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National Survey to Examine Pesticide Use on Golf Courses


GCSAA has announced that, beginning in January 2008, it will conduct a national survey of golf courses focusing on pesticide use. The survey is part of a multi-year, first-of-its-kind project being undertaken by GCSAA that will document the environmental stewardship practices and establish an environmental profile of golf courses.

The "Golf Course Environmental Profile Project" is designed to collect information that will allow superintendents and other facility personnel to become better managers, help them operate more efficiently, and lead to GCSAA developing more valuable programs and services. Such information will include details about playing surfaces, natural resources, environmental stewardship efforts and maintenance practices on the golf course.

"We see this project as a continuation of the golf industry's commitment to environmental stewardship," said GCSAA Director of Research Clark Throssell, Ph.D. "Thanks primarily to the United States Golf Association and to GCSAA and its affiliated chapters for a supporting role, millions of dollars of have already been invested to research golf's impact on the environment. The data show that properly managed golf courses are compatible with the environment and that golf facilities contribute positively to communities. Our project will fill in information gaps and provide a road map for advancing golf course management."

To date, three phases of the survey have been concentrating on the physical profile of a golf facility; water use and conservation; and nutrient (fertilizer) use. Results from each phase will first appear in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, then run in "Golf Course Management," the association's monthly publication before wider distribution to interested parties. Information on the physical profile of golf facilities will be published later this year.

The pesticide use survey will close in March 2008. Input will be sought on product use and integrated pest management programs. Funding for the first four phases has come from the Environmental Institute for Golf, thanks in part to a grant from The Toro Foundation. "We have been pleased by the response rate of the first three phases," Throssell said.

"That speaks to the commitment of our members," he added. "It is important that we have strong participation by both GCSAA-member and non-member superintendents to compile the necessary data. It is also vital that we get data from all types and sizes of facilities, and that the leaders of those facilities support the project. It is also important that Toro is recognized for its ongoing commitment to this project. We could not do this without its support."

The above report originally appeared in the GCSAA’s online newsletter, Divot Mix. For further details, visit www.gcsaa.org.