Newly released survey data from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America also showed that courses used just 1.44 percent of all irrigated water in the U.S. in 2013.
Golf course superintendents used 21.8 percent less water overall and just 1.44 percent of all irrigated water in the U.S. to maintain their courses in 2013, compared with usage in 2005, according to recently released data from a survey conducted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The survey, funded by the United States Golf Association through the GCSAA’s Environmental Institute for Golf, reflected data collected from nearly 2,000 golf course superintendents that was independently analyzed by scientists at PACE Turf and the National Golf Foundation, which published the findings for peer review before making the information public.
“This study shows us that the golf industry has been addressing water issues for some time and is realizing positive results,” said Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D., co-owner of PACE Turf. “The numbers show that golf course superintendents across the country have reduced water consumption.
“There is always room for improvement, however, and I think we will see even less water being used and fewer acres being irrigated in the years ahead,” Dr. Gelernter added.
Along with reducing overall water usage by 500,000 acre-feet, the survey showed that golf course superintendents increased their use of recycled water by 33 percent, compared with the prior study.
Since 2005, the GCSAA reported, golf courses have reduced managed irrigated turf by 14,430 acres, enough of a reduction to cover more than 100 golf courses. The reduction does not include golf course closures, the organization noted.
In addition, the study provided data on average water use in the seven different agronomic regions of the country, showing that water usage was the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the Southeast and Southwest, which have year-round play and turf growth.
“The golf course superintendent profession is committed to science-based technologies and environmental stewardship,” said Rhett Evans, CEO of GCSAA. “We hope that this national study will demonstrate our commitment to efficient water management and inspire the industry to continue to lead in the future.
“In the end, water management is about providing playing conditions that satisfy the needs of golfers today without compromising the needs of the future,” Evans adds. ”It’s not surprising to find water usage down and water costs up nationally for golf course managers. The picture of the golf industry has changed, and it will continue to evolve, even at the national championship level, where the world’s best players are seeing a shift from overall uniform green to firmer surfaces that receive less water.”
The complete survey report can be found at gcsaa.org.