The tradition-bound, somewhat chemical-heavy sport of golf isn’t exactly the first place you’d look for evidence that we really have launched into a more sustainable future, but there you have it: golf is going green, and the ferociously upscale St. Andrews Country Club of Boca Raton is part of the revolution. The club has just announced completion of a new system that will irrigate its two golf courses with reclaimed water (aka wastewater), along with tennis courts and landscaping, too.
The news comes on the heels of an announcement by the PGA Tour and FedEx that Tiger Woods – wait, scratch that – that golf courses in several cities hosting the tour will get sustainability makeovers that include habitat and waterway restoration.
St. Andrews Country Club and Sustainable Golf
The golf club’s new water recycling system will pipe in reclaimed water from the Palm Beach County Utilities Department, which has the capability to treat wastewater up to federal standards for irrigation use. The utility’s operations include 50 acres of constructed wetlands that provide a level of natural wastewater treatment, and in an interesting twist the country club grounds will provide yet another layer of filtration. A club spokesman points out that in addition to conserving potable water and maintaining healthy water levels in the club’s lakes and ponds, the new system uses the highly absorbent nature of turf to remove additional nitrogen and other nutrients from the reclaimed water – which in turn should help cut down on the need for chemical fertilizers. It’s a pretty neat example of the green synergy that’s bubbling up between sports and sustainability.
The Race for Sustainable Sports
For obvious reasons the skiing industry has become a sustainability leader, but golf is starting to run a close second. The PGA Tour’s partnership with sustainability conscious FedEx is called The FedExCup Fore!Ever and it includes company-sponsored grants for improvements at the six courses. Working with Audubon International, the campaign also gets golf’s First Tee youth program involved by having the young golfers lend a hand with some of the restoration projects. A sustainability curriculum is also in the works, and the campaign is getting the word out to golfers about course etiquette that helps cut down on chemical-dependant greens maintenance. But golf better hurry up, because sustainable baseball is right around the corner followed closely by a freshly greened NFL.
Image: Golf ball by One Tree Hill Studios on flickr.com.