As the judicious use of water becomes more important, golf architects are using their experience in landscape architecture and land planning to help course operators understand how best to conserve and protect water resources. So said Doug Carrick, president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, during a recent gathering of leading golf course owners.
“Every golf course should have a long-range plan for water use and conservation, as many do,” said Carrick. “The cost of water, not to mention the electricity to pump it, is expensive and everyone is looking for ways to trim costs. Many ASGCA members are conducting environmental audits for their clients and others are helping courses, particularly in arid regions, to reduce the amount of turfgrass on site. In many cases, courses are converting to drought-tolerant turfgrass varieties or incorporating ‘unmaintained areas’ that help to reduce water usage.”
While the availability of water dominates many conversations, Carrick stresses that the quality of water and the protection of natural water resources is just as important as conserving water for irrigation, especially those developing new layouts. “A large percentage of golf courses use recycled water or other sources that are less than perfect,” he noted. “Our members are working with irrigation companies and other innovators in the field to craft solutions for golf courses to be good stewards of this resource and to be good neighbors to the communities in which they reside.”