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Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California

Courses Continue to be Friends of the Environment


hundreds of other bird species residing on Northern Cali- fornia golf courses. A total of 33 courses in California are certified Audubon sanctuar- ies, and GCSANC members have a well-known affinity for animals and nature.

Deer graze at Sequoyah CC in Oakland. Golf courses in Northern California provide habitat for a variety of species.


s an NCGA member and avid golfer, you recognize the Northern California

landscape provides the back- drop for some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. What you might not recognize is the substantial environmental, economic and social/recreational benefits that these beautiful and well- managed golf courses provide communities. Over the past 20 years,

“golf ” and “green” have become synonymous, espe- cially in Northern California where superintendents have adopted and taken owner- ship of sustainable practices. The industry, which in the past has often been the target of environmental advocacy groups and restrictive local, state and federal policy, is now partnering with many of these same organizations to ensure and demonstrate the game’s commitment to stewardship. “More people are start- ing to realize the value of a

TPC Stonebrae in Hayward is a winner of multiple Golf Course Superintendents Association of America/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards.

well-maintained golf facility,” said Gary Ingram, CGCS, at Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland and a 2012 merit winner of the Golf Course Superintendents Associa- tion of America/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award. “Courses provide valuable green space for our communities and sanctuar- ies for numerous plant and animal species.” While too numerous to

mention all of the examples of the good works on the links, several have received acclaim, including Callippe Preserve, Crystal Springs Golf Club, Little River Inn Golf & Ten- nis, Metropolitan Golf Links, Presidio Golf Course and TPC Stonebrae. They have been nationally recognized for programs that not only are compatible with the environ- ment, but reduce operating costs, making the game more affordable for everyone. These facilities use

targeted irrigation systems

to manage water efficiently, while still providing quality playing surfaces. Technol- ogy allows these systems to put water only where and when it’s needed. Addition- ally, courses are using more drought tolerant varieties of turfgrass to conserve water. Healthy turfgrass provides a filter that traps pollutants and prevents them from reaching groundwater supplies. It also prevents erosion. Extensive recycling and

composting programs have been implemented. Waste that can be recycled includes motor oil, tires, batteries, solvents and cardboard. Food waste, leaves and grass clip- pings are made into compost that provides valuable nutri- ents to the soil and further minimizes facility waste. Contrary to the belief of

some advocacy groups, golf courses provide a healthy habitat for wildlife. It’s not unusual to see deer, fox, coyotes, wild turkeys and

GCSANC members have implemented integrated pest- management plans that mini- mize the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The plans provide proven, science-driven and reliable methods for resolv- ing the sometimes conflicting goals that golf course super- intendent’s face—producing consistently high-quality, high-playability turfgrass, while reducing environmental impacts and keeping within budget constraints. “GCSANC superinten-

dents have made it a priority to effectively and efficiently manage the natural resources at their facilities,” said Dave Davies, CGCS at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward and a multiple-time merit winner of the Golf Course Superinten- dents Association of America/ Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award. “We take great care to preserve and protect the natural habitat at Stonebrae. It’s a lot of effort and hard work, but at the end of the day, it’s a great feeling knowing that you are educat- ing golfers and the commu- nity on the important role that courses play in protecting our fragile environment.” So, during your next

round, take a moment to reflect on the surroundings. Appreciate all of the planning that goes into making the course ecosystem a healthy habitat for plants and wildlife, as well as a valuable green space for your community. And make sure to share with others that golf is indeed a friend of the environment.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of Northern California is dedicated to serving its members, fostering communication, advancing the profession, improving the environment and enriching the quality of golf. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @GCSANC. It is an affiliated chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

70 / NCGA.ORG / FALL 2013


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