Thursday, December 6, 2007

Greening of Golf

I was recently flying back from San Diego over the Thanksgiving holidays and came across an article on the Greening of Golf. For decades, the only concern of a golf course superintendent was to keep it green. Now superintendents are going green, using a number of techniques to prevent groundwater contamination and protect biodiversity. Watch the short video clip and check out the other resources included here. Hearing about some of the good these courses are doing for the environment made my holiday. You can also participate in building a map of green golf courses by logging into our APES Google Map.

Questions
1. Use the Internet to research the location of 3 golf courses, then geomark them on Google Maps.
2. Describe 2 common practices by golf course superintendents that could lead to soil or groundwater contamination.
3. For the practices mentioned in #2, describe 2 soil and/or water tests that should be taken regularly by golf courses to prevent soil or groundwater contamination.
4. Describe 2 health effects from groundwater contamination of excess nitrates.
5. Describe 1 negative effect golf courses have on the environment and provide 1 example of a golf course that is altering its practices in order to mitigate the negative effects of golf courses on the environment.

Resources
Greening Golf Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfUuBTu9PeA&eurl=http://goapes.blogspot.com/
The Greening of Golf
http://www.delta-sky.com/2007_11/greenscene/
Greening Up Golf Courses
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=183864
Greening of the Golf Course Greens
http://www.jgpress.com/inbusiness/archives/_free/001106.html
Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP)
http://acspgolf.auduboninternational.org/
Green Golf Course KMZ Layer on Google Page Creator
http://tcooper66.googlepages.com/goapesingooglepagecreator

7 comments:

Courtney said...

2. The use of pesticides and fertilizers are the two major things that golf course superintendents do that lead to soil and groundwater contamination. When the golf courses spray pesticides to kill bugs and weeds that as well as the fertilizer that is put down gets washed away by either the rain or watering that must take place to keep the golf courses in “tip top shape.” When the water runs off it can contaminate the water supply of the surrounding area.

3. Two soil/water tests that should be taken frequently at golf courses are nitrate tests, looking for high nitrate content. High nitrate content usually means contamination from pesticides or fertilizers. Courses can also test for high mineral contents in their soil which can also result from too much fertilizer.

4. Young children can get nitrate poisoning from being exposed to too much from the contamination of the water. They can become very ill and even die. The nitrate limits the blood in your body to absorb oxygen. Just in general, too much intake of pesticides and fertilizers are not good for the human body and can cause hormonal issues, growth issues, and if neurological issues if gone untreated for long periods of time.

5. UW-Madison golf course is taking measures to cut down on their water pollution from the golf courses pesticides and fertilizers. UW-Madison is using old tires that are shred up and incorporated into the soil to absorb some of the nitrates that can be so harmful to the environment.

AFAbaseball said...

1) Indian Hills Country Club, Legacy Golf Windy Hill, City Club Marietta Golf Course.

2) Two things that golf course superintendents often put on their courses which could contaminate the soil and groundwater are fertilizers and insecticides. Excess amounts of fertilizer keeps the grass green but loads the soil with excess nitrates and could seep into the groundwater. Also insecticides are used to control the insect population and put unnaturally chemicals into the soil/groundwater like DDT.

3) To prevent soil or groundwater contamination golf courses should test for the nitrate level in the soil to determine if they are using too much fertilizer, and they should test for organochlorides which will tell the courses if they are using too much insecticide.

4) Two heath effects from contaminated groundwater are direct consumption of nitrate and algae blooms. When high concentrations of nitrates are consumed, bacteria in our digestive tract convert the nitrate to nitrite which reacts with the hemoglobin in our blood to form methemoglobin which does not carry oxygen. Algae blooms can be a problem if contaminated ground water reaches an above ground source where algae can grow. Some algae is toxic to human health such as the Algae known as “red tide”

5) One negative effect golf courses have on the environment is that they tend to over fertilize causing the eutrophication of close by water sources such as groundwater. Golf courses at the University of Wisconsin – Madison are placing ground up tires under their greens because these tires absorb excess chemicals from fertilizers that could contaminate the groundwater.

Brittany said...

(see google maps)

To keep golf courses looking healthy and plush, superintendents use fertilizers on the grass. However, the fertilizers cause ground water contamination because the ingredients of the fertilizers are toxic. Also, when it rains, the fertilizers run into local sinks and lakes, causing eutrophication and algae blooms. Also, pesticides are used to kill off bugs and disease that could damage the grasses. This also causes soil and ground water contamination. The pesticide chemicals are absorbed into the soil, making it harmful to other plants and animals as well as humans.

Water tests should be taken regularly so insure that any contamination to the soil and water can be stopped before it gets too serious. A water test for nitrates would check to see if too much fertilizer is being used. Also a test for diazinon could help show if pesticides are being used in large quantities. If diazinon is found in the soil or water, the environment is being severely damaged because diazinon it harmful to both humans and wildlife, causing damage to the nervous system and various other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

Excess nitrates can cause nitrate poisoning which leads to sickness in young children an older adults and possibly even death. The nitrates effect the body’s ability to transport blood and hemoglobin. Also, the eutrophication of fertilizers into nearby lakes and ponds causes algae blooms that can be harmful to humans in high amounts and block sunlight from other species of the lake. Therefore, fish and crustaceans cannot survive for humans to eat.

Golf courses decrease biodiversity because they build over wetlands and cut down trees and bushes to plant non-native grasses. Many animals must migrate because they cannot survive near a golf course with busy humans and chemicals. Some golf courses have instituted a new type of golfing called “extreme golf” where players must play around the natural elements. Fewer trees are cut down. The new skill is a mix between hiking and golfing where grass is not as mowed and the environment is more natural.

leigha said...

2. Describe 2 common practices by golf course superintendents that could lead to soil or groundwater contamination.
Golf course superintendents use fertilizers to keep the grass healthy. Although they help the plants grow, they also tent to degrade ecosystems usually through eutrophication. Another bad habit is the fact that pesticides are used on the grass. These pesticides get into the water system and run into lakes and streams nearby.

3. For the practices mentioned in #2, describe 2 soil and/or water tests that should be taken regularly by golf courses to prevent soil or groundwater contamination.
One practice that should be enforced is testing the nitrate in the soil and water, by taking samples and studying them to make sure that there is the right amount of nitrate in the soil. Also nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that most likely affect water quality. So, you must test the amount in the soil and plan applications that are critical to the health of the grass, trees, and surround environment

4. Describe 2 health effects from groundwater contamination of excess nitrates.
It has been found that excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water has lead to illness and sometimes death, so if too much nitrate gets into the water around the golf course, the surrounding area could suffer. Also nitrates have potential to dieresis, increased starchy deposits and hemorrhaging on the spleen more likely in certain people.

5. Describe 1 negative effect golf courses have on the environment and provide 1 example of a golf course that is altering its practices in order to mitigate the negative effects of golf courses on the environment.
One negative effect golf courses have on the environment is that they use a lot of water to keep the grass green and alive. To help, they make sure that the grass is cut at 3 inches which is the healthy length for grass. If it is longer than that when it is cut again, then the blade is cut lower, letting more water escape from the blade. Golf courses in Gwinnett have decided to have a closed-loop recycling system for the water they use. The runoff from washing equipment is collected, filtered, and used again.

Colin K. said...

1) The three courses I did were Blackburn Meadows Golf Club and The Country Club at Castle Pines as well as Indian Hills Country Club.
2) 2 different things that superintendents do at their respective golf courses that might lead to soil/groundwater contamination are using too much fertilizer and pesticides. The fertilizer can damage only the soil because of the excess amount of nitrates it puts in. Also, groundwater can be affected because of the runoff a rain might cause. Too many pesticides can also contaminate the ground as well as the water around it.
3) 2 different soil/water tests that should be taken regularly by golf courses are nitrogen tests as well as test for diazinon, a colorless brown liquid. A diazinon test can show harmful effects that diazinon is having on humans as well as animals. Diazinon can cause nervous system problems which lead to other problems such as nonreactive pinpoint pupils, excessive salivation. Nitrogen tests would be necessary because excess nitrogen in the soil can lead to the lack of oxygen. Also, it is a sign that you, or the superintendent, is using way too much fertilizer.
4) 2 health affected that can come from groundwater contamination of excess nitrates are sickness in young children and algae blooms. When nitrogen gets into young children’s bodies, their hemoglobin reacts with the methemoglobin which causes them to not carry oxygen. This can be very lethal. If the groundwater contamination reaches the water and the algae level, then everything can be thrown off and affect the health in young children. One example is the “red tide”, which often occurs in Florida, and that is why I cannot go to Florida nowadays.
5) One negative effect that Golf Courses can have on the environment today is they cut down vegetation that is in their way just to construct new courses or holes. This changes not only the vegetation but also the animals that live in the different places. It forces them to move somewhere else and away from their environmental niche. One example of a Golf Course that is altering its practices in order to mitigate the negative effects of golf courses on the environment is the golf course in Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They are by placing tires underneath their greens to absorb all of the chemicals that would usually just pour into the soil.

Eric said...

The pesticides are used to kill off bugs and disease that could damage the grasses. Also, the superintendents use fertilizers on the grass to keep the grass healthy and fun to play on. These two compounds cause ground water contamination since the chemicals of them are toxic the runoff from them seep into local sinks and lakes.

One test that could be done is nitrate testing in the soil to determine if they are using too much fertilizer. Another test that should be done is that for as well as test for diazinon, a brown liquid pesticide. Diazinon causes nervous system problems which leads to other problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In young bodies nitrate can change to nitrite, a chemical that reduces the blood's ability absorb oxygen and bring it to body tissues, which to "blue baby syndrome." The fertilizers can also cause algae blooms which can be a problem if the contaminated ground water reaches an above ground source where algae can grow. Some algae is toxic to human health such as the algae known as “red tide”.

In order to make room the long golf courses, trees must be cut down, which destroys bird’s homes. Cordova Bay Golf Course created nesting boxes for Purple Martins and bluebirds, and has 71 species of birds make their home there, many of which show appreciation by keeping insect larvae on the greens at bay. Bat houses have also been built for the winged allowing Cardova Bay to have a natural way of keeping the insect numbers down.

malav said...

2. In order to maintain the green, clean, and well-kept look of a golf course green, much fertilizer must constantly be used. The fertilizer does succeed in producing, lush, green grass; however, the fertilizer also has negative impacts on the environment. Fertilizers main components are phosphorus, nitrates, and potassium. Of these, nitrates are the most dangerous to the environment, especially in high quantities. High quantities can be achieved after many months or even years of continued exposure to fertilizer runoff form a golf course. Another impact golf courses have on the contamination of their water and soil can be seen from the introduction of pesticides. Pesticides are used to kill or decrease the likelihood of unwanted insects or animals living on the golf courses. Like fertilizers, these pesticides are often effective. But, in order to be effective, golf course superintendents often times overexpose them to the golf courses. As a result, pesticide runoff occurs, and the poisonous material contaminates a water supply, via groundwater.
3. Nitrates are very soluble, so they have the ability to flow in groundwater very readily. As a result, it is necessary to test for their nitrate level at least once a year in order to determine if the level of nitrates in the water source has surpassed the level deemed fit for public consumption. If more than five milligrams of nitrates per liter of water tested exist, than the water is categorized as toxic or unhealthy. The nitrates in the water are tested through a reverse osmosis methodology. It is also important to measure the level of pesticides in the groundwater source. This should be done at least twice a year, as pesticides have more dangerous health effects than nitrates do. Pesticide test measure the prevalence of certain specific compounds that may be more easily measured. Then, based on these contamination levels, a generalization can be made about the overall pesticide level of the groundwater source.
4. The fertilizers used to treat golf courses produce excess nitrate runoff. This runoff then has the potential to enter a groundwater source; now, the nitrates have entered a much larger system. Their negative impacts can now be much more widespread. Infants, marked by already increased susceptibility to outside influence, are especially affected by the nitrates that entered their drinking water source. Within the infant body, nitrate is chemically changed into nitrite. Nitrite is an altogether different compound that has the ability to reduce the body’s oxygen-absorbing abilities. As a result, babies suffer from reduced oxygen levels in their blood; in some cases this leads to “blue baby syndrome” or methemoglobinemia, where there are reduced levels of the enzyme methemoglobin. In regard to adults, who are generally less susceptible to illness when compared to infants, nitrates do not have as severe direct effects. However, the presence of nitrates is often indicative of the presence of other more consequential substances. Studies show that nitrates are often in the presence of bacteria, also substances that can come about from the runoff form the fertilizers of golf courses. Nitrates are also often existent in the presence of pesticides that are also used on golf courses. Pesticides of this form are often very toxic and tend to have direct health consequences on those who ingest them.
5. A surprisingly crucial factor in the golf course’s impact on the environment is the use of the spiked-sole golfing shoes. These shoes provide traction and grip necessary to further one’s play of the sport of golf. But, these spikes also tear up the turf, often tiems irreversibly so. Other times, the turf takes weeks to grow back. IN this way, these spikes have a direct impact on the environment. Also, with more patches of torn up turf brought about by spiked-sole shoes, more fertilizer will be sued to allow for sped up regrowth. Now, the spiked-sole shoes have also caused further water contamination.
The Cordova Bay Golf Course located in Vancouver Island in Canada has taken the necessary measures in order to become more environmentally sustainable. It has been designated a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” due to its work done towards reestablishing the habitats of locally found birds and creating nest boxes along the golf course for their continued success. The golf course itself has also been kept with twenty percent water than traditionally managed golf courses. This not only reduces the golf courses water use, but it also reduces the amount of nitrate and pesticide runoff into the local water source for the local population.