Golf and the Environment
For more than a century, the Royal and Ancient sport of golf has been played around the World. Its remarkable history and longevity throughout the ages is a testament to its timeless popularity.
However, as this ancient game enters the 21st century, it finds itself approaching some new and difficult challenges. Challenges such as shrinking land availability, resource costs, regulation of inputs, and water scarcity all echo the question of whether or not golf courses can, or should, be built - especially on sensitive landscapes. Indeed, perhaps no issue is more likely to have a more significant impact on the design of golf in the 21st century than that of a golf course's relationship with its surrounding environment.
It is by no means a new phenomenon that environmental awareness continues to grow significantly around the world. The momentum and focus of this awareness is beginning to shift towards practicing better resource management, minimizing inputs, and improving the overall habitat value of our golf developments. As these environmental issues and ideas gain traction, golf course design will eventually have to adapt and follow suit. It all comes down to one basic question: Can golf courses exist and function more harmoniously within the natural environment?
If proven possible, the game of golf will not only continue to thrive in the 21st century, but it could also play a very important role in environmental stewardship.
Alternative measures and practices such as sensitive routing strategies, minimal earthmoving, and reduced energy requirements (water, fertilizer, pesticides, mowing) greatly reduces golf's environmental impact. In fact, when done properly, golf courses can actually become environmental stewards of sensitive landscapes.
At Integrative Golf Design, we believe that by exploring these ideas, perhaps golf course architects can even enhance the environmental and ecological integrity of a site.
It is our belief that continual environmental improvements will be crucial in the coming decades if this ancient game is to undertake a “sustainable” transformation.