The focus of sustainable golf is built around care for the earth, care for the people, and fair share. There appears to be significant opportunity for the creation of shared value amongst these three tenets of sustainability. The golf industry stands at a critical juncture; incorporation, exploration, and development of these opportunities for shared value appear as a strong chance for fostering the next generation of committed, responsible golfers and mitigating the effects of climate change on the game.
What is a Golf Lab?
Developing research that focuses on these 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.
History of Les Bolstad Golf Course
Opened in 1929, the Les Bolstad Golf Course is a classic, 18-hole championship course used by students, faculty, alumni and the community. The Course began as a cow pasture and was transformed by W.R. Smith, who was also known as "Mr. Golf" at the University of Minnesota and throughout state. Three years later, in 1931, University faculty members gathered support to build a clubhouse, which is still standing today.
As one of the last remaining green spaces on campus, the Course is enjoyed by members of the University community: children learning to play golf, alumni returning to the University and current students studying turfgrass research. Legends such as Tom Lehman and Les Bolstad have navigated their way around its tight fairways, ancient trees and elevated greens.
University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness has successfully operated the Course since 2009 and maintains it as a vital part of the University and community.