Golf is a sport for a lifetime that delivers more than 2 million jobs and $69 billion in annual economic impact while contributing $3.9 billion per year for philanthropic causes — more than all other sports combined.
A professionally managed golf course also can demonstrate environmental stewardship and provide a place to meet exercise and fitness goals. Just walking 18 holes, for example, can burn more than 2,000 calories.
As part of the celebration of “Earth Day” on April 22, here are 10 facts about golf that help promote the sport and the environment:
- Golf courses are professionally managed landscapes where environmental stewardship is important – from using water and nutrients more efficiently to implementing improved methods of erosion control.
- In general, the golf industry is striving to deliver firm playing surfaces that are better for everyone and improve the bottom line. More than two-thirds of golf courses report that they are keeping turfgrass drier than in the past.
- The golf industry is continually investing in research to identify drought-tolerant grasses and improve water conservation through best management practices.
- Golf courses continue to adopt water conservation practices, reduce irrigated acreage and use innovative technologies, such as targeted irrigation systems and ground moisture measurement tools, along with weather monitoring systems, providing the science to water only when and where it is needed.
- Irrigated areas on golf courses have decreased by more than 14,000 acres between 2006 and 2014.
- Use of recycled water has increased by 32.7 percent from 2006 to 2014. Recycled water now counts for 25 percent of all water used on golf courses.
- Golf courses routinely have recycling programs to reduce and reuse.
- More than 90 percent of a typical golf course is comprised of turfgrass, a water body or other natural areas that prevent erosion, filter runoff, and provide for cooler temperatures when compared to urban settings.
- More than 70 percent of acreage on an 18-hole golf course is considered green space that provides benefits to the ecosystem, reduces maintenance and supports wildlife habitat, including protected species.
- Through governmental affairs involvement, professional education and public information, the golf industry continues to promote environmental responsibility as a widespread industry practice.
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries. For more information about the USGA.
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game.