Golf Course Effects On Environment Essay, Research Paper
There are many things that have an affect on the environment such as erosion, gases in the air, the population growing so rapidly that the environment cannot sustain what we have, and many others. But how many people look at golf courses and think of the effect that the courses being built and sustained has on the environment. Most people would say that golf courses are good for the environment because there are trees and grass and things that seems undisturbed. Many people would also say that golf courses use too many chemicals, are occupying land that could be used for other things, and that golf courses use enormous amounts of water to keep the grass remaining healthy. Many of these accusations and queries will be dealt with in this paper and hopefully individuals will better understand the purpose and role of golf courses with the environment.
One of the major issues is that chemicals are used to fertilize all the grass and keep it healthy. One issue brought to the forefront is that the fertilizer used to keep the greens green and healthy is running off and hurting the water and many organisms with its path. The main fertilizer for greens is a fungicide that is basically only used on golf courses for greens. The fungicides are very expensive and are used to keep the greens and eighth of an inch tall or shorter in some cases. People believed that this ran off into the surface water and then leached with the ground water, but the accusation was proven wrong.
Ronald Turco, a professor at Purdue University cited that in numerous experiments, the grass leaf blade, which is in turn absorbed by the grass plant within forty-eight hours, absorbed 90% of the fungicides. The other 10% is caught in the thatch layer, which is a thick layer that is narrow and has an organic band of material on top of the soil. (Putting, pg. 2) Mr. Turco also stated that the reason the fungicide does not reach the ground water is that the fungicide itself is a large and sticky molecule that does not allow it to flow into the water source. This is exceptionally important because the molecules are trapped and have no place to go. (Putting, pg. 2-3) I found this very important because it describes how runoff does not occur because the fungicide has no place to go. This reminds me more of a repellent like oil and water. Because the molecules are large that makes it important.
Wetlands, vegetation that is harmed or fragile, and protected wildlife are also very important environmental issues that are believed to be harmed by building and maintaining golf courses. Previous decades have shown that no regulations were set to keep individuals from building golf courses in certain areas that deserve to be protected from anything and any circumstance. Because of the lack of restrictions many golf course destroyed areas that would now be protected ruining fertile land and disrupting wildlife that is supported by the environment or habitat. (environ. pg. 2) When I imagine these things I realize how important the new restrictions are because many species could have been lost with the building of some of the golf courses. This disturbs me, but a shopping mall or grocery store going up in the golf courses place makes a person think that the golf course is better suited to help the environment than the mall or grocery store would.
The new rules that have been established are concise and correct for the situation. The new restrictions make golf course architecture still abundant but have also cited certain locations deemed ?priceless? and that no golf course can disturb the area. The new rules consist of planning and siting, design, construction, management, facility operations, and what golfers can do to help the environment succeed. With the planning and siting, local and national environmental issues are addressed and planned around. By making a thorough analysis of the land picked an individual or group can pick a suitable spot, hopefully an area that they can reclaim land ravaged by man previously. Some of these sites might include landfills, quarries, and or mines. Some areas of particular concern are wetlands, areas that have threatened animal or plant life, and sensitive aquatic habitats. These are addressed quickly so these sites can be avoided at all costs. Golfers will have to realize that the course may not be as lush as it could be because of the location, but the environment is more important. (Principles, pg. 1) I find this very important because many people complain about the conditions about courses when some things cannot be helped. If the entire area has a heavy concentration of rock then the grass will not grow in as strong as it would with dirt underneath. I believe that once people realize this, they can better enjoy the game and also being outdoors instead of behind a desk.
When designing a golf course it is important to find out what the environment has provided for you naturally and what you need to provide to make the course successful yet ecologically safe. These sites are planned by numerous professionals in the horticulture field, grass and turf management field, and other ecological personnel. By doing this the people can better educate each other on the best possible outcome of the greatest input. This really goes to business techniques; a person would want to use as few resources to produce the best and highest number of products. For instance, Kentucky bluegrass, a particular grass used, is perfectly suited for our climate but cannot be used in California or Oregon or most Pacific states because of the moisture there. Bermuda grass is a tough, dry grass that does not grow in Kansas well but grows great in Florida, and the Carolina’s. All the groups look at this to get the best possible product, a successful course. (Principles, pg. 2) I have grown up in Kansas my whole life and have seen many grasses on golf course. I grew up playing on zoysia, which is a soft fluffy grass that can be easily discarded. Because of this I had a hard time adapting to Bermuda grass because it is tougher. This is just one question to arise during conversation with the environmentalists and golf course architects.
As all of us know money is the driving force in the economy and the world today. This is no different in the portion of golf courses. After the design and site is picked the architects and superintendent must think of how to maintain the grass and entire course at a reasonable amount of money. Controlling pests and keeping the course healthy is an expensive combination to have. To control pests, a record should be kept to identify problems and whether or not to tolerate the pest or destroy the pest. This may mean that thousands of dollars in fertilizer or pesticides might need to be used, but then the environmental side has to be looked at. Will the runoff from the pesticides somehow penetrate into a water source? This is a question that has to be answered. Another area is to try and keep one problem from occurring again. If one area is prone to be dry then solve it quickly and correctly the first time. (Principles, pg. 3) Another area is using slow release fertilizers so that the area is not bogged down with excess fertilizer. Maintain all correct licensing and upkeep of all tools and products to avoid harmful additives into the soil. (Principles, pg. 3.)
Water usage by golf courses is a major problem that is questioned numerously. Golf courses do very well now at watering at the right time for the plants to avoid over watering. They make sure the water is provided during the proper time, for the proper length, and in the correct place. The golf courses also use all modern irrigation techniques that help to provide the quality of water that is needed for the greens, tees, and fairways used during play. (Principles, pg. 4) The course I grew up on either had water on all day or never. This is a reason why my home course is poor is that they had no regular pattern to water the plants. Many of the plants were not watered properly and therefore lacked what was needed to make the course look nice. By timing the watering and where to water greatly increases the course and also manages water much better because a person knows exactly where the water is going.
The final thing is wildlife management, and how golf courses hurt and help this facet of the environment. Some wildlife that should always be protected is wildlife that controls pests. Some of these include bats, bluebirds, purple martins, and so on. These should be given full attention because they can help the course and environment drastically. The course also works to maintain as many of the aquatic and land species as possible. One way is to not disturb the area or to find ways to improve their environment. (Principles, pg. 4) As we discussed in class even if the habitat is removed and then replaced some organisms do not return or return but does not succeed like they did before. This is a major issue with golf courses and some areas are completely left alone or worked around to provide the proper environment for the species.
I have played golf for many years now, fifteen to be exact. I have seen many great courses and thousands of holes during my time. I never realized what the environment was like with the golf courses and never thought of it until several years ago. That is when someone told me to stop and look around and look at where I was. This helped me realize I was in the wide-open earth and millions of living organisms were surrounding me. Many species were probably destroyed in making golf course in the early days and many are probably still fighting to survive, but awareness is so much more present which helps everyone. Many species are saved now and many people get to see a species in their designated environment and see how they react.
I was astonished to find out that the fungicides were absorbed because that was one of my major concerns. After reading that 90 % of the fungicides are absorbed at first and then the rest later I was relieved because runoff into ground water or surface water is too harmful. Working at a golf course I found out many things. The course I work at had some serious runoff problems but was more concerned with erosion. Some fairways were becoming loosely packed and loosely nutrients but terraces were built to absorb the water and the area is now lush and green again. I have enjoyed this paper because the game I love is good for the environment in many ways and I hope people can take up the game and realize that courses do not hinder the environment.