Golf is one of the most nature-focused sports you’ll ever play. And as modern technology evolves, courses are embracing sustainability and eco-friendly golfing is coming to the forefront of the sport.
Whether you’re wondering how to make the change on your own golf course or you’re a planet-conscious golfer, here’s what golf course managers are implementing to make their courses even greener than they already are.
Sustainable energy is not only good for the planet, but it’s also good for the golf course’s budget in the long run! Wind turbines and solar panels are becoming more and more popular choices, harnessing the power of nature to provide energy to golf carts, clubhouses, and other facilities.
Sustainability-conscious golf courses are pairing sustainable energy sources with things like energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances inside the clubhouse and restaurant, reducing electricity consumption and slashing the budget at the same time.
High-maintenance, thirsty turf is out and native plants/grasses are in. Choosing indigenous plants and turf means golf courses use less water, less fertilizer, and less pesticide, plus, it promotes wildlife and provides ground cover to prevent run-off.
Another popular sustainable landscaping option is drought-resistant grass, which needs less water throughout the year to maintain its green lushness.
Reducing waste is one of the easiest ways for golf courses to start becoming sustainable. Those with restaurants are opting to compost food scraps, recycle plastics and glasses, use recycled water for irrigating the course, and use paper bags in the pro shop instead of plastic.
Gone are the days of manual watering. These days, intricate irrigation schedules are automated, so sprinklers come on and off according to a strict schedule. Not only does this reduce the time taken, but it regulates water usage, ensuring that no water is wasted.
Using recycled water is easy and makes a big difference to water consumption. Capturing rainwater using storage tanks is something almost any golf course can do on a smaller budget, so you’re likely to see this more often on golf courses.
This simple action reduces reliance on municipal water systems, saving money and giving the course a certain amount of autonomy. Recycled water is ideal for irrigation, washing golf carts, flushing toilets, etc.
The easiest way to make this change is to switch to organic products. They may cost a little more, but in the long run, it has beneficial effects, including protecting flora, fauna, and golfers from potentially dangerous chemicals.
Golf courses with a restaurant on site can easily start a compost heap and make their own fertilizer, which also reduces food waste—a win-win situation!
Pest management is often simply handled with pesticides. However, other alternatives include natural or mechanical methods that do significantly less damage to the environment.
Implementing something like that may take some time, but switching to an integrated pest management system that doesn’t use chemicals can make a noticeable difference.
Not only does this help the environment, but it also makes a difference to people who might come into contact with pesticides—employees, golfers, and visitors.
The nature of a golf course means that wildlife and birds are likely to make their homes throughout it. There’s a reason the National Audubon Society works so closely with golf courses! They’re the perfect spot for wildlife havens.
Golf courses across the world are making an effort to set aside space for wildlife, providing safe areas for animals, birds, and plants to flourish. This is a simple action to take, and it doesn’t just help the native creatures—it adds a natural prettiness to golf courses too.
Clubs who are serious about protecting the environment should consider the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf—a program that’s focused equally on education and on helping golf courses create a sanctuary that allows wildlife to thrive.
Planting native t flowers and plants can attract birds and wildlife. It’s an excellent first step for golf courses to start creating those havens for native animals, and a bit of careful thought about which plants to introduce can bring about greater biodiversity.
Making the switch from gas-powered to electric golf carts reduces a golf course’s carbon footprint. Courses who use solar power to charge their electric golf carts can save a significant amount of money on energy and gas costs, as well as keeping the air quality purer on and around the course.
GPS isn’t just for golf carts! GPS mapping is useful tech that’s changing the way golf courses apply their pesticides, fertilizers, and irrigation. It also extends to waste management and even course layout, ensuring optimal resource management.
Drone tech can be a lifesaver. Infrared sensors on drones are being used to detect areas of the course that need attention, from leaky irrigation systems to nutrient-deficient soil.
Using a drone gets the job done faster, reduces wear and tear on the course that would occur if manpower were to do the job, and can spot problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.
The data doesn’t lie. Technology is helping golf courses make smarter decisions all round, including watter usage, course health, and resource allocation. Sophisticated software is easily available and accessible, to analyze every aspect of the course and even the weather.
Equipped with comprehensive data, golf course managers are better prepared to make decisions that will benefit the course and the club, physically, financially, and in other ways.
Jobs like mowing and watering can now be done human-free. This not only frees up funds and resources that can be allocated to other sustainability measures, but it speeds up the processes with less wear on the course.
You can’t beat getting out on the course. But golf clubs are also starting to use tech like golf simulators to provide training sessions. Golf clubs can offer coaching and even recreational sessions when the weather’s bad or for those who aren’t confident enough to get out on the course yet.
While this might not make a BIG difference in terms of wear and tear on the course, it can be a valuable consideration. A simulator can bring in golfers who want a data-driven approach to training, as well as bringing in more income to the club, which in turn, can be used to fund sustainability initiatives.
Eco-friendly golfing is becoming moreand more popular. From golfers wanting to support courses who take their environmental impact seriously to courses wanting to do their bit to help the surrounding nature flourish, sustainability is something golf course managers and golfers themselves can no longer ignore.
Whether you’re managing a golf course or simply enjoy spending time swinging your clubs on one, it’s time to take our impact to heart. The golf course is where you can get away from the city vibe and immerse yourself in nature, and embracing sustainable golfing is a way to ensure that they continue to be havens for a long time coming.