Natural Capital: Ecosystem Value of Golf Courses
Summary: There are approximately 16,000 golf courses in the United States spread over many ecoregions and within a large variety of social contexts, from urban to rural, from forest to swamp, grassland to desert. Economically, golf courses contribute billions of dollars collectively to the economy and create jobs for local communities. Environmentally, golf courses require inputs of water, nutrients and pesticides and can be expensive to maintain. While these immediate, direct costs and benefits are fairly well-understood, the indirect contribution to landscape and the public is not as well-understood and beg the questions: What are the ecosystem service values of a golf course? And how do the biophysical drivers of ecosystem services also affect enjoyment for golfers and other potential course-users? Can we evaluate the sustainability of a golf course?
Project Status: Ongoing
Summary: Developing research that focuses on sustainable opportunities is critical for the long-term success of the industry and productivity of the environment. The Science of the Green initiative focuses on empowering golf facilities and providing the necessary tools to conduct experiments and studies at golf facilities that will provide valuable information on the impacts of golf courses on society and how to improve and strengthen those impacts.
The University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course will be utilized to demonstrate what a Golf Lab is and how a golf course can become a laboratory for sustainability; focusing on engaging the community, achieving profitable finances, and producing a net positive environmental impact.
Project Status: Ongoing
Green Speed Study: Impact of golf course management conditions on pace of play
Summary: Agronomic practices are often implicated and are commonly cited as causes for slow play. Consider, as examples, rough mowing height, wet fairways, overgrown no-mow areas in play and excessive number of trees. However, what is often cited the most for slow playing conditions is fast green speeds.
This study will be conducted nation-wide at 16 sites as coordinated by the Project Director. Initially, data collection will occur on six (6) sites and a summary analysis will be conducted to observe preliminary results and progress before continuing the data collection on the remaining ten (10) sites. The Project Director will have oversight on scheduling, data collection, and analysis.
Project Status: Presentation at the 2017 NAGIS, paper in preparation (June 2017)