Golf Course Management

JAN 2017

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

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124 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 01.17 Best management practices (BMP) pro- vide superintendents with critical tools needed to maintain golf courses to the satisfaction of golfers and owners while complying with local, state and federal regulations. BMP cover the gamut of golf course management, from planning design and construction to water, nutrient and integrated pest management to pollinator protection and energy manage - ment. An area of primary concern in golf course management is the protection of sur - face waters from pollutants, including fertil- izer, and nearly every state in the U.S. is af- fected by federal legislation such as the Clean Water Act, which was passed by Congress in 1973. To meet these emerging challenges, GCSAA-affiliated chapters in several states have already developed state BMP programs for golf courses. To encourage superintend - ents in other states to develop BMP for golf courses, this article introduces the GCSAA BMP Planning Guide & Template, and de - scribes the experience of GCSAA chapters in Florida that worked closely with regulatory agencies, state university professors, scientists and extension personnel to develop the Flor - ida BMP manual and certification program. BMP: The Florida experience In October 2015, the executive director of the Florida Golf Course Superintendents As - sociation (FGCSA) received a phone call from a Florida Department of Environmental Pro - tection (FDEP) program administrator tasked with addressing water-quality restoration in Florida linked to the edicts of the Clean Water Act. Of particular concern were 40 golf courses located in the Springs Coast area of Florida (Seven Rivers GCSA member courses) implicated as "point source" polluters by the FDEP (Figure 1). The scrutiny placed on these golf courses was likely due to the intense focus by environmental activists on Florida's abundant natural springs, which has resulted in several years of robust Florida legislative ac - tivity designed to protect the springs. A follow-up meeting was held in De - cember 2015 with representatives from the FGCSA, FDEP and the University of Florida/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) in attendance. At the face-to-face meeting, FDEP officials said that their duty under the Clean Water Act was to identify all sources of potential nitrogen pollution (for example, atmospheric deposition; fertilizers from cropland, pasture and urban environ - ments, including turfgrass; land application of treated wastewater; septic tanks; animal J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D. Developing golf course best management practices: 50 states by 2020 Best management practices are vital to the successful maintenance of golf courses in compliance with governmental regulations. The GCSAA BMP Planning Guide & Template was funded in part by the USGA through the Environmental Institute for Golf. Many BMP for golf courses are related to water use and protection of water sources. Photo by Montana Pritchard

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