September 11, 2009

Golf Courses Are Not All THAT Evil To The Environment

Some folks like to constantly deride golf courses as wasted acreage that are bad for the environment, but as it is with any extreme viewpoint, the whole story is not told. Even though it is geared towards lawns, here are some interesting facts:
  • 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.
Consider the first point: 50'x 50' is 2,500 square feet. An acre is 43,560 square feet, and roughly estimated, a typical golf course has 175 acres of grass. That means that a golf course has about 7.64 million square feet of grass, and if you do the math, again roughly estimated, a golf course produces enough oxygen for over 3,000 familes of four -- or 12,222 people each and every day.

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.


  1. Well done, CB...and take THAT you commie environmentalist bast...errr...whackos ! :-)

    If the environmentalists were actually interested in the environment, these things you explained so well might make a difference - but like so many other things these days, this is political and about control over our lives. (much like the "health care" issue)

  2. Not to mention all the wildlife sanctuary areas courses maintain on their property. These areas are much-more protected on golf courses than most woodland or other uninhabited areas.

  3. "Golf Courses Are Not All THAT Evil To The Environment"

    Agreed. Golf courses save all their evil for the golfers. The amateurs anyway.


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