Efficient water use and management can be positively influenced by golf course design, according to American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) president Bruce Charlton.
“Experienced golf course architects bring a lot of knowledge to the table about how a golf course can be designed or renovated to use water efficiently and make sure that the water that is used is managed properly,” stresses Charlton, president and chief design officer of Robert Trent Jones II International.
“This goes beyond things like using recycled water and looks at aspects like topographical characteristics, how water flows naturally and grass varieties.”
Here are a few ways design can influence water use and management:
• Firm and fast conditions (which are especially common in the UK) can make the game enjoyable. More water doesn’t necessarily mean better playing conditions. Design that takes this type of play into account can decrease water usage.
• Even though the initial costs of irrigation installation may be higher due to the need for precise watering with more sprinkler heads, the use of non-irrigated natural areas in the design of a golf course will definitely reduce the amount of water consumed throughout the life of the golf course.
• Good land planning and stewardship is critical to successful water management. The incorporation of natural runoff patterns as well as wetlands into the design will help capture and filter potential contaminants, and allows for water to replenish aquifers.
• The understanding a golf course architect has of the grass plant and its soil medium can increase the plant’s ability to readily process important nutrients, thus reducing the amount of water required to keep the grass plant healthy.
ASGCA members are experienced in designing for efficient water use. The recently published third edition of “An Environmental Approach to Golf Course Development” has explanations of design tenets used by members and case studies that illustrate examples of these best practices.