Golf Course Architecture - Issue 68, April 2022

38 INS IGHT Responding to the climate crisis requires us to minimise greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon. The importance of these actions will soon be ref lected in new legislation from governing bodies, taxation, our bottom line, and ultimately in our attitude and behaviour regarding this pressing issue. Like trees, and plants in general, grass can store carbon, and managed turfgrass can even sequester more carbon than unmanaged grassland. Furthermore, more frequent mowing can encourage sequestration. This puts golf courses in a unique position. For as long as we can remember, fairways and mown rough on most golf courses have been mown frequently enough so that the removal of the tiny grass clippings has been avoided. Instead, they are left to break down in the sward, as organic matter, where they seem to contribute to an even faster and greater build-up of carbon, in the soil and biomass. Very few other owners of turfgrass areas, or lawns, do this. On the other hand, wetland drainage emits carbon dioxide. Therefore, some golf course areas store carbon, while others, usually unknowingly, release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. A golf course is therefore either carbon positive or negative, under or over the ‘carbon par’. Carbon Par is the title of Eureka Golf ’s research into the carbon status of land used by all Icelandic golf courses, the first national governing body in golf to produce such a complete account. In addition to each course’s carbon par, the research is expected to reveal how much carbon may be sequestered Can golf courses earn money from carbon? Edwin Roald explains how some golf facilities may already be carbon positive, possibly eyeing an additional revenue stream EDWIN ROALD