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.
Results of the Phase III Water Use and Conservation Practices survey are now available
Highlights from the Phase III Water Use and Conservation Practices survey
- U.S. golf facilities applied approximately 1.68 million acre-feet of water in 2020, a 29% reduction since 2005.
- Two-thirds of this reduction was likely a result of facilities applying water more efficiently, evidenced by the 23% reduction in water applied per acre in 2020.
- The projected total irrigated acres of U.S. golf facilities declined by 11.5% since 2005 to 1.04 million acres in 2020.
- Usage of best management practices (BMPs) has increased since 2005, and include keeping turf drier, pruning tree roots, changing to a more drought-tolerant turfgrass, mulching landscape beds and increasing no-mow acres.
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.