Golf is a game played in nature, but golf courses have long been known to have a negative impact on the environment and natural resources. The industry is working to correct this by becoming better stewards of the environment.
More and more golf resorts are going green because it is cost-effective and way great way to attract business and leisure travelers who value sustainability. Innovative golf course managers are converting high-maintenance out-of-play areas to native species that are more drought tolerant and require little or no watering. Computer-controlled irrigation systems that accurately follow weather conditions are also being used to conserve water.
In the early 1990s, the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP), developed a unique program that certifies golf courses meeting criteria in six areas of environmental stewardship, including:
- Environmental Planning
- Wildlife and Habitat Management
- Chemical Use Reduction and Safety
- Water Conservation
- Water Quality Management
- Outreach and Education
The program, supported by the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), assesses each participating course’s environmental management practices. Currently, there are 2,100 golf courses in 24 countries that participate in the ACSP initiative, with more than 600 properties certified.