Golf Course Management

DEC 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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front NINE see more @ www.gcsaa.org GCSAA director of environmental pro- grams Greg Lyman spoke about how golf courses use and conserve water at USGA's water summit in Dallas. Photo by John Mummert USGA summit spotlights golf's use of water Doug Bennett knows the bad guys when he sees them. Like many in similar positions, the conservation manager for V v v Here's some good news: Rounds of golf were up 7.7 percent nationally through August, the National Golf Foundation says. Public course play jumped 8.7 percent. The upper Midwest — which includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin — showed a 14.4 percent rise. In Detroit, rounds were up 22.8 percent. the Southern Nevada Water Authority is trained to notice who is playing by the rules and who isn't when it comes to water use in a part of the country that sees just 4 inches of rain annually. If you're washing your car or watering the front lawn when you shouldn't be, Bennett is the kind of guy who will know. As such, maybe we should trust Bennett's judgment when he singles out golf course superintendents as true leaders in the in- creasingly important quest for wise water use and conservation. "Superintendents are exceptional facility managers. They get it," says Bennett, one of the featured speakers at Golf's Use of Water: Solutions for a More Sustainable Game, a summit of key stakeholders in golf brought together by the USGA in November. "They understand that theirs is a water-intensive business. They know the inputs they put on their golf courses, they know the costs and they know when and where they can cut back and how best to use that resource." Bennett's perception of superintendents and the knowledge they could bring to the table during this first-of-its-kind event was obviously shared by meeting organizers. Three superintendents — Mark Esoda, CGCS at Atlanta Country Club; Tim Hiers, CGCS at Old Colliers Golf Club in Naples, Fla.; and Bob Farren, CGCS, director of golf courses and grounds management at Pinehu- rst (N.C.) Resorts — spoke at the summit, as did Greg Lyman, GCSAA's director of environmental programs. Their presentations helped form the foundation of an agenda that touched on water matters in the game of golf ranging from the use of reclaimed water to legislative perspectives on water use and the impact of new technologies. 20 GCM December 2012 Esoda, for example, highlighted successes superintendents have had in his home state of Georgia in working with regula- tors and legislators to form reasonable water-use policies during times of drought. Hiers shared his experiences in managing an all- seashore paspalum golf course and how that turfgrass has altered his irrigation practices. The water-smart restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 — complete with its removal of more than 600 irrigation heads and acres of bermudagrass rough — and its back-to-back hosting of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open was a popular topic through- out the event, and Farren took attendees inside that work during his presentation. And Lyman shared highlights from the water use and conservation survey that was a part of GCSAA's Golf Course Environmental Profile. From all of these case studies and success stories, it's tough to dispute the progress that golf has made when it comes to water use and the importance the industry has placed on the subject. But refusing to rest on its laurels and spreading the message of golf's good work to a broader audience seemed to be the next logical step for most in attendance in Dallas, including GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. "The industry is to be commended for coming together and elevating the discussion about water use in golf," he says. "By bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, we can have discussions that will benefit policymakers, golf course managers, facility operators and golfers themselves. Significant strides have been made, but this is an area where we must continue to innovate as the demand for water increases." — Scott Hollister, GCM, editor in chief 9

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