Country Clubs are Teeing up Forget the rumors of the traditionally chemical-heavy sport of golf, because while they were once true, golf is going green in every area that it has previously been knocked for. From conserving water to reducing waste and chemical use, several golf courses are asking for a serious mulligan on their sustainability reputations. Below are a two flagship examples that have shown special consideration to the green cause. One club is new to the green world, while the other is a veteran. Both have different aims, but each hits a sustainability mark. Read and see why these clubs stand out, and what patrons can do to be sustainability minded as well.

St. Andrews Country Club, Boca Raton, FL

This upscale golf course was not afraid to put its money where its stated intentions were. Earlier this year, the club completed a $1.2-million reclaimed water project. Teaming up with the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department, the club now boasts reusable, sustainable irrigation for its two 18-hole courses and the surrounding landscaping. Saving irrigation water for farming and other needs was priority number one, according to a statement made by Roy Schwedelson, President of the club’s board of governors, to EP Online earlier this year. St. Andrews Country Club in Florida is one country club concerned with its footprint.
“Implementation of reclaimed water throughout St. Andrews ensures the availability of irrigation water, especially facing the prospect of even harsher use restrictions being imposed in the future,” Schwedelson said. “Reclaimed water, which is freely usable regardless of other watering restrictions, also enables us to help our community and our neighbors by conserving water.” But, while this country club just recently implemented sustainability practices, others have been at it for much longer.

Glenn Dale Country Club, Glenn Dale, MD

A recycling program run at Glenn Dale Country Club has a rate of reuse and recycling at 64% annually. After factoring in the practices of visitors for the last 20 years, the high percentage of recovered materials suggests that when a business cares, so do its employees and patrons. Since 1991, when the club was granted a Prince George’s County grant, recycling bins have been placed at all teeing areas, the driving range, the swimming pool, equipment areas, the clubhouse, the snack bar, common grounds areas and at the three private residences. The materials recycled include: corrugated cardboard, glass bottles, tin/steel cans, aluminum can, No. 1 and 2 plastic containers, paper and yard waste. The longevity of the program suggests that sustainability can be continual. Country clubs might have the organization and, in many cases, the money to make a big difference in the world of golf. But, individual golfers can make a big difference too, according to some etiquette pointers from pros as a part of the 2010 PGA sustainability campaign. The suggestions fit sustainability needs to a tee:
  • Re-green your game: Practice good etiquette, like repairing ball marks and divots. This process helps heal the grass much faster and reduces the chance of insects, weeds or diseases affecting the grass in that area. Healthy grass requires fewer chemicals, less water and less work to maintain, which is good for the game and the environment.
  • Respect the wildlife: Golf is a shared experience with nature. You need to respect the wildlife habitat on the course and recognize the link between golf and nature. So, before stepping onto the green, examine course maps to identify areas that may be home to wildlife and should be left undisturbed during the game.
  • Lead by example: Sustainability starts at home. Trade in plastic water bottles for reusable and refillable bottles that can be used and washed time and time again. Drinking something other than water? Make it a point to recycle empty cans and bottles at the end of your round.
While the green movements of country clubs and their patrons have come a long way, it seems that a hole-in-one may still be in the works. Will clubs settle for a birdie? To be continued…