Golf Course Environmental Profile

Growing awareness about the positive environmental impact of golf courses

The Phase 3 Property Profile and Environmental Stewardship Practices survey is open Sept. 1 through Oct. 17

The Golf Course Environmental Profile, Phase III began in the fall of 2021 with the Water Use and Management Practices Survey, was followed by the Nutrient and Pest Management Survey and continues with the Property Profile and Environmental Stewardship Practices survey. All superintendents, including non-GCSAA members, should participate in this critical survey and to ensure that the profession and industry are well represented by all course types, budget levels and locations. Note: individual survey responses are not disclosed nor does GCSAA sell email addresses. 

How to participate

Superintendents should check their email inboxes or spam filters for an email sent on GCSAA’s behalf by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) for their individual access to the survey. The data from the survey will provide much-needed facts that enable GCSAA to advocate on behalf of the profession and industry to maintain the resources needed to ensure success. Without the data, we can’t provide the facts behind what we say about golf’s and the superintendents' professionalism and environmental stewardship. If you did not receive the email, you can still access the survey Sept. 1 through Oct. 17.

Take the survey »

Participate and win

All superintendents who complete the survey will be entered into drawings for prizes, with names randomly drawn. Prizes will be awarded for each survey in Phase III and winners will be drawn for each of the Golf Course Environmental Profile’s seven regions. In all, $10,500 in prizes will be awarded. There will be three prize winners in each of the seven U.S.  agronomic regions per survey. Three randomly selected participants in first, second and third order will receive $300, $200, and $100 respectively. 

Service points

Superintendents will receive 0.50 service points per completed survey. The data will be presented for the United States as national aggregate data or regional aggregate data. International data will not be included in publications or results. Individual facility data will not be shared or disclosed. Individual data will not be shared or disclosed.

Key points

  • The Golf Course Environmental Profile is owned and copyright protected by GCSAA. Data should be properly cited for publication, presentations, etc.
  • Phase III is funded by the GCSAA Foundation.
  • GCSAA intends to publish the survey in peer-reviewed journals.
  • NGF will conduct, process, and analyze the data on behalf of the GCSAA as a third-party and independent entity who will follow the market industry standards to ensure valid survey results.
  • Travis Shaddox, Ph.D., president, Bluegrass Art and Science LLC, and J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D., Extension turfgrass specialist, University of Florida, West Florida Research and Education Center, will provide technical oversight, analyze data, and write publications including the peer-reviewed manuscripts, public reports, and GCM articles.
  • All participants' individual survey results are not disclosed or shared. Results are reported in aggregate only. In addition, GCSAA does not sell email addresses.

As third parties, the scientists will work to ensure that the scientific methods associated with data collection and reporting are valid.

Uses of survey results

  • Document changes in environmental practices over time
  • Assist in determining the future direction of GCSAA environmental efforts and education
  • Identify key issues for potential research projects
  • Respond to governmental and public inquiries
  • Promote the efforts superintendents are making on their golf courses
  • Provide a solid basis for comments on proposed regulatory issues

The Golf Course Environmental Profile is a groundbreaking project launched in 2006 to develop a comprehensive environmental profile of golf courses in the United States. GCSAA held meetings with a wide range of industry groups that identified a need for this data. The industry faces issues ranging from land use to regulations and practices governing water use, nutrients, and pest control. Prior to the GCEP, the industry faced a critical need for accurate data on the land use, inputs, management of natural resources and environmental stewardship associated with golf courses in the United States. Used in part to help advocate for golf course professionals and the golf industry, the profile – articulated in reports and surveys – conveys accurate data on the land use, management of natural resources and environmental stewardship associated with golf courses across the country.

The GCSAA Foundation and The Toro Giving Program funded the first phase of the project. In 2014-2017, GCSAA and the USGA conducted a second phase of the project. The GCSAA Foundation funded the third phase in its entirety. 

The project’s original five surveys yielded results that were analyzed and published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Turfgrass Science as well as in a comprehensive report in GCM.

Information established baseline data for documenting changes in environmental practices over time, helping set priorities for education, research, member services and environmental programs. The data also helped GCSAA respond to governmental inquiries and answer the public's questions about environmental issues.

Phase III Timeline

  • Water Use and Management Practices Fall 2021
  • Nutrient Use and Management Practices Spring 2022
  • Property Profile and Environmental Stewardship Fall 2022

Reports and results will follow approximately four to six months after the survey closes. 

GCSAA contracted the NGF to develop and conduct the surveys online, on paper, and through other methods, and analyze results. The GCSAA Environmental Programs Committee and associated advisory panels, along with GCSAA staff determined content. PACE TURF LLC’s Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D, and Larry Stowell, Ph.D. were the scientists engaged for Phase II.

All superintendents, whether GCSAA members or not, were invited to participate in the surveys. GCSAA provided incentives for completing surveys. Data is reported in the aggregate, summarized by state, region or other geographic area. Responses from individual golf courses are not published or released.

Contact Mark Johnson, GCSAA director, environmental programs, at 800-472-7878, ext. 5161, or mjohnson@gcsaa.org.