Golf Course Management

NOV 2012

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

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THE INSIDER: environment Bunny Smith Golf courses are top players in a nationwide effort to convert areas of highly maintained turf and orna- mentals to naturalized areas. Photo courtesy of Matt Ceplo Natively speaking National nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful (KAB) took advantage of the fall NEWS & notes The American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) has named six recipients in its inaugural Design Excellence Recognition Program. The six golf courses were cited for their work with ASGCA members in ad- dressing unique design challenges. The recognized courses (and architects) are: Bowes Creek Country Club, Elgin, Ill. (Rick Jacobson); Granite Links Golf Club, Quincy-Milton, Mass. (John San- ford); Lyman Golf Center, Middlefield, Conn. (Mark Mungeam); Mira Vista Golf & Country Club, El Cerrito, Calif. (Forrest Richardson); Phillips Park Golf Course, Aurora, Ill. (Greg Martin); and The Eagle Course, Twin Eagles, Naples, Fla. (Steve Smyers). All of the projects were reviewed by a panel of golf industry leaders, including representatives of GCSAA. "Each project shows the con- siderable value a golf course can bring, positively impacting the environment, the economy and the social makeup of its community," said ASGCA President Bob Cupp. planting season to encourage homeowners, municipalities and civic leaders to "plant native" for its first- ever National Planting Day in September. While KAB had not yet compiled the data to determine how many golf courses participated in the special event, GCSAA's own data make it clear that golf course superinten- dents are already committed to selecting native plant species that are well adapted to their environments. Consider the facts: According to GCSAA's first Golf Course Environmental Profile ("Prop- erty Profile and Environmental Stewardship of Golf Courses," 2007), 56 percent of those courses that participated in an environmental stewardship program such as the Audubon Co- operative Sanctuary Program and 40 percent of non-participants have increased their acreage of non-turfgrass areas. Those 18-hole golf facilities that increased non-turfgrass areas added approxi- mately 10 acres in native/naturalized plantings, buffer areas and lower-maintenance vegetation. Among all environmental improvements listed by superintendents who responded to the survey, incorporating native plantings ranked third and only slightly behind irrigation system improve- ment and improvements to chemical storage. KAB has taken note. "As the scarcity of water becomes a significant national issue, it's important that we focus on the planting of more ecologically appropriate, drought- tolerant native species," says Matt McKenna, the organization's president and CEO. "National Plant- ing Day promotes sustainable community greening in all environments, from the home garden to our nation's 16,000 public and private golf courses. "It's very gratifying to KAB that members of the Golf Couse Superintendents Association of America are taking an active role in developing and managing more natural habitats on their golf 36 GCM November 2012 courses through their environmental manage- ment programs." Over the past few years, several superinten- dents have shared with GCSAA their stories about creating naturalized areas on their golf courses, including 27-year GCSAA member Matt Ceplo, CGCS, at Rockland Country Club in Sparkill, N.Y., who set up a display describing the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly in an aquarium in the ladies locker room and asking the attendant to report on what the ladies were saying about the club's decision to allow milkweed (a native plant normally considered undesirable in appearance that is a primary food source for Monarch cater- pillars) to remain in the naturalized areas. "When the ladies found out that (the Monarchs) came from the native area on hole No. 7, I knew that milkweed was here to stay," Ceplo wrote in a 2010 case study for GCSAA. Ceplo's case study also emphasized the eco- nomic sense of planting naturalized areas where possible. "Over the years, we have reduced our rough mowing by more than 10 percent, saving us 90 hours or approximately $2,241 per year," Ceplo wrote. To read more, go to www.gcsaa.org and www. getgrowing.org. GCM Bunny Smith (bsmith@gcsaa.org) is GCM's managing editor.

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