The Growth of Eco-Friendly Golf Course Design
The game of golf really allows you to take in the beauty of the natural world, and perhaps more so than any other competitive sport. Not only are you out in the fresh air and under the sun, but you’re often in lush, verdant green, and tranquil surroundings. Plus, there’s plenty of leisurely walking and time to look around and soak it all in while you’re waiting for your turn to swing a club.
Indeed, scenery and surroundings play an underestimated role in the appeal of golf. However, some may be surprised to learn that most golf courses are actually hard on the environment and that golf is not considered to be an ‘eco-friendly’ sport.
There are some fairly solid reasons for this, and we’ll get into them, but first let’s keep it on the positive and relay some good news; eco-friendly golf courses built on environmentally-friendly golf course design principles are becoming much more common these days. Here at Palm Desert Country Club, we’re proud to be one of them and being located in California it’s even more important to be this way due to the way prolonged droughts are increasingly common here.
It’s nice to see that most of the good golf courses in Palm Desert are moving in this direction and doing what they can.
Let’s look at these new golf course design trends here today, and green golf course design trends in particular. There’s really something to be said when your greens are as ‘green’ as possible, and same goes for your fairways, bunkers, tee boxes – even the clubhouse!
Read on, and book a tee time with us here.
Why Courses Need to Go Green
Most avid golfers who understand the level of upkeep that’s required to operate a quality golf course here in Southern California or elsewhere. For starters, a MASSIVE amount of water goes into keeping those grounds as green and lush as they are. Water usage is a more sensitive issue here every year, and golf course groundskeepers who are civic-minded will welcome anything that means they need to use less water to maintain the course.
The average golf course consumes 50 million gallons of water a year. To put that in perspective, that would match the average yearly usage levels of around 1,400 people. Pair that stat with the fact that all of the golf courses in America would cover the entirety of Costa Rica and it really puts this in perspective.
Next you need to consider all the fertilizers and pesticides that are used to make sure the grass is in optimum condition – much of it eventually makes its way into groundwater and from there it flows into the ocean or, in worst case instances – municipal drinking water reservoirs.
Some other concerns are less extensive in their scope but no less worthwhile. For starters, golf courses and the residential communities that often spring up alongside them (not unlike the ones at our Southern California country club) often create increased conflicts with local wildlife. Another consideration is that these developments often lead to poor stream water quality due to eroding shorelines.
Advances in Environmentally-Friendly Golf Course Design
As mentioned, it’s refreshing to see that we’re not the only Palm Desert CA golf course to be getting on board with this and aiming to be green eco-friendly golf courses. Let’s now look at some of the new golf course design trends that are made with environmental preservation in mind.
Let’s look at golf courses and water conservation first. Many are aiming to significantly reduce water wastage by:
- Using technology to pinpoint water usage and minimize water wasting effectively
- Utilizing filtered stormwater runoff through wetlands and turf grass
- Creating and implementing turf reduction programs
- Planting drought-resistant vegetation that can survive on a low water supply
The extensive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is also being reduced with measures like these:
- Use of organic alternatives to pesticides
- Planting genetically-engineered grass that is naturally pest resistant
- Using garlic extract solution to combat conditions that degrade grass quality
- Using composted turkey manure or tea composts to fertilize fairways
Respecting wildlife is also being seen to these days as well, and approaches include:
- Managing the rough and out-of-bounds areas for wildlife
- Keeping a record of the numbers and varieties of wildlife known to be on and around the course
- Maintaining the cleanliness of water hazards with an eye to helping wildlife
- Having groundskeepers mark off nesting sites if they find them
Palm Desert Country Club’s 2018 Desert-Scape Project a Great Example of ‘Green’ Golf Course Redesign
We’ll refrain from tooting our own horn too much, but our Desert-Scape Project completed last year is a great example of what can be done to create eco-friendly golf courses. By removing around 30 acres of turf from the rough and replacing it with desert plantings, we were able to create a more sustainable environment and one where we’re able to cut back on our water usage.
It’s almost certainly not the last move of this kind we’ll make, and we’re all ears when it comes to any suggestion or idea that we could implement to make our course an increasingly eco-friendly golf course. We’ll be sure to let you know, whatever they may be and whenever we move forward with them.