Although many Americans enjoy working in their yards and maintaining an attractive landscape, they may not realize the tangible benefits of their efforts. These same benefits are available on the golf course where the combination of mowed turf, trees and natural areas provides a diverse environment for people and wildlife. Preserving these green spaces improves the environmental quality of the entire community.
As the golf has become more popular, people have become interested in how golf affects land resources and the environment. Many organizations in golf are actively answering these questions. In the past several years, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has supported more than 90 university studies and research projects to evaluate the relationship between golf and the environment.
This document highlights the benefits of turf, trees and natural areas as commonly found on golf courses. The information presented about these benefits is supported by factual, unbiased university research. Further information about any specific benefit - and the research from which it was drawn - can be provided by the USGA.
The golf course ecosystem:
Provides wildlife habitat
Protects topsoil from water and wind erosion
Improves community aesthetics
Absorbs and filters rain
Improves health and reduces stress for more than 24.5 million golfers
Improves air quality
Captures and cleanses runoff in urban areas
Discourages pests (e.g. ticks and mosquitoes)
Restores damaged land areas (e.g. former landfill or mining sites)
Makes substantial contributions to the community's economy
1) Golf Course Roughs And Trees Create Good Wildlife Habitat
More than 70 percent of most golf courses are rough and non-play areas including natural grasses, trees and shrubs. Combined with the open areas of fairways and greens, the golf course is an attractive wildlife habitat. The USGA and the Audubon Society of New York State have developed the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses. This program enhances wildlife habitat on and around golf courses. From osprey to deer, an amazing number of species are making golf courses their home.
2) Turf Protects Topsoil From Water And Wind Erosion
Our nation's topsoil is not a renewable resource. Wind and water may erode the topsoil into rivers, lakes and oceans. Once gone, it cannot be replaced in our lifetimes. Turf controls erosion by capturing and slowing fast-flowing water from storms.
How does turf stop erosion? Turf has a dense system of roots and shoots. Its normal growth patterns create organic matter. Together, the dense shoot and root growth slow surface water runoff. For example, during most rainstorms, very little soil is lost from areas covered by well-maintained turf. However, there is a considerable loss of soil from bare ground and cropland. Even during extremely intense rainstorms (3 inches per hour), studies show that turf holds up to 20 times more soil than...