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Greening Golf; or, Justin Timberlake Saves the World

By Jenn (TinyChoices.com) | July 28, 2009

golf.jpgOver beers recently, an acquaintance told me about his love of golf.  This subject was on my mind lately, as another friend has recently taken up the game and found, to her delight, that she’s a natural ace.  Both of these folks expressed that one of the things they really enjoy is being outside in the fresh air all day, on gorgeously lush green grass, surrounded by nature.

After I told them each that I’ve been wanting to give the sport a try, I quickly added that I’m hesitant to even tread on a closely-clipped green because of the incredible eco-unfriendliness of the game.  Both parties (individually) expressed confusion… after all, what’s seemingly more nature-loving than undulating green expanses as far as the eye can see?  And this is where I felt like an environmental spoil-sport (pun intended):

Apparently there are approximately 23,000 golf courses in the U.S., so multiply those four bullet points above X 23,000 and we’re looking at a pretty large issue.

But all is not lost!  It’s Justin Timberlake to the rescue, with the opening of Mirimichi, an eco-friendly golf course: “We stumbled upon the environmental thing. We had to gut it and re-irrigate the course and I just said, in re-irrigating this, is it possible to reuse the water in a way that would zero out our ecological footprint. And as it turns out, you actually can make a golf course eco-friendly.”  Mirimichi will be a Platinum LEED certified green course… The first in the United States of America.”

So if Justin’s just stumbling across the environmental thing, we can hope  the more progressive golf course designers/architects/builders already have this on their minds and are starting to build accordingly.

Of course, Justin’s not the only one trying to green golf.  There’s the Environmental Institute for Golf, whos Mission Statement declares: “The Environmental Institute for Golf is committed to strengthening the compatibility of the game of golf with our natural environment.”  And here’s a list of “enviro-friendly golf courses and country clubs” and a Greenopia article outlining the “Seven Most Gorgeous Eco Friendly Golf Courses“.

As gardening guru Dick Raymond said back in ’99:  “Only 15 percent of golfers in the world break 100 on 18 holes… What about the other 85 percent? Do they give a rat’s bum about bumps on a green? They want to have fun! Golf is a social game. We need more affordable, family-style recreation. If we can’t provide some outdoor, healthy, family recreation to our community, what are we doing? ”

Do you golf? How do you feel about the sport?

[Image by Evil Erin via Creative Commons]

Topics: Yoga & Fitness | 11 Comments »

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2009-07-28 08:24:24

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2009-07-28 08:26:59

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Comment by Jenn S.
2009-07-28 08:52:08

I’d welcome a wider greening of golf. I worked at a course for a couple summers in high school, and got a real education on how dangerous all the chemicals used are. Greenskeepers were constantly ill with respiratory issues, a couple swans died apparently from drinking water from the idyllic looking ponds that also collected pesticide runoff from the fairways. This course was adjacent to a state park, and the grassy meadow adjoining the course was dry and burnt for the first 100 yards or so…apparently only particular kinds of grass thrive on a chemical diet.

I’m all for healthy, outdoor fun, but it can be obtained at a much lower cost to our land and environment. Golf just reeks of conspicuous consumption as well as being an artificial outdoors experience. I’d much rather toss a frisbee around in a park, or go hike a trail for my nature time.

Comment by Kristine
2009-07-28 09:25:55

one interesting factoid i learned late last winter:

if you have a lawn that is yucky looking, ie: crabgrass, bare spots, etc, there is a
50% run off of rain water
if your lawn is pristine like a well kept golf course, the rain run off is 70% !!!

lawns are bad generally. period! but i do agree with Jenn, that most coursed do not have to be in perfect condition for most golfers!

2009-07-28 09:38:09

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2009-07-28 09:48:18

[...] Original post by Jenn [...]

2009-07-28 11:29:17

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Comment by christie
2009-07-28 14:34:18

i don’t golf and i probably never will. i think justin’s idea is great but i would guess that the other 20,000+ courses out there are not going to redesign their acres to do this.

boo. hiss.

yes, i’m a spoil-sport!

2009-07-28 15:46:33

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Comment by Scott Burntess
2009-07-28 15:46:55

LA breaks my heart. On top of the wastefulness of your average golf course, the courses don’t have recycling!!! Rancho Park on Pico in West LA lets homeless people dig through the trash to pull out bottles and cans, but they won’t even set aside a separate container so the homeless don’t have to dig through garbage.

I love golf and I love the strong stance much of California takes on pro-environment issues, but this ‘no recycling at golf courses’ thing really bugs.

Comment by Margaret
2009-08-01 10:53:19

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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