opportunity to develop and implement best management practices that will help golf course managers and enhance environmental quality. It is the classic ‘win-win’ situation.”
Chassard notes, “Today’s golf course managers and superintendents are true stewards of the environment. Once completed, the ‘Green Toolbox’ will be a resource no manager or superintendent will want to be without.”
Broadbelt, who manages three golf courses and represents the Pennsylvania Golf Course Owners Association, adds, “I can assure you that I and other owner-operators are highly motivated to implement BMPs that address water quality, runoff, and groundwater recharge. Our motivation stems from the simple logic that if we improve our water resource conditions, we will have a better stabilized golf course and a more efficiently run program.”
The toolbox will provide a range of information on specific BMPs and benefits, implementation guidelines, and cost ranges that can be integrated into course management. The toolbox will include a framework that quantifies environmental credits that potentially can be sold. The final product will be published in a handbook, available in both hard copy and web-based formats.
The project will be completed by June 2008. More information about LandStudies is available on its web site: http://www.landstudies.com/.