Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

60

Environmental protection and beneficial contributions of golf course turfs

J.B. Beard

International Sports Turf Institute, College Station, Texas, USA

Abstract

During the past decade allegations concerning the adverse effects of golf courses on the quality of our environment have received headlines in nearly every country where golf is played. Unfortunately, these allegations tend to be based on pseudo-scientific arguments that are not germane, but rather are focused to draw on the popular press to promote such allegations by preying on the ignorance of the general populace. Research is ongoing to identify those allegations that are invalid as well as those environmental concerns that can be supported by sound scientific data in order that appropriate adjustments can be made to eliminate or minimize any potential problems. Equally important is the need to recognize and quantify the beneficial contributions of turfgrasses when properly maintained as part of a positive golf course environment. This paper presents our current state of knowledge concerning the benefits of golf course turfs as documented by sound scientific data.

Keywords: environmental-quality, grasses, heat/noise-abatement, mental/physical-health, quality-of-life, soil-stabilization, water-quality, wild-life habitat


1 Introduction

An 18-hole golf course facility in the United States typically is comprised of (a) 0.8-1.2 ha of putting green area, (b) 0.6-1.2 ha of teeing area, and (c) 10-20 ha of fairway area (Table 1). In other words, only 20 to 30% of the area on a golf course is used and maintained to specific criteria as part of the playing requirements of the game (Beard, 1982). Except for the varying types of physical structures that may be constructed on site, a majority of the golf course property is devoted to a low maintenance, natural landscape. A properly planned and maintained golf course facility offers a diversity of functional benefits to the overall community, in addition to the physical and mental health benefits provided from the game itself. These benefits are significant when compared to alternate uses such as industry, business, and residential housing, especially in the case of urban areas where a majority of the golf courses are located. In addition, greater benefits are derived from golf course facilities when compared to agricultural production operations in rural areas.

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-399-

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