The Greening of Greens

by R. Todd Borden, (M.ASCE), Sr. Engr.; Christopher Consultants, Sterling, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 10, Pg. 55-57

Document Type: Feature article


Until recently, most consulting engineers thought golf courses were fun to design, good for the portfolio, but not worthy of much serious thought. Environmental issues and competing uses for the land have changed all that. Playing golf may be a great way to commune with nature, but building the golf courses may not. For instance, EPA estimates that 12 million pounds of 126 different pesticides are doused regularly on the nation's 14,000 golf courses. Almost 300 new golf courses opened last year, according to the American Society of Golf Course Architects, many into high density residential developments. Almost as many will open this year. To ensure these fairways are environmentally benign, developers are turning to engineers early in the design process. Increasingly, regulators are delaying these projects until such concerns are satisfied. Work on the proposed 560-acre Blue Ridge Country Club and golf course near Linville, N.C. for example, has been delayed for two years due to community worries over storm run-off and wetlands mitigation. In fact, it takes careful planning and design to keep fertilizers and pesticides from wreaking havoc on an established ecosystem, or migrating sediment, as well as bulldozed soil, from filling wetlands. When developing the course at a club near Washington D.C., the owners turned to an engineering firm. The site has required massive regrading for storm protection and a wetland mitigation program.

Subject Headings: Wetlands (fresh water) | Consulting services | Environmental issues | Pesticides | Storms | Mitigation and remediation | Land use | Environmental Protection Agency | Washington | United States

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