2018 News Releases

Five facts about golf in celebration of Earth Day 2018

by Apr 25, 2018 | Sarah Huerter
GCSAA national study reports golf courses have shown continual improvement over the past decade

GCSAA national study reports golf courses have shown continual improvement over the past decade

Lawrence, Kan. (April 17, 2018) –Since 2006, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has been conducting a groundbreaking project, the Golf Course Environmental Profile (GCEP), to develop a comprehensive environmental profile of golf courses in the United States. A first phase of the five-survey study developed a baseline of data, and the second phase, completed in 2017, was used to measure change with updated trend analysis.

The surveys have provided critical data on land use, inputs, management of natural resources and environmental stewardship associated with golf courses. 

In honor of Earth Day, here are five ways golf courses have shown improvement in the past decade, as documented in the GCEP:

  1. Energy use: Annual median energy use at U.S. golf facilities has decreased 8.3 percent, this was primarily the result of a 31.4 percent decrease in consumption of electricity since 2008.
  2. Nutrient use: U.S. golf courses have significantly decreased overall nutrient use since 2006, including a 34 percent reduction in nitrogen, a 53 percent reduction in phosphate and a 42 percent reduction in potash.
  3. Pest management: Golf courses have increased their reliance on non-pesticide pest control practices such as cultural control, plant growth regulators and biological control.
  4. Land use: The amount of maintained turfgrass on an average 18-hole golf course has decreased from 99 to 95 acres, with 46 percent of average 18-hole courses having increased natural area acreage.  
  5. Water use: Use of recycled water increased by 32.7 percent. Recycled water now counts for 25 percent of all water used on golf courses, thereby reducing the use of surface, ground and potable water sources.

“Golf course superintendents are committed to their role as environmental stewards,” said Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “The Golf Course Environmental Profile helps us document and share the many ways they are implementing change for the betterment of the environment.”

The GCEP was created with funding through GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf. The EIFG partnered with The Toro Giving Program to fund the first phase of the project. In 2014, the second phase of the project was funded in partnership with the USGA. 

To learn more about the Golf Course Environmental Profile and to see the full reports of both phases of surveys, visit https://www.gcsaa.org/environment/golf-course-environmental-profile/