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Anthony_Nysse

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2010, 03:09:14 PM »
I have a new client this spring who wants to try to raise the bar for low-input golf maintenance.  We are just starting to discuss how.  The small town where the course will be located has an "organic" farming policy so their first question was whether we could have an "organic" golf course, but there is no accepted definition of what that would mean for golf, and two of the consultants were quick to point out that many "organic" treatments can also be harmful to the local streams.

I've also sent one of our young colleagues, Jonathan Reisetter, over to Scotland for a couple of months to work with the Golf Environment Organization on writing their guidelines for sustainable golf courses.  They are the first group with sufficient roots and credibility in the environmental community to try and pull off some sort of standards for golf courses that would be accepted worldwide -- and if we could just get local politics out of the equation, I think golf could come to be seen as a positive land use instead of the toxic mess some imagine it to be.

The Golf Environment Organization has asked me whether they might participate on Golf Club Atlas in some capacity, and this would be an excellent place to start ... I will copy this thread to Ran and see if I can make that happen.
In the south in particular, I feel that this would be very tough to do. With the threat of contamination, both playabiliity wise and astetics, it would ber VERY difficult to build a golf course and have "pure" playing surfaces. In fact, most courses that renovate now use some sort of soil fumigate during construction OR renovation.

Tony:

I understand it would be very difficult (maybe even impossible) to do.  So do the guys at GEO.  So what we should be trying to figure out is what things we can concentrate on to improve the situation, instead of just throwing out the whole idea as "impossible".  [For starters, maybe we can overcome the rush to fumigate the soil; long-term, maybe we can reduce the insistence on "pure" playing surfaces no matter what it means for the environment.]

They are not trying to make golf obsolete, they're just trying to make it a better citizen.
Tom with that in mind, I would suspect that there will be an even stronger push for the use of fescues, as that do not need nearly the inputs that the bentgrasess do
Anthony J. Nysse
Director of Golf Courses & Grounds
Apogee Club
Hobe Sound, FL

Jim_Kennedy

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2010, 04:09:22 PM »
As the general public becomes more familiar with the terminology(carbon trades, etc.) and techniques associated with environmental issues they will come to see the true relationship between golf courses and their environment.
It also makes it much easier for the general public to accept a little 'dirt' if courses are seen to be weaning themselves from their dependence on artificial means of support.

"I never beat a well man in my life" - Harry Vardon

Todd Bell

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2010, 05:43:13 PM »
Should we change the flawed maintenance practices, habits, and standards that compel the excessive use of chemicals? 

Do you think they use more/less chemicals on the putting surfaces at Sawgrass since the decision to not overseed? 

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2010, 06:01:02 PM »
Tom Doak,

I have had my share of envirnomental hearings, yes.  And politics is always with us, and always local, even if a group from North Berwick Scotland says they are in golf's corner.

The most contentious were those in Minnesota, and the real issues weren't protecting Marsh Marigolds, it was a situation where the State of Minnesota sued itself (well, one agency over another) because the Senate had just passed a home rule act and the EPA used Giants Ridge as a test to see if it could get some more centralized power back in St. Paul and in the EPA.  When I saw the "real" environmental issues there (and in Lake Jackson, Tx) I was appalled and dismayed. 

I have no faith in any sort of worldwide govt and/or guidelines, and think the results there would be either more unpredictable, or predictable in a worse way.  For instance, in reading the GEO website, they use words like social responsibility, stakeholders, etc., which in cases I have seen, are code words for more than "reduce pesticides" which most in golf agree to.  Those usually mean eliminate private clubs, don't use golf to spur housing development, and the worst - don't develop any pristines for golf. The Quarry at Giants Ridge is perfect, other Northwood sites are not.  Pacific Dunes would probably be outlawed at some point down the road as socially irresponsible, or at least it could be, because the responsibilitiy of golf might be declare to be to "keep the ocean front open for other uses."  Who wants to agree that golf is only good if it replaces an industrial use?

I don't sense any pushback, but more of a wait and see attitue towards GEO.  In the end, I think the gca should be know (and incorporate) the best environmental practices on any given site, rather than be told too specifically what that might be.

I also was quite amazed to hear you, as the world' leading golf course iconoclast and purveyor of unique golf courses to be behind anything that suggests standardization of golf courses!
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2010, 06:37:13 PM »
Jeff:

I'm trying to help them, and by my participation, to be sure they don't wind up with guidelines that make good golf courses impossible to build.

"Wait and see" is not my style.

Steve Curry

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2010, 06:58:55 PM »
Why start with the golf course? Stop driving and using plastic products.  Our lives are imersed in toxic products, to paraphrase Dr. Bruce Ames, pepper is more carcinigenic that most pesticides and salt more acutely lethal.  Take them from the farmers of homeowners first, your food or neighbors yard will likely get you before the course.

As Tony alluded to, the seed and sod that repair these "pesticide free" courses simply translocate the pesticide usage locale, as well as the impact to the carbon footprint.

Cheers,
Steve

Sean_A

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2010, 07:01:04 PM »
I don't know much about chemicals or their specific impact on the environment, but I gotta believe that it is better for those in the golf industry to be leading any sort of movement for the reduction of chemicals (and water for that matter) rather than following leaders in this trend which is sure to gain more prominence in the years to come.  Golf needs more movers and shakers rather than "wait and see" types.  Its not as if golf has some sort of stellar reputation in this area which gives it tons of breathing space.  

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 07:03:52 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2010, 07:33:14 PM »
Sean,

Exactly! I agree we need more movers and shakersand real improvement.  But in this case, someone else is proposing a new program for golf and many are jumping on the bandwagon or over the cliff (perhaps) without knowing the full program.  So, in a way, we are just following here.

I understand the need for those outside golf to push us, because the perception is we won't push ourselves enough.  And in reality, there are folks studying new environmental technologies that really work (rather than feel good) and we can't be experts in that.

But, the only really new, concrete ideas for better environmental practices I see right now are in the LEED movement and I wonder if we wouldn't be better off just being a part of that, rather than getting our own special group?  I mean, golf still comprises a small part of the built environment and I am not ready to concede its practices are "flawed" and "super special" which these special groups imply and that we need to do anything other than comply with the best trends available, and maybe invent a few of our own.

But, this idea of an environmental group setting itself up as a golf watchdog is not new (to me, even if it seems new to others).

And, IMHO, Auduon International started well enough, but hasn't done this as fully as they might.  Most of the guidelines Audubon pushed have remained static, but in reality, the guidelines were meant to be flexible, to be improved when new technology became available. 

Besides Audubon International, in 1993 we had the "Center for Resource Management”  (a Utah think tank) decide they should help us come up with a "Standards" idea, and we in golf joined in and developed some broad guidelines called "Environmental Principle for Golf Courses in the United States".  After the first conference, where the guidelines were developed (as ASGCA Pres that year, I was deeply involved) they kept wanting golf to fund lavish conferences with them as paid for guests, with nothing really new to accomplish.  And when golf got tired of that, they went on to find some other industry to mooch off of.....

GEO is starting a similar way, and it may be unfair to paint them with that brush, but its also not "pushback" from the golf industry to see what their agenda really is, to see if they will have the funding to keep going and/or, if they are really interested in the lavish golf trips rather than the evironment.  I trust my mother but I cut the cards!  

So, think its great that Tom and others are willing to help them to develop responsible guidelines, but I am not apologizing for being cautious, even if it comes off sounding somewhat bad in a PR sense.  And I truly believe in the idea of keeping as much local control as possible. Centralized planning never works as well  as local control, IMHO.  And all the real specific guidelines I have seen are basic disasters, so it takes a lot of optimism to think this go around will be different. :)

I recall designing a course in Europe (never built) where some guidelines said you couldn't move earth more than one meter change.  It wasn't practical.  I have read some whoppers from some local cities that have assigned planners to come up with golf course design guidelines.  Whoever did them had only a nominal understanding of golf and cobbled together a bunch of gobbly gook from many sources, many contradictory.  The GEO website has a lot of that same feel to me, with a lot of feel good statements that are hard to translate to the real world, and even harder to translate to hundreds of specific sites.

It takes a lot of field work to really site a golf course, minimize earthmoving, create good turf growth environments to mininmize need for inputs, etc.  I think I do a pretty good job of implementing that site to site without another set of guidelines to go by.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2010, 08:54:10 AM »
Kelly,

Thanks for that perspective.  I had really heard very little complaints about LEED, but then I guess I don't pay much attention.  I don't fault any environ group for flaws in a system, which can be tweaked, but equal points for bike racks and cooling system efficiency does seemingly need to be corrected.  I know one course upset that one of their Audubon reviews wrote them up for having a foosball table in the crew room, saying it gave off the aura of a college frat rather than a professional maintenance operation.  It may have, but is that an environmental issue?

IMHO, the price of gas is going to influence use of mass transit (it spiked in DFW when gas hit $4 gallon) and Texas has the highest energy prices in the nation, so AC and Heating efficiency is a big issue here, too.

If some folks here question ASGCA as a self certifiying organizatin (its not) I would imagine the same questions can be raised by voluntary organizations like LEED, Audubon International, and now GEO.  They are subject to the same real world foibles as anyone.  However, all are voluntary programs, so if an owner doesn't like their guidelines, they don't have to join.  And if the direction any of these groups take goes awry, owners can walk, although its sort of a black eye.  I have heard many golf courses are opting out of AI just because the value of the PR, the plaque, etc. don't outweigh the annual cost, which is minimal.

In the end, everyone does what is best for them anyway.  It works best to make sure their best interests align with environmental interests.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2010, 09:14:33 AM »
Jeff,

In my opinion, you are being too literal with your definition of "Environment"... GEO mean it in the broadest possible terms... They realise that the model we have been using to develop many high-end, short-term gain golf courses is broken...

When they talk about social responsibility, they mean well-thought out products that are viable over the long-term... i.e. Sustainable... That is the way for golf courses to operate... They are absolutely not about checking the box for stuff like bike racks...

They are run by a Scot (Johnathon Smith) who is passionate about the game and assisted by another Scot, (Mike Wood) who is a GCA, a leading environmental consultant and a keen student of the history and traditions of the game... The basis of what they are trying to do is excellent, even if they are still using conceptual speak in many instances... They are absolutely not in it for "lavish golf trips" or any ulterior motive other than the love for our game...

We absolutely do need a leading light in this area... You can continue doing your best environmentally on a micro-level but we need some PR to show the business movers and general public that golf can be sustainable... The only way to do that is to have as many industry leaders try to aid GEO as possible and shape the way that golf will be seen and developed...

Golf courses are closing ten-a-penny at the moment... There has to be an underlying reason for that... GEO are trying to tackle that head on.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2010, 10:04:17 AM »

We absolutely do need a leading light in this area... You can continue doing your best environmentally on a micro-level but we need some PR to show the business movers and general public that golf can be sustainable... The only way to do that is to have as many industry leaders try to aid GEO as possible and shape the way that golf will be seen and developed...

Golf courses are closing ten-a-penny at the moment... There has to be an underlying reason for that... GEO are trying to tackle that head on.

One of their partners is Syngenta, a "leader" in the chemical industry. Using chemicals on the land is not sustainable, it's killing the soil.
Those are just the kind of bedfellows that make me suspicious of where this is all going. Looking at it another way, I can get my emotional needs fulfilled at a church or a whorehouse, they are both the same in that regard, I just want to know which one I'm being led to.

Kelly, that's understandable... But the only way to find out where you are being led is to engage and help take them down the right path...

I cannot comment on Syngenta but as Tom Doak alluded to on a previous post, it's not all or nothing. It's not about saying absolutely no chemicals and have everyone reacting by saying "that's impossible!"... It's about finding a better approach to long-term viability... or as he put it, "becoming a better citizen"

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2010, 10:22:59 AM »
Ally,

I have heard the principles are, well, principled.  I said it was probably wrong to paint them with that brush.  That said, I also think they are subject to many foibles.  AI, for instance, is running out of things to comment on in their site visits, by some accounts.  Nor is AI actually producing, to my knowledge, any new suggestions on environmental practices that are better than what we saw a decade ago.  So, while its not fair to question ethics of GEO, it is possible to question them, given they seem to be following the same funding model of previous groups that seem to have lost some energy.  Can they be the leading light with uncertain, year to year funding needs, as they are already reaching out to golf and chemical companies.  If that is where there funding ultimately comes from, they lose their independent status, no?  And as time goes on, if they want to improve and/or stay relevant (with needs to keep coming back), as I suggest AI does, then at what point do the bike racks and foosball tables come into play for their annual site visits, or design recommendations?  They will be no different than other well meaning groups, possibly, since they will need to protect their turf (as well as ours!)

And, even you are sort of mixing in business and enviro issues.  I fear that the one size fits all recommendations worldwide might pigeon hole us all into one kind of golf course via standardization.  If courses are closing, its because of the economy.  In a worldwide market, certainly there is still room for high end public and private courses, unless they are deemed "unsustainable".  For every one that closes, there are hundreds in the same category struggling but doing fine. As you can tell, I am really against the whole enviromental movement that leaks over into moral imperatives, business decsions, etc. 

IMHO, "central planning" never works as well as a free market.  The central planners might be the smartest guys in the world, but no one is smart enough to set guidelines that might be applicable to every potential golf course on every potential site.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2010, 10:40:39 AM »
Jeff,

I understand that you can't have stringent guidelines that every development must stick to... and I'm sure they do too... And if you, Tom and others help them with developing their strategy (or strategies), then that flexibility can be catered for...

I do not know enough about how those other bodies started and then waned.... But taking the worst case scenario that you paint for GEO, which is that they go down the same route... I'd again say... Get involved now, whilst they are at the beginning, and ensure that they don't go down that route...

As for your statement that golf courses are closing because of the economy, can I respectfully call that nonsense... Golf courses are closing because they are not economically viable... This is because maintenance costs are too high and not enough people are playing the game because it takes too long and costs too much... All things that need to be rectified to provide sustainable golf.... All things that GEO want to work towards...

And I do believe that the fact this is being run from Scotland is a huge bonus... There is a different culture and attitude and I think one closer to where we need to be....

We've got to start somewhere, haven't we?... Maybe you think I'm being naive?

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2010, 10:45:07 AM »
Ally if I help lead them down the right path as you suggest will this be done with the full disclosure that the use of chemicals is not sustainable. If some how, some way there is a path that can be followed that leads to a chemical free golf course do you think a partner in the program like Sygenta is going to let me lead them there. Further, there are professional tour partners who to various degrees conduct tournaments on course that may be chemical users in order to project a certain look, not environmentally sustainable, and those developments may not be the right kind of sustainable economic model you suggest is a part of the larger scope of this organization. It appears by the list of their partners the public relations program is in full swing, but in order to be truthful they should stop the sustainable talk.

I don't know Kelly... Maybe I'm less cynical about this because I'm early on the GCA curve... Maybe I don't understand some of the difficulties...

But I've met these guys, listened to them, know where they are coming from for the last 2 years now... and I'm convinced their values and their objectives are in the right place...

I'm certainly willing to give them a shot (and any support) before I decide to rule them out...

Tom_Doak

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2010, 10:45:59 AM »
Kelly:

The Europeans in general are far ahead of us in restricting or even banning the use of turf chemicals ... that's why so many in the U.S. golf industry are frightened by letting them have a role here.

I agree with you that Syngenta is not the ideal partner for a golf environmental organization, but they are the only one of many sponsors with that background, unless Ransomes has a partner in the fertilizer business of which I'm unaware.  I do think it's okay for agribusiness to have a seat at the discussion table, as long as they don't have a thumb on the scale.

I am also sure that GEO would be open to other funding models if one can be found.  I'm not sure that anybody can suggest one, though.  For sure, Jeff is going to go through the roof if their funds come from government; and the environmental community will be just as suspicious if the funding comes entirely from the golf industry, even though I'm sure they think that golfers should ultimately pay all the costs.  So, who would be the neutral source to fund this work?

Carl Johnson

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2010, 10:57:32 AM »
Steve,

'native grasses' are grasses that occur naturally in the area so yes poa annua can be one if it fits the criterea. In Switzerland there is amongst others poa, festuca rubra, agrostis stol... These are the main ones though the list is quite long.

Jeff,

would you put cow pats on your green?? please

Jon

Jon, are these grasses "native" to Switzerland or simply "indigenous"?

Carl

Mike_Young

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2010, 11:07:29 AM »
It sounds like these GEO guys mean well....AI has become a business and whether anyone means well or not it is all basically hyped BS...just read below:
If it wasn't golf we would not hear a word about impact... just plain politics and politics get grants for people....you think the farm lobbies would allow such?  And do you really think the chemical and fertilizer companies consider golf a huge market....a highly profitable market maybe but not huge..... :) :)
BTW...attending the Congress on New Urbanism next week and one of the topics is "SPRAWL RETROFIT"  and that includes a lot of golf courses.

Watersheds Messenger     Summer 2002     Vol. IX, No. 2     PDF ISSUE

BACK

The Truth About Land Use in the United States
By George Wuerthner

Misunderstanding abounds about land use in the United States.

By far the greatest impact on the American landscape comes not from urbanization but rather from agriculture. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farming and ranching are responsible for 68 percent of all species endangerment in the United States.

Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, particularly in the West. Most water developments would not exist were it not for the demand created by irrigated agriculture.

If ultimate causes and not proximate causes for species extinction are considered, agricultural impacts would even be higher. Yet scant attention is paid by academicians, environmentalists, recreationists and the general public to agriculture's role in habitat fragmentation, species endangerment and declining water quality.

The ironic aspect of this head-in-the sand approach to land use is that most agriculture is completely unnecessary to feed the nation. The great bulk of agricultural production goes toward forage production used primarily by livestock. A small shift in our diet away from meat could have a tremendous impact on the ground in terms of freeing up lands for restoration and wildlife habitat. It would also reduce the poisoning of our streams and groundwater with pesticides and other residue of modern agricultural practices.

Most of the information in the following summary is available from the USDA Economic Research Service publication "Major Uses of Land in the United States 1997." (To order, call 1-800-9996779). The numbers do not change appreciably from year to year.

If you think this thing is anything other than politics....think about this:
approx 1,400,000 acres of golf in the U.S.
approx  922,095,840 acres of farm in the U. S.
approx 26,000,000 acres of turfgrass excluding golf courses with 21,000,000 acres being residential lawns
approx 1,000,000 acres of organic farm in the U.S.
you can check it out here   http://www.ers.usda.gov/statefacts/us.htm#FC

Golf acreage is about .0015 percent of farmland acreage.....
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Jeff_Brauer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2010, 11:46:03 AM »
Mike,

As your stats point out, it IS a political football.  I recall seeing a study that 85% of all water use is in agriculture.   Most farms in even the midwest irrigate abot 3X the typical golf course.  Turf grass flourished before irrigation for a reason - it really doesn't need as much water as other types of plants.  The number of golf courses that overwater above need is neglible, IMHO, compare to perception.  Either they have ancient irrigation systems that could't put out the required ET if the wanted to, or new ones that are fairly water efficient and don't waste. Yet the perception is, ALL golf courses overwater and nuke the turf with chemicals, compared to home lawns.  

Truth be told, how many homeowners or lawn companies put up boards to keep ferts and chems from being applied right to the street where the run in the sewer?  So, besides the 50% more home lawn, actual practices probably make them about 3X less environmentally friendly than the average golf course.  And yet, no politician will go after voters, when perception allows them to go after rich guys who play golf.

Based on acreage alone, the water smart program would save 50% more if it started with homeowners.  There are now internet based programs to help you run your sprinkles more efficiently and they cost about the same as the cable bill.  Not many get this service despite needing it more than golf courses.  If you want to save water, start at home and shell out the $1000 per year to do what most golf courses do now - water with the absolute minimum water, controlled by computer to assure efficiency!

The idea that we can reduce meat eating to save water will be interesting.  Politically, will it come to a time when our govt has to decide whether its more important to save water and help our own environment or feed the world?  We could reduce ag acres signifigantly by telling the world that feeding itself if its own problem.  Of course, our farmers wouldn't take to kindly to it either, but at some point, if we really are in such a crisis, it may come up as a legit, and tough question.


TD, you are right, I would hate any more governmental control, seeing what a great job they do historically, and for that alone, we should be supporting GEO as an independent group.  That said, I can see a lot of possible unintended consequences, based on what I have seen former guidelines used for.  We proably have to live with some of those in any event.  Maybe even the golf watchdog needs a watchdog?

BTW, I know one golfer/environmentalist who is pissed at Bandon because the hotel doesn't even have sink stoppers!  If you want to shave, you have to run the water the whole time.  He wonders where they waste most of their water……there is a place you can personally make a difference in golf's environmental performance.

Ally,

I am not sure that "economically viable" or "the economy" are not the same things, and that they don't flucuate up and down.  In either case, I am not for making general decisions based on current "perception"  (See some examples above) and as you can tell, I am really against the whole environmental movement that leaks over into moral imperatives, business decisions, etc.  And so many enviros sort of see all of those issues tied together into a "we know better than you do what is good for you" attitude.  That kind of rankles my feathers, and IMHO, "central planning" by an "elite" fews never works as well as a free market.  The central planners might be the smartest guys in the world, but no one is smart enough to set guidelines that might be applicable to every potential golf course on every potential site.  

I was at my home club yesterday.  In discussions, it came out that the maintenance budget was $700,000 in the 1970's, $488,000 in 1993 when I remodeled it, and $512,000 now.  You can do the math, but its clear that costs have come down, and maintenance levels have declined because of what people can afford to pay.  Its hard to say golf has gotten too expensive to maintain when most courses are operating on a fraction of what they used to.

My point is that so much policy or guidelnes may be driven by Augusta National, when that is in NO WAY what 99% of golf courses are like.  That said, I agree 100% that golf courses ought to continue to improve their environmental performance and that a cooperative venture, perhaps led by a semi autonomous outside group may end up beign the best way to do it, even if their basic model is flawed to a degree.  I know I am complaining a bit, but I really don't have a better answer either.

If golf takes too long, is that an environmental issue?  Maybe golf should abandon 18 holes and go to 12 hole for recreational golf? It would save turf, too.  I am not sure golf as a basic golf model is broken completely, but no doubt it can use some tweaks.  You should start a separate topic on how you think the current and traditional golf model is flawed, and how it ought to change.  But use facts and averages from the GCSAA or USGA, not a broad "everyone knows" type statement.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 11:56:06 AM by Jeff_Brauer »
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2010, 01:09:33 PM »
WTF is the deal with 12 holes?  Why reinvent the wheel?

Nine holes is just fine until you get over 100 rounds a day on the weekends; then you can justify the second nine.

Sean_A

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2010, 01:13:26 PM »
I don't know much about chemicals or their specific impact on the environment, but I gotta believe that it is better for those in the golf industry to be leading any sort of movement for the reduction of chemicals (and water for that matter) rather than following leaders in this trend which is sure to gain more prominence in the years to come.  Golf needs more movers and shakers rather than "wait and see" types.  Its not as if golf has some sort of stellar reputation in this area which gives it tons of breathing space.  

Ciao

Sean,

I think a good many superintendents have been leaders in this regard. It will be a long difficult battle. The Rodale Institute just up the road from me has been a leader in organic farming for over 50 years and they are still immersed in a huge battle with chemical companies and its entrenchment in the farming community.

Well, if you and Jeff are satisfied that enough is being done than a lot more publicity about it needs to take place.  This is certainly one benefit I can see of a larger GOLF body stamping approval and setting guide lines on the matter.  To some extent the R&A is doing that now, but the news is strictly kept in golf circles.  

Mike Y

Comparing the use of chemicals for growing food against the management of golf courses is EXACTLY the sort of PR golf doesn't need.  Its a silly comparison for obvious reasons.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 01:19:14 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2010, 01:27:31 PM »

If golf takes too long, is that an environmental issue?  Maybe golf should abandon 18 holes and go to 12 hole for recreational golf? It would save turf, too.  I am not sure golf as a basic golf model is broken completely, but no doubt it can use some tweaks.  You should start a separate topic on how you think the current and traditional golf model is flawed, and how it ought to change.  But use facts and averages from the GCSAA or USGA, not a broad "everyone knows" type statement.


Despite not being an expert, I've just written an article on why i think the model that has been used in Ireland is flawed... It talks about the need for a correct site and tackles social, environmental but above all, economic angles... It is pitched at a high level but does to a large extent use the "everyone knows" type approach... However, there is quite a lot of evidence that shows that young people are not taking up the game because of two factors. 1. It costs too much. 2. It takes too long.

One thing knocks on to the next but to me, it's fairly obvious that if Ireland had built 30 Askernish's instead of 30 K-Clubs, we might not be seeing so many courses on the verge of collapse right now...

But off topic we are getting so I will either bow out or start on another thread...

Steve Okula

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2010, 04:04:06 PM »
"I read that if all farms in the world were organic the soil would be healthy enough to absorb most of the carbon dixide that is suspected in causing greenhouse gases."

Kelly, what is your source for that?
The small wheel turns by the fire and rod,
the big wheel turns by the grace of God.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2010, 04:46:26 PM »
Steve,

'native grasses' are grasses that occur naturally in the area so yes poa annua can be one if it fits the criterea. In Switzerland there is amongst others poa, festuca rubra, agrostis stol... These are the main ones though the list is quite long.

Jeff,

would you put cow pats on your green?? please

Jon

Jon, are these grasses "native" to Switzerland or simply "indigenous"?

Carl

Carl,

native and indigenous mean the same thing don't they ??? But to answer what I think is your question, they are grasses that naturally occur in a land. I would not say I am totally against grasses that are introduced so long as they are sutable for the climate and purpose. The problem that many courses have are:

1. They have a greens rootzone that is a poor growing medium for grasses.
2. They have a maintenance regime that dooms the grass to illness (height of cut, amount/type of fertiliser/over watering/...)
3. They choose grasses based solely on desired playing/cosmetic characters and not on climate.
4. Spraying to avoid deseases is used as standard which is akin to feeding someone antibiotics so they do not get ill

Jon

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #48 on: May 17, 2010, 09:26:35 AM »
Not exactly golf related, but this article shows how direct consumption of pesticide residues in fruits and veggies affects kids, and by extension, adults who live with them!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37156010/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Simon Holt

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Re: Chemical-Free Courses?
« Reply #49 on: May 17, 2010, 10:50:50 AM »
Knowing and having played lots of golf with the some of the GEO guys I can confidently say they are not against the building of new golf courses.  They saw an opportunity to get into the golf industry with an idea they truly believe in.  I can guarantee they all read this forum on a regular basis- many of them dreaming of one day designing their own course.

When we were kids we used to run around the dunes to the west of the 9th at North Berwick along with the land between Muirfield and the sea.  We used to take old 7 irons and battered balls and dream up holes.  This is the sort of land that people would give their left arm...heck both arms to build on.  Working alongside companies like GEO might just be the way to achieve compromises between land agencies and golf course developers. 

I think this is a great step and with people like Tom kindly offering assistance they will have the guidance they need.
2011 highlights- Royal Aberdeen, Loch Lomond, Moray Old, NGLA (always a pleasure), Muirfield Village, Saucon Valley, watching the new holes coming along at The Renaissance Club.

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