US courses face snap chemical ban


Sean Dudley

Golf courses in the US are facing an immediate ban on the chemical methyl bromide.

The country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is demanding an immediate cancellation of the chemical’s use on golf courses and has rejected a registrant proposal for a timetable to allow facilities to adjust operations or implement alternatives.

The chemical, which is used to fumigate soils on newly built golf courses and also in renovations, when new strains of turfgrass are introduced on greens, was among the chemicals which 160 countries agreed to phase out under the 1997 Montreal Protocol. Its use has been banned entirely in many of those countries, and, other than for applications for which a ‘critical use exemption’ applies, it has been unused in the USA since 2005.

But many in the golf industry feel there is no suitable replacement as yet available. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America is urging its members to contact their Congressional representatives to encourage the EPA to accept the registrants' proposal for orderly cancellation.