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Of course a course can be sustainable


- Rob Smith is a principal architect at CMBA | Smith Metzger.

It’s the classic view for many golf telecasts. The army of mowers headed out to manicure 100 acres of grass. Got me thinking…are golf courses thinking about sustainable design and using less resources?

Courses are certainly a huge user of water and chemicals. I found water usage varies but a course can easily use 250,000 gallons per day.

I called Legacy Golf Club in Norwalk to inquire if there has been a change in course management since the sustainable movement began. Joe Carroll, chief groundskeeper since the course opened said “In the past we mowed greens three times a week and the rough twice a week. Now greens are twice a week and the rough just once.  We also water the course with 100 percent runoff water stored in ponds.”

How can the players help the course be more sustainable?  REPLACE YOUR DIVOTS!!!  Or Joe recommends at least filing the divot with sand.

How can the course be more sustainable? Here are a few ideas.

  • Plant fruit trees in natural areas to provide food for birds and other animals.
  • Plant perennials.  I’ve seen so many beautiful landscaped areas planted with annuals like begonias and geraniums.
  • Plant drought resistant grasses so less water is used.
  • Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizer. The culprit is too much nitrogen which promotes algae growth and robs ponds of oxygen. Legacy used to fertilize three times a year but now fertilizes once a year.

Let me know if you have any ideas to make courses more sustainable? Contact me at rsmith@smithmetzger.com

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