2019 News Releases

Three states develop BMP guidelines for golf courses

by Feb 27, 2019 | Sarah Huerter
Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio publish statewide best management practices with grants from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Lawrence, Kan. (Feb. 19, 2019) – As part of an initiative of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), golf course superintendents and related organizations in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio have developed and published best management practices (BMPs) for golf courses in each of those three states.

The states’ BMPs were developed in part by using the BMP Planning Guide and Template created by GCSAA and funded by the association’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) through support by the USGA. 

In addition, GCSAA-affiliated chapters in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio received BMP grants from GCSAA funded in part by PGA Tour. The BMP grant program provides funding through the EIFG to chapters for developing new guides, updating existing guides or for verification programs. GCSAA’s goal is to have all 50 states offer established BMPs by 2020.

“BMPs are crucial to the future of golf. State-specific best management practices provide superintendents, facility owners, managers, golfers, communities and government agencies with a framework for a sustainable approach to golf course management,” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “Thank you to our members and others in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio, for championing the efforts in their states.”


“Best Practices for Georgia Golf Courses” was produced through a collaborative effort of the members of the Georgia GCSA and scientists at the University of Georgia. Representatives from each organization provided their time and expertise to develop best management practices specifically for Georgia to protect the state’s natural resources. 

Georgia has more than 400 golf courses, which provide nearly 57,000 jobs and drive $2.4 billion in economic impact each year. In addition, these green spaces are also biologically diverse habitats for plants and animals in the state. 

Key components of the Georgia BMPs include nutrient and pesticide usage; erosion and sediment control; water usage and pollinator protection.

The Georgia GCSA received a total of $15,000 in BMP Grants from GCSAA to assist with creation of their document. Read the Georgia BMPs at http://magazine.ggcsa.com/HTML5/GGCSA-Best-Management-Practices-Manual.

The development of “Best Management Practices for Nebraska Golf Courses” was made possible through a joint effort of the Nebraska GCSA and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The steering committee for the document included GCSAA members Bill Bieck, certified golf course superintendent (CGCS); Steve Merkel, CGCS; Russ Cellar, CGCS; Chad Giebelhaus; Eric McPherson, CGCS; and Ryan Krings. Other members of the committee were Katy Boggs, executive director of the Nebraska GCSA; Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Cole Thompson, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

External reviews of the document were provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska State Fire Marshal, Golf Course Builders Association of America; Roch Gaussoin, Ph.D., University of Nebraska; Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation; and GCSAA member Casey Crittenden, CGCS.

“Superintendents throughout the state, University of Nebraska scientists, the Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the State of Nebraska’s agencies have all reviewed and contributed to this comprehensive effort,” wrote Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts upon publication of the BMPs. “By protecting our natural resources, preserving open space, and providing recreational opportunities, Nebraska’s superintendents deserve recognition for their great stewardship of our natural resources. This work will help keep our state growing for years to come.”

GCSAA provided the Nebraska GCSA with a total of $14,500 in BMP grants to assist with creation of their document. Read the Nebraska BMPs at https://www.gcsaa.org/docs/default-source/environment/nebraska-bmps.pdf.


Five GCSAA-affiliated chapters, the Central Ohio GCSA, Greater Cincinnati GCSA, Miami Valley GCSA, Northern Ohio GCSA and Northwest Ohio GCSA worked together to develop “Best Management Practices for Ohio Golf Courses.” The chapters were assisted in their efforts by the turfgrass scientists and researchers at Ohio State University, and they also received guidance from GCSAA Secretary/Treasurer Mark Jordan, CGCS, and renowned golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, Ph.D. Additional input was provided by the Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“This manual is a culmination of efforts between industry, state agencies and academia in Ohio,” Hurdzan said in the foreword of the document. “Intuitively it makes sense that the Ohio golf course superintendents should take the leadership role in this massive effort, for they have dedicated their life and career to working cooperatively with the environment and focusing on long term sustainability.”

Although prepared by superintendents, the Ohio BMPS are not intended exclusively for golf courses. They can also be applied to parks, athletic fields, lawns and gardens, government facilities, or any other plant-based area.

The Ohio chapters received a $10,000 grant in 2017 to create their BMPs. Read the Ohio BMPs at https://www.gcsaa.org/docs/default-source/environment/ohio-bmps.pdf.

Currently, 40 states have completed, or are in the process of completing, their BMPs. To see all completed state BMP documents and to learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program, visit www.gcsaa.org/bmp.