Golf Course Management

NOV 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/1042517

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46 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 11.18 search or something that actually took some effort and, perhaps, had some credibility be - hind it. In today's world, it only takes a click of the mouse to become an "expert" on pes - ticides, the environment, golf course man- agement, property values, fertilizer runoff and groundwater contamination. Whatever topic and whatever point you wish to prove are at your fingertips. It requires little effort, sources don't have to have any credibility, there is no cost, anyone and everyone has access, and no one is ever held accountable. So, if you are an advocate or an activ - ist, it is easy to find information support- ing your cause, even if it is not legitimate evidence. Additionally, advocates can use shocking or provocative headlines to get the public's attention and reference authorita - tive sources that enjoy widespread reader- ship and acceptance as fact. en simple, factual information about how you use pes - ticides, water, fertilizers and energy can be- come distorted and used in ways that paint a negative picture of what we do. Two re - cent examples on social media have been the amazing number of articles, blogs and posts regarding glyphosate or bee kills. As a result, superintendents may be asked questions on the golf course that are hard to address. We see articles in the local newspaper that cause public concern. Motivating misinformation Call it what you want — fake news, pseudoscience, science denialism or propa - ganda — the fact is that we are bombarded with this misinformation daily, and some of it impacts the golf industry. Even if you insist that you ignore all of this misinfor - mation, your golfers, club members, board members, residents, tourists, neighbors, parents, planning committees and local governing agencies do not. In fact, some probably embrace it, especially if they have an ax to grind with golf. If they want to find "facts" that support their opinion of what a golf course should and shouldn't be allowed to spray, spread, water, mow, prune, plant or grow, their access is unlim - ited. All we have to do right now is mention glyphosate on social media, and the whole world lights up. at is just one recent ex - ample. Here's the problem: confirmation bias. e internet provides motivated parties a chance to search a topic until they find in - formation, situations and friends that share their opinions or biases. ese parties natu - rally move toward the data and pieces of in- formation that support their own opinions and biases. All of us have these tendencies. In the past, you had to work at it — talk to an expert, read a book, go to the library, consult with scientists, do your own re - Factual information about the ways golf uses water, pesticides, fertilizers and energy can be - come distorted in the public's perception of the game, putting plenty of pressure on superintendents to master effective communications skills. Communicating science and risk is not like talking about sports or the weather. It requires some specific concepts if your efforts will be ... effective in molding understanding of controversial topics.

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