The Effects Golf Courses Have On Wildlife And The Environment

Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

Do you find the sport of golf relaxing?

I never played 18-hole golf before, but I have gone to a gold range like Top Golf with some friends in Houston.

I had a lot of fun and I’m sure it would be the same amount of fun on the golf course. From what I can tell living close to one, the people playing are having a great time.

You’re out in nature with the sun shining bright with no clouds in the sky, cool breeze hitting your face, and spending time with friends. A great sport for those that like to be outdoors and don’t have to exert too much energy running ( I don’t care for running myself).

If I could afford the golf clubs I would give it a try. I do have my thoughts on having golf courses scattered all over the place.

In my opinion, golf courses are a waste of land. The land could be used for other things that are more useful. For example, more homes can be built on the land. You can turn the space into a big garden filled with beautiful plants and food for us to eat. Or leave the land as it was before creating the course and make a nature trail where people can walk.

I’m sure the water used to maintain the golf courses is pretty high. Probably the same amount for football and baseball fields. Seems we care more about those fields and out lawns than having a garden. Another resource going to waste.

This begs the question: What effects do golf courses have on the environment?

I understand this isn’t an easy question to answer. It all depends on how the golf course is made. Depending on how they’re made will affect the environment differently. Now if a golf course was properly built and maintained, it can have a positive effect on the environment.

Mike Hurdzan, a golf course architect, says golf courses can “sequester a lot of carbon that reduces global warming.” He also mentions golf courses are environmentally friendly when they’re built on spaces previously used for landfills. Brent Blackwelder, an environmentalist, agrees that cutting down trees to create golf courses is harmful to the environment and building them on degraded lands is much better.

Golf courses do require gallons of water daily in order to maintain them. According to Audubon International, they estimate that a golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water every day for irrigation. There’re courses who’ve adapted to use recycled or reclaimed water.

A golf course in North Shelby County, Tennessee, uses solar-powered golf carts and have an irrigation system that uses as much rainwater as possible.

Another question: What effects do golf courses have on wildlife?

Part of protecting the environment is also protecting animals that live in nature. Matt Goode, a researcher at the University of Arizona, currently studying how animals use golf courses, why are they using them, and can golf courses be designed to conserve wildlife.

Goode says “there was a time when I would never have considered golf courses as anything but a disaster.” He later changed his mind saying “from a wildlife perspective, golf courses hold promise. If done right, they represent a more compatible land use for wildlife.”

Goode was studying tiger rattlesnakes at Stone Canyon Golf Course in Tuscon and found more of them at the golf course than in the adjacent land. Not only that, but the snakes also grew faster, larger, reached sexual maturity sooner, and reproduced more often.

Dale DeNardo, an assistant professor at Arizona State University, found more Gila monsters in the same golf course than at more natural locations. He also notes that female Gila monsters breed annually at the golf course but usually breed every two to three years out in nature.

Turns out golf courses do have a positive impact on nature and wildlife. It all depends on how they were created. I guess they aren’t that much of a waste of land, but I say not to create more golf courses. Let’s just maintain the ones we have already and improve the ones that aren’t environmentally friendly.

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