Benefits to the Community and Environment
Well designed golf courses can benefit the Community and Environment.
Golf Sustaining The Environment
Well Designed Golf Courses
- Provide wild life sanctuaries
- Preserve open space and remnant vegetation within urban environments
- Protect topsoil from degradation
- Protect water resources
- Rehabilitate degraded landscapes ie tips, mines, intensive use/mismanaged land
- Promote physical and mental well being.
- Promote indigenous flora and fauna and the Tropical Landscape Experience
- Improve air quality and moderate temperature
- Utilise and treat water resources such as; sewage, stormwater and urban runoff thereby reducing load on waterways
- Beautify the environment and provide community education on environmental issues
Provide wildlife sanctuariesGolf Courses provide a unique opportunity to create within their boundaries a 'Wildlife Sanctuary', which preserves and enhances an often rich variety of native birdlife, animals and vegetation, thereby enriching the ecology of the region. Many golf courses house significant areas of natural landscape (some 65% of the site), consisting of rough and non golf play areas, natural grasses, tress and shrubs.
Careful management actively promotes desirable habitat via sound practices such as weed control to eliminate competition on the more delicate endemic species.
In broader terms golf courses act as important 'links' of green space across a region, particularly in an urban context.
Preserve open space and remnant vegetation within urban environments
Golf Courses are contiguous with green belts and compatible land uses such as sporting reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, wetlands and forest.
In this way golf courses preserve, protect and enhance flora and fauna. Golf Courses also serve as a 'buffer' between sensitive natural environments and cities and industrial areas.
Protect topsoil from degradationThe degradation of soil appears in many forms such as acidification , salination and erosion.
Vegetation plays a significant role in the sustainable management of soil. Vegetation, particularly turfgrass, successfully controls water's erosive power. A dense root and shoot system creates an organic thatch layer which filters and slows surface water runoff. Research has shown that even during high rainfall periods (6-7 cm/hr), turf hold up to 20 times more soil than traditionally farmed cropland.
Protect water resourcesGolf Courses play a significant role in the management of water, aiding in the conservation and preservation of water resources. Golf Courses act as a natural filter of stormwater and runoff. Turfgrass, together with the natural landscape function in trapping sediment and pollutants before they enter common waterways. The containment of water on site helps in flood control and filtration whilst contributing to the recharge of aquifers and groundwater which may otherwise pollute nearby waterways.
Rehabilitate degraded landscapesOften economic limitations make it difficult to rehabilitate scarred and degraded landscapes such as landfill, quarries, tip sites and barren rural land.
Golf Courses provide a viable land use for land degraded over time by intensive land use or mismanagement. Golf Courses can contribute to the reinstatement of the natural processes of a healthy environment by reconditioning degraded soils and restoring natural systems.
Perhaps the most significant benefit is in providing a new use for this land with wide community benefit.
Promote physical and mental well beingThe average round of golf takes the player on a 7-8 km walk. Research shows that this alone can reduce cholesterol levels. Additionally golfers are exposed to the unconscious benefit of their natural surroundings whilst chasing the 'elusive little white ball'. Studies show that a pleasant landscape positively contributes to the mental well being of its viewer. For example hospital patients are known to recover more quickly when blessed with a pleasant landscape view. This benefit, together with the ability of a game of golf to provide the temporary escape from the pressures of day to day life make golf an extremely healthy pursuit for mind and body.
Promote indigenous flora and fauna and the Tropical Landscape Experience
Golf Courses are vital in this role providing opportunities for a wide cross section of the community to experience our natural landscape.
Golf Courses also recognise the importance of cultural, rural and historic landscapes which may be managed in an appropriate way so as to not significantly impact upon golf strategy.
Improve air quality and moderate heatVegetation has the unique capability of improving the quality of air we breathe as well as producing it. Photosynthesis is a process whereby carbon dioxide is consumed by the plant, converting it into oxygen. Research shows that an area of 180 square metres of turfgrass, grasslands, shrub and tress produces enough oxygen for one person for one year.
Turfgrass and trees also have the effect of reducing the heat of an area. Planting around buildings and carparks provide the dual benefits of a more comfortable environment whilst reducing cooling costs.
Utilise and treat water resources such as effluent, sewage and urban runoffThe reliance upon potable water to irrigate a golf course is an issue gaining increased attention. Golf Courses face the reality that when striving for sustainability they must not only seek alternate water sources but more effective water usage/management practices. Where feasible golf courses can offset their potable water usage by the use of alternative water sources. As the costs of potable water rise there is an economic incentive to supplement potable water with effluent and/or stormwater. Filtering effluent and stormwater through a golf course lessens the pollution and sedimentation of our waterways.
The use of secondary treated effluent has the added advantage of supplying up to 70% of the nutrient requirement needed to maintain 'quality' turfgrass, lessening the need for chemical support.
Beautify the environment and aid community education on environmental issuesGolf Courses provide the opportunity to enrich the environment by housing a diverse and rich ecology. Significant ecosystems such as a wetlands provide a valuable resource in terms of an education facility for golfers and interest groups alike. The habitat qualities of wetlands sustain many varieties of migratory birds, native animals, fish, insects and plant life. Guided walks educate and alert participants to the environmental issues within the golf course as well as within the broader context of the region.
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