About the Golf Course Environmental Profile

Frequently asked questions about the profile, its methodology and how the results will be used

What is the Golf Course Environmental Profile?

In 2006, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) conducted the first in a series of five surveys to determine the physical features of golf courses, maintenance practices used by superintendents, and inputs and outputs associated with golf course management.

The goal of the research is to develop an environmental profile of golf courses. By mid-2009, GCSAA had conducted all five surveys.

Why initiate a survey?

GCSAA and the golf industry need information specific to the environmental attributes of golf courses, including natural resource inventories, management inputs and environmental stewardship practices. This information will provide baseline data for documenting changes in environmental practices over time and help set priorities for education, research, member services and other environmental programs. The data will also help us respond to governmental inquiries and to answer the public's questions about environmental issues. Existing environmental data are very limited, and not complete, uniform or centralized.

What kind of information has been requested?

Information on property features, water use and conservation, water quality, habitat and wildlife management, energy consumption, and inputs of nutrients and pesticides has been collected in the series of surveys.

How were the surveys performed?

The project has been conducted in five installments. GCSAA contracted the National Golf Foundation (NGF) to develop the survey instruments, conduct the surveys and analyze the data. Once the first multi-year survey cycle and analysis have been completed, GCSAA will begin the process for a second multi-year survey cycle to document environmental change on golf course properties.

All superintendents, whether GCSAA members or not, were invited to participate in the surveys. Online surveys, paper surveys and other methods were used to ensure a valid response rate.

The content of the surveys was determined based on input from the GCSAA Environmental Programs Committee and associated advisory panels, along with contributions from GCSAA staff.

The information is only reported as aggregate data, summarized by state, region or other geographic area. Responses from individual golf courses are not published or released.

What incentives were offered for completing the surveys?

GCSAA awarded service points for each completed survey. Participants simply needed to fully complete the survey, and provide their name and the name of their golf course. GCSAA processed the service point credits. Other incentives, including gift cards and additional prize packages, were also offered over the multi-year cycle.

How will this information be used?

GCSAA and The Institute will use the data to:

  • Document changes in environmental practices over time.
  • Assist in determining the future direction of GCSAA environmental efforts.
  • Identify key issues for potential research projects.
  • Respond to governmental inquiries, answer the public’s questions about environmental issues, and promote the efforts superintendents are making on their golf courses.
  • Provide a solid basis for comments on proposed regulatory issues that may impact the golf industry.

Contact information

For additional information, contact Mark Johnson, GCSAA senior manager of environmental programs, by calling 800-472-7878, ext. 5161, or by email at mjohnson@gcsaa.org.

This project is supported in part by a grant from The Toro Giving Program.