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Golf and the environment
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TOPIC: Golf and the environment

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mlslaw
Golf and the environment
Member Since:
    November 6, 2004


Favorite Golfer:
    Fred Couples
Favorite Golf Course:
    Rustic Canyon


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Sunday July 30, 2017 4:10 PM
Have a young Tuscon nephew (college prof--non golfer) who is adamant that golf is very bad for the environment and civilization in general (wastes water, caters to the wealthy, etc.) you've heard these arguments. I directed him to a very favorable Audubon Society fact sheet

https://www.auduboninternational.org/resources/Documents/Fact%20Sheets/

that I think lays out the contrary argument very well. I know we all love the game and so mite be a tad biased in our defense -- thot I'd throw it open for discussion.
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 Message #85102
Rat-Patrol
RE: Golf and the environment
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    April 20, 2013


Favorite Golfer:
    My Grandpa was
Favorite Golf Course:
    Balboa Park GC


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Sunday July 30, 2017 9:33 PM
Humans are bad for just about everything we touch.
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 Message #85107 - This was a reply to message #85102
leef2020
RE: Golf and the environment
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    March 26, 2016


Favorite Golfer:
    Jack
Favorite Golf Course:
    Baltusrol


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Sunday July 30, 2017 10:11 PM
This is a great question, but not just for golf courses.

Let me first say that I have not done any audits of golf courses on their 'net positive' v. 'negative' impacts on the environment and society. However, I have audited and worked for a number of companies on sustainability issues and have worked through their various 'footprints', including carbon, water, human capital, social impacts, etc.

The paper that I was able to access at the Audubon Society, at best, lays out the potential opportunity that golf course managers have to improve. It makes no case that they actually ARE good performers for their operations. A list of 'good' things that a golf course may do is not the same as measuring impact, positive or negative. They gloss over the obvious negative impacts of pesticides, water usage, etc., the costs to society, and make no mention of their overall carbon generation/impact, along with their other impacts on society. A golf course being 'less bad' than than it was 10 years ago, may still not make it 'good' for the environment.

In an era of constrained resources, e.g., water - one should ask, "Is a business, it's purpose and benefit to society, and it's operations 'sustainable'?" Over the last year or two, we have seen first hand what can happen when a golf course's design requires more water than it can readily and affordably procure. THAT is clearly one indicator of unsustainability.

As for what would constitute a golf course property having a 'net positive', or most correctly, a REGENERATIVE impact on the environment and society? Without getting too deep into it, I'd simply want to see a golf course actually produce 'clean' water from its business operations rather than non-potable water (by use of natural water/plant-life eco-system filtration), and through its' design, to capture more water than it needs. It could use renewable power generation to power all of its carts, power equipment, clubhouse, etc., to start. Certainly, any property that generates clean air, healthy eco-systems and is able to do it as a 'net positive' to the pollution it creates at an affordable cost, seems like a good thing.

I've not heard of any golf course property that is truly sustainable at this point. And, as with even the most socially-conscious/responsible companies of today, the best may be a little 'less bad' for the environment than they were several years ago.

Now, if everyone would replace their divots and repair their ball marks on the greens, that just might help them be a little better, too. Better to play, anyway. ;-)
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 Message #85109 - This was a reply to message #85102
kassper7
RE: Golf and the environment
GK Event: Played in a GK Event GK Cup: Past & Current Champions of The GK Cup

Member Since:
    January 30, 2015


Favorite Golfer:
    Michelle Wie, Ricky
Favorite Golf Course:
    Oak Quarry


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Monday July 31, 2017 11:36 AM
While criticism of golf courses is simple and easy when you just look at them straight on - one has to remember that golf courses are part of a system and play a role not constrained to a vacuum.

Each of our houses could be criticized for it's impact. All luxury goods and the factories that make them could be argued as well. In what way are golf courses unique? Land use? The golf courses that have closed are being turned into housing tracts rather than parks or something else benefitting everyone. Orange county closed a military base and one of the things they plan to do with the land is open a golf course - I assume because golfers are willing to pay for greenspace at a rate that users of parks cannot match.

Maybe a different example would clarify a way to think about it at a larger level. I personally think hunting is distasteful. Shooting animals has no appeal and seems like an unfair fight and bad for animals - but I've come to understand that hunters and people who fish are on the front line of trying to protect land from development. The irony is even greater where hunters are protecting endangered species for the right to kill one of them.

Yes, golf courses are worse for the environment than "not a golf course" but where does the conversation go from there???

There is an interesting recent episode of the "Revisionist History" podcast that takes aim at the private golf clubs of Los Angeles on the west side. I'm sure it was meant to convince me how bad private clubs were but I realized that only really rich passionate people could have kept these clubs from becoming more of the what already exists in Los Angeles. I will say though - he made a great case for the public deserving access to all private clubs on occasion. These clubs get massive subsidies from the public and we deserve something for our money.
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 Message #85118 - This was a reply to message #85102
mlslaw
RE: Golf and the environment
Member Since:
    November 6, 2004


Favorite Golfer:
    Fred Couples
Favorite Golf Course:
    Rustic Canyon


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Monday July 31, 2017 6:45 PM
QUOTED  I will say though - he made a great case for the public deserving access to all private clubs on occasion. These clubs get massive subsidies from the public and we deserve something for our money.



Here, here!
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 Message #85133 - This was a reply to message #85118
CPennbo
RE: Golf and the environment

Community Director/Women

GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    March 20, 2003


Favorite Golfer:
    Annika/Mickelson
Favorite Golf Course:
    Balboa


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Wednesday August 2, 2017 2:24 PM
QUOTED  Each of our houses could be criticized for it's impact. All luxury goods and the factories that make them could be argued as well. In what way are golf courses unique? Land use? The golf courses that have closed are being turned into housing tracts rather than parks or something else benefitting everyone.


Housing is necessary. Golf courses are not. Housing will always win the contest. If we could control our population and revitalize already existing urban areas that could provide housing we MIGHT have fewer complaints about golf courses. However, at least in So Cal, never fear that major developers who are drooling over expensive tracts of land (courses) are the ones leading the anti-golf, environmentally unfriendly charge.
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New Year's Resolution- HAVE MORE FUN, DO MORE, SEE MORE, LAUGH MORE!
 Message #85163 - This was a reply to message #85118
dcoachl
RE: Golf and the environment

GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    November 16, 2011


Favorite Golfer:
    Phil
Favorite Golf Course:
    Aguila


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Sunday August 6, 2017 1:09 PM
Sounds to me like he's just jealous because he can't play golf
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 Message #85193 - This was a reply to message #85102
sammy3
RE: Golf and the environment
Member Since:
    June 10, 2012


Favorite Golfer:
    Tommy Bolt
Favorite Golf Course:
    Pebble


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Sunday August 6, 2017 5:05 PM
QUOTED  I will say though - he made a great case for the public deserving access to all private clubs on occasion. These clubs get massive subsidies from the public and we deserve something for our money.

Here, here, maybe we could get our state congressman to pass a bill and based on our income, get us golf stamps, something like food stamps.
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 Message #85196 - This was a reply to message #85133

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