Golf Column: Courses going green in more ways than one

It sure hasn’t felt like spring, but the calendar says it is, so I guess we’ll believe it.

Spring means many of the area golf courses have opened in the past couple weeks. With all the recent rain the courses are becoming quite green and should have some healthy growth.

When people think about golf courses, they often envision green areas of land used only for playing golf.

Some are surprised when they learn many courses are transforming into eco-friendly properties.

Courses are buying into the belief they can use their resources more efficiently by becoming eco-friendly and in turn improve course profits.

Water usage is one area courses are seeing the benefits of conservation. Many courses implement different strategies to efficiently irrigate.

It is amazing how a superintendent can now turn on and off the sprinkler systems from anywhere by simply having an app downloaded on their phone or tablet.

Reducing energy is another area golf courses are making strides to be eco-friendly.

There are countless ways energy is being preserved at each and every course.

For some it may be as simple as switching to LED light bulbs in the clubhouse.

There are even courses that have implemented geothermal energy as their prime source of energy.

Courses tap below the Earth’s surface (50-150 feet) where temperatures moderate between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit in Minnesota.

This helps cut down the significant energy usage needed to heat the clubhouse during the winter as well as cool it during the summer.

Wildlife conservation has become very popular among many of the local golf courses. Golfers love to see the natural wildlife out on the course, whether it’s a fox running across the fairway or an eagle flying above. Seeing wildlife out on a golf course is an added bonus and can sometimes make up for not playing too well that day.

For many superintendents, building duck houses for their wetlands has become a winter hobby.

Some courses are adding more native grasses throughout their layout in areas that may have just been rough, which required watering and mowing. Now these areas will no longer require watering or mowing which means less water and fuel usage.

The native grasses can be an aesthetically pleasing area as well, giving the course a more natural look if it is maintained properly.

This is just scratching the surface of the many ways golf courses are realizing they must make an effort to become more eco-friendly and to preserve resources.

The next time you are out playing take a look around and notice the conservation efforts courses have implemented.

Here’s to hoping for perfect golf weather so we can get out and enjoy a round.

Tony Serpico is an assistant golf professional at the TPC-Twin Cities in Blaine.

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