Green Golf In NC
With a heightened consciousness on better preserving this planet we all share, many visionary businesses in North Carolina – golf courses included – are leading the way in going green.
One of the state's original golf restoration projects was Renaissance Golf Club in Charlotte, which was built in the late 1980s on top of a former landfill.
In more recent years, nearly two dozen North Carolina courses are leading the way in environmental stewardship. They have all met the necessary steps to claim the designation of being a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Audubon International sets best practices for golf courses in providing wildlife habitat, protecting water quality, reducing chemical usage and improving overall environmental performance.
North Carolina's Audubon certified courses include layouts from all three of the state's regions: mountains, piedmont and coast. They include courses available for public play such as the Heritage Club in Wake Forest, The Currituck Club in Corolla on the Outer Banks, Broadmoor Golf Links in Fletcher, Lockwood Folly Country Club in Supply and Players Club at St. James Plantation in Southport.
Among the initiatives put in place that helped these North Carolina courses earn the Audubon designation include:
- Stocking golf course ponds with grass-eating carp, helping to control algae and reducing the need for chemical applications
- Erecting bluebird and bat houses, providing habitat and encouraging natural pest control
- Recycling aluminum cans, pesticide containers and seed bags
- Testing soil and grass nutrient levels, which prevents the use of excess fertilizer and other chemicals that leach into ponds and groundwater
- Creating no-mow natural areas, thus expanding wildlife habitat and reducing machinery fuel consumption and emissions
- Preserving and expanding wetland areas
- Reintroducing native, drought-tolerant year-round plantings in place of annuals that require regular watering
Not only are responsible and forward-thinking golf courses taking necessary steps, golfers in North Carolina and elsewhere can do their part as well. Audubon International challenges golfers to take its Green Golfer™ Pledge to practice environmental etiquette on the course. Pledges include:
- Keeping play on the course and staying out of environmentally sensitive natural areas
- Taking time to appreciate the increased variety of native plants and wildlife on the course
- Following cart path rules to protect soils and grass
- Using trash and recycling receptacles appropriately and encouraging others to do the same
- Repairing ball marks and replacing divots to keep grass healthy
- Encouraging other golfers to learn about the benefits of environmentally responsible management on the course and in their community
- Voicing support for the environmental efforts undertaken at home courses
- Purchasing environmentally friendly products for their golf game
Regarding the latter, Dixon Golf manufactures golf balls advertised as "green to the core." Their balls do not contain tungsten, cobalt and other heavy metals that are used in most golf balls. The balls and packaging material are all made from "100% recyclable" material, according to Dixon Golf.
One of the great appeals of golf courses in North Carolina is their exceptional locations in some of nature's grandest locations. Now, thanks to Audubon International, course owners and golfers have guiding principles to preserve the environmental health of these golf sanctuaries.
By Patrick Jones
added: December 22, 2010
updated: April 5, 2013
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