Fertilization practices in golf are part of a science based nutrient management scheme that only uses the amount necessary to produce healthy turfgrass and quality playing surfaces. Healthy turfgrass allows communities to enjoy many benefits including: creation of critical "greenspaces"; providing wildlife habitat; and ensuring recreational opportunities. In addition, many entities both public and private rely on healthy greenscapes like golf courses as a key component in maintaining financial revenues. There are also many environmental benefits to healthy turf including the capture of run-off pollutants in stormwater, temperature buffer, erosion control, and serving as a protective barrier for groundwater.
GCSAA supports the development and use of science-based best management practices (BMPs) for fertilizer applications through superintendent–regulator–university partnerships at the local and state levels of government. To support this, the GCSAA launched in 2017 the 50 by 2020 BMP initiative. The goal of this landmark initiative was to have all 50 states with a BMP program in place by 2020 to ensure protection of human health and the environment and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship. This goal was accomplished at the end of 2020. GCSAA supports golf course superintendents partnering with watershed groups and conservation organizations to develop their state BMP programs.
Fertilizer laws and regulations should be based on sound science supported by credible peer reviewed data and university recommendations. Science-based nutrient management for turfgrass leads to healthy quality turfgrass and thereby leads to more effective and efficient management of other inputs.
GCSAA supports the enactment of state laws preempting regulation of the use of fertilizers and prohibiting local governments from adopting such laws. Local regulation of the use of these products is both costly and unnecessary. Only state designated regulatory agencies should be vested with the authority to regulate the use of nutrients. These agencies have the scientific expertise to properly determine nutrient requirements for each geographic region within a given state. Laws and regulations involving fertilizer applications should recognize golf properties engaged in environmental stewardship practices, and/or programs that address nutrient management through science-based BMP plans.