- Oxygen production: a 50'x50' backyard produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Cooling effect: eight average healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning - enough for 16 average homes.
- Pollution control: dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by blades of grass. Lawns also convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
- Water quality: dense, healthy turf slows down and filters runoff, removing contaminants and trapping soil from running off as well.
In so doing, living grass converts Carbon Dioxide, the voodoo daddy of global warming into oxygen. Additional CO2 is sequestered as well, so with all things considered, it is very fair to say that golf courses have a negative effect on global warming. Whether or not you "believe" that manmade global warming is a huge problem, the point remains that golf courses are good for the air we breathe.
Additionally, all of the turf on a golf course does cool the air, which certainly offsets all of the hot air that the players on it may produce. More seriously, as a living thing, the cooling effect is another side benefit.
While it is an absolute truth that many if not most golf courses use too many chemical additives and insecticides in their ongoing maintenance, one hardly if ever hears of the overall effect of filtration that the turf provides in removing air and water pollutants. Superintendents are increasingly aware of over-use of the fertilizers and insecticides they use, and overall they are reducing them where ever possible. While there is still progress to be made, it is equally fair to point out the progress already attained and the other benefits seemingly never mentioned.
Folks that are singleminded in an environmentalist or anti-golf mindset may not like those facts, but it is certainly fair to point them out in riposte the next time they blather on about how golf and golfers are doing nothing but wrecking the environment. And if you really want to have fun, ask them about all of the toxic and hazardous materials that their hybrid vehicle has built into it. Or for that matter, their solar power panels.
As with all things, a balanced viewpoint is the best. While we certainly must take better care of our environment, it is unwise to accept an extremist point of view at face value without any critical analysis.