GCSAA Golf Course Environmental Profile first phase

An overview of the baseline results of this landmark study

Property Profile and Environmental
Stewardship of Golf Courses

 Full report     Summary

Water Use and Conservation Practices
on U.S. Golf Courses

Full report     Summary

Nutrient Use and Management
on U.S. Golf Courses


Energy Use and Conservation Practices
on U.S. Golf Courses

Full report 

Pesticide Use on U.S. Golf Courses

Full report

The Golf Course Environmental Profile is a groundbreaking project that began in 2006 and was designed to develop a comprehensive environmental profile of golf courses in the United States. The first phase of the project was funded by GCSAA's philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf, and The Toro Giving Program.

In 2014, GCSAA began conducting a second phase of the project. Read more about the second phase, including survey results

Project surveys

The project consisted of a collection of five surveys, the results of which were analyzed and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Turfgrass Science, as well as in a comprehensive report and in Golf Course Management magazine.

The surveys were:

Volume I: Property Profile and Environmental Stewardship of Golf Courses

Covers golf course acreage, turfgrass species, water bodies, wildlife habitat, environmental improvements and non-turfgrass landscapes
Published 2007

Volume II: Water Use and Conservation Practices on U.S. Golf Course

Covers total water use, irrigated turfgrass acreage, water conservation measures and recycled water use
Published 2009

Volume III: Nutrient Use and Management on U.S. Golf Courses

Covers nutrients applied to golf courses, sources of nutrients applied, nutrient application decisions, nutrient management plans, fertilizer storage and application equipment calibration
Published 2009

Volume IV: Energy Use and Energy Conservation Practices on U.S. Golf Courses

Covers energy use across the entire golf course facility, energy conservation practices, energy audits and written plans and behavioral, design and other conservation changes.
Published 2012

Survey V: Pest Management

Covers pesticide use trends, integrated pest management techniques, water quality practices, waste management and pollution prevention
Published 2013


GCSAA and the golf industry needed information specific to the environmental attributes of golf courses, including natural resource inventories, management inputs and environmental stewardship practices. This information provided baseline data for documenting changes in environmental practices over time and helps set priorities for education, research, member services and other environmental programs. The data also helped GCSAA respond to governmental inquiries and answer the public's questions about environmental issues. Before the Golf Course Environmental Profile, existing environmental data was very limited, and not complete, uniform or centralized.

GCSAA and the EIFG used 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.

How the surveys were performed

GCSAA contracted the National Golf Foundation (NGF) to develop the survey instruments, conduct the surveys and analyze the data.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.

All superintendents, whether GCSAA members or not, were invited to participate in the surveys. GCSAA awarded service points for each completed survey .Other incentives, including gift cards and additional prize packages, were also offered over the multi-year cycle. Online surveys, paper surveys and other methods were used to ensure a valid response rate.

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


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

This first phase of this project was funded by the Environmental Institute for Golf and The Toro Giving Program.

EIFG logo (110 x 65)