Greenkeepers use 29% less water than they did in 2005

By Alistair October 29, 2023 08:59

A United States Golf Association (USGA) funded survey has found that greenkeeping has become much more efficient in the last 20 years.

The use of cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas and solar-electric, increased by 3.9 percent between 2005 and 2021, while the number of golf facilities using gasoline and diesel declined by three percent.

The study found that the total number of maintained turfgrass acres on US golf courses declined by 14 percent in 2021 compared to the acreage in 2005, primarily due to course closures, but the maintained acres that remain are being managed more efficiently. For example, 29 percent less water use occurred through operations, application rates have declined by 31 percent for nitrogen, 46 percent for potassium and 64 percent for phosphorus over the same time period.

The median total of maintained turfgrass acres on 18-hole US golf courses declined three percent between 2005 and 2021, according to recently released survey data.

The survey also found that course length for 18-hole courses increased by a median of 56 yards from 6,649 yards in 2005 to 6,705 in 2021. According to the report, from the first survey in 2005 to the second in 2015, the median increase in course length was 38 yards, and between the 2015 survey and 2021 survey, the median length increased by 18 yards.

The survey is based on data collected from golf course superintendents and independently analysed by scientists Travis Shaddox, Ph.D., Bluegrass Art and Science LLC., and J. Bryan Unruh, Ph.D. University of Florida and the National Golf Foundation (NGF), which published the findings for peer review before making the information public.

“The surveys show that superintendents continue to manage the golf course using less water and fewer inputs than before,” said Rhett Evans, CEO of  Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

“Through this, they are able to reduce the footprint of maintained areas while enhancing the natural beauty of the course.”


By Alistair October 29, 2023 08:59

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