The definition of sustainability as it relates to turfgrass management has been a little foggy. Here is an idea of what sustainability could mean as a turf manager.
I am sure you have heard the word “sustainable” used quite a bit over the past year. I know for us in the turf management portion of the golf industry, sustainability has become quite the conversation piece. The abundance of use has started to make people wonder, “what does sustainable really mean?” Once the word began to take off, everyone began to figure out how they could use the word in their communications. This, in turn ,has muddied up the definition and has left people second guessing the appropriateness at how the word is utilized.
What I think a sustainable golf club would be is a club that utilizes the community to help support the golf club. I got this idea from Scott Morrison of Turfhugger.com. He mentioned a club that was making use of waste from the surrounding community to maintain the golf course. I thought this was a great idea.
Making use of the local restaurants in the area could be a great source for used vegetable oil. The vegetable oil can be created into an alternative fuel. A conversion kit can be installed on the equipment using diesel to make use of the cleaned vegetable oil.
Another idea that I heard about was a club using the waste wood chips from a company as weed suppression in their landscaped areas. Using a product that would otherwise be discarded seems to fit the theme of sustainability. Using waste products could potentially save the club and the community money.
I have also been part of a bio-gas study. It has proven to be a very interesting study since the idea is to use grass clippings to create useable gas as well as a liquid fertilizer. Agriculture is doing this procedure with manure. The statistics behind the study to target golf courses was the fact that undigested grass clipping can yield nearly 13 times that of manure.
Thinking about sustainability and how it relates to turf maintenance makes me realize that there is potential out there. Some clubs have already embarked on this journey of “true” sustainability. The work that superintendents have done to continue to push the envelope and develop maintenance practices that have helped their club become truly sustainable, has been amazing.