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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01.17 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 127 the environment." The Turfgrass Water Con- servation Alliance ( www.tgwca.org ) "qualifies grasses that demonstrate a statistically signifi - cant water-saving potential over conventional varieties of the same species." Turfgrasses that meet the rigorous testing demands qualify for their respective organization's "seal of ap - proval," much like the EPA's WaterSense prod- uct label on water-conserving appliances and plumbing fixtures. Similarly, technological advancements to irrigation equipment have greatly improved ir - rigation efficiency and uniformity, thus reduc- ing water use. Additionally, two prominent golf venues, Pinehurst No. 2 and Chambers Bay, made dramatic statements about golf and water use during the U.S. Open in 2014 and 2015. The setup of these tournament courses, which included reductions in irrigated turf and the selection of turfgrass species not com - monly used on golf course putting greens in the U.S., was not received well by some (9), but has generated considerable dialogue about the future of water use on golf courses. Although such improvements are good, these advancements have done little to shift some people's negative view of the golf indus - try. Unfortunately, golf courses are commonly perceived to be significant sources of pollu - tion and bad for the environment (1,2). The reason for heightened scrutiny of golf courses is mostly likely twofold: They are located in urban and ecologically sensitive environments under the watchful eye of concerned citizens, and much of the general public holds misper - ceptions about what it takes to manage a golf course. These concerns often manifest them - selves in environmental policy and action. For example, within one click on the website of the EPA's Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Water - shed Nutrient Task Force, one can see that golf courses are implicated as contributing to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico (12). Assuredly, the need for abundant sources of clean water is essential to life, and water is - sues will continue to escalate. One can only predict that heightened government and regu - latory oversight will proliferate. Alphabet soup: TMDL and BMP Every state faces water-quality standards and water-assessment requirements. Govern - ment and regulatory agencies abound with acronyms and abbreviations. Two abbrevia - tions that are very important to the golf course Adopt water-quality standards Monitor waters Assess waters List impaired and threatened waters Develop TMDLs Control point sources via NPDES permits Manage nonpoint sources through grants, partnerships and voluntary and other programs Define the water-quality goal Compile data/information and assess waterbody condition Implementation 303(d) program 40 CFR 130.7 In consecutive years, the courses that hosted the U.S. Open were showcases for plants and practices that reduced water use on the golf course. In preparation for the 2014 Open, acres of turfgrass were replaced with naturalized areas at Pinehurst No. 2 (shown above). Photo courtesy of USGA The Clean Water Act: A water-quality-based approach Figure 2. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA mandates that states, territories and authorized tribes (all are referred to as "states") establish water-quality standards, monitor and assess the state's water quality, and develop plans to improve the water where needed.

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