Best Management Practices

A guide for environmental sustainability

In the golf world, best management practices (BMPs) for facilities promote golf course sustainability. Performance goals can help get you there.

A cornerstone of sustainability in golf has been the examination of existing BMPs and development of these goals. Based on a high potential impact on operation of your facility and its bottom line, attention to performance goals in four distinct areas can provide a resource for self-evaluation and designing of a continuous improvement plan. These areas are:

  • Water conservation
  • Water quality protection
  • Pollution prevention
  • Energy conservation

Within these areas, performance goals are meant to be high-level performance or action-based statements, not technical instructions. Broad-based and encompassing the entire golf facility, the goals include management of turf grass, landscape, environmental resources, buildings, amenities and operations.

The performance goals are not all encompassing, so other issues like wildlife and habitat management, air quality, and noise, to name a few, should be integrated into any facility’s overall environmental plan.

Performance goals focus on continuous improvement and rely on and a “plan, do, check and act” model. Common elements are: establishment of policy, adoption of objectives, written action plans, tracking or monitoring, and reporting practices.

How the performance goals were developed

Developing performance goals involved reviews by everyone from golf industry stakeholders and environmental advocacy groups to scientists and regulators. Five working groups, one for each of the four areas plus an oversight committee, then created the performance goals.

Today, performance goals are being used to stimulate creation of new tools and resources, support existing programs and recognize and award performance by the EIFG and other collaborators. They also are subject to continual updates and review.

How you can use the BMP performance goals


  • Be preoccupied with full compliance so much as starting where you are and making progress one step at a time


  • Focus on "low-hanging fruit" in the beginning to make a difference to the bottom line while also managing environmental impacts
  • Prioritize projects with the greatest potential to better the environment while cutting expenses or increasing profit
  • Adapt the “plan, do, check and act” model, which is favored by the industry
  • Make adjustments in the context of your business environment to ensure value and profitability

Sample environmental policies and objectives

Take a look at how other courses are planning their sustainability efforts to help you get started on your own.

Do you need help establishing environmental objectives for your facility? Curious about how other courses set policies and principles? Download our sample documents below to see how other courses manage their objectives, policies and principles.

Sample environmental objectives

Heritage Hills Golf Course sample environmental objectives
Stowe Mountain Golf Club sample environmental charter
Stone Creek Golf Club sample environmental objectives
Vermont business environmental partner policy statement

Sample policies and principles

Alpine Country Club sample policy statement
Heritage Hills Golf Course sample policy statement
Mirimichi Golf Course sample environmental policy statement
Rockland Country Club sample policy statement

Interested in sharing what works at your facility? Contact Emily Fuger, manager, environmental programs, at 800-472-7878, ext. 5163.