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» Environmental impact of golf
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Oct 20th 2007
<h2>Golf's Environmental impact</h2>
Environmental concerns over the use of land for golf courses have grown over the past 50 years. Specific concerns include the amount of water and chemical pesticides and fertilizers used for maintenance, as well as the destruction of wetlands and other environmentally important areas during construction. A notable toxic chemical used on golf courses is diazinon; however, this substance was banned in the United States as of the year 2004.
These, along with health and cost concerns, have led to significant research into more environmentally sound practices and turf grasses. The modern golf course superintendent is often trained in the uses of these practices and grasses. This has led to some mitigation in the amount of chemicals and water used on courses. The turf on golf courses is an excellent filter for water and has been used in many communities to cleanse grey water, such as incorporation of bioswales. Many people continue to oppose golf courses for environmental and human survival reasons, as they impede corridors for migrating animals and sanctuaries for birds and other wildlife. In fact, the effective non-native monoculture of golf courses systematically destroys biodiversity.
A major result of modern equipment is that today's players can hit the ball much further than previously. In a concern for safety, modern golf course architects have had to lengthen and widen their design envelope. This has led to a ten percent increase in the amount of area that is required for golf courses today. At the same time, water restrictions placed by many communities have forced many courses to limit the amount of maintained turf grass. While most modern 18-hole golf courses occupy as much as 60 ha (150 acres) of land, the average course has 30 ha (75 acres) of maintained turf. (Sources include the National Golf Foundation and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America [GCSAA].)
Golf courses are built on many different types of land, including sandy areas along coasts, abandoned farms, strip mines and quarries, deserts and forests. Many Western countries have instituted significant environmental restrictions on where and how courses can be built.
In some parts of the world, attempts to build courses and resorts have led to significant protests along with vandalism and violence by both sides. Although golf is a relatively minor issue compared to other land-ethics questions, it has symbolic importance as it is a sport normally associated with the wealthier Westernized population, and the culture of colonization and globalization of non-native land ethics. Resisting golf tourism and golf's expansion has become an objective of some land-reform movements, especially in the Philippines and Indonesia.
In Saudi Arabia, golf courses have been constructed on nothing more than oil-covered sand. However, in some cities such as Dhahran, modern, grass golf courses have been built recently.
In Coober Pedy, Australia, there is a famous golf course that consists of nine holes dug into mounds of sand, diesel and oil and not a blade of grass or a tree to be seen. You carry a small piece of astroturf from which you tee.
In New Zealand it is not uncommon for rural courses to have greens fenced off and sheep graze the fairways. Many golf courses have been displaced by urban planning practices. Many things that displace golf courses range from neighborhoods to shopping malls.
At the 125-year-old Royal Colombo Golf Club in Sri Lanka steam trains, from the Kelani Valley railway, run through the course at the 6th hole.
Oct 22nd 2007
I never realized that maintaining a golf couse can be hazardous to the environment. What a bummer to hear. Thanks for the information.
Oct 23rd 2007
Interesting to know about the impacts. Golfing does not seem like a sport that you not be wary of, so I thought after seeing this posting. I may think twice about golfing anywhere. I would never quit golfing though. it's a hobby that I will always enjoy till the day I die.
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