Architects say Design Affects Efficient Water Use

Efficient water use and management can be positively influenced by golf course design, according to Bruce Charlton, president of American Society of Golf Course Architects.

"Experienced golf course architects bring a lot of knowledge to the table about how a golf course can be designed or renovated to use water efficiently and make sure that the water that is used is managed properly," said Charlton. "This goes beyond things like using recycled water and looks at aspects like topographical characteristics, how water flows naturally and grass varieties."

Some of the ways design can influence water use and management:

Firm and fast conditions common in the United Kingdom can make the game enjoyable on a level not always found on American courses. More water doesn't necessarily mean better playing conditions. Design that takes this type of play into account can decrease water usage.

Cutting irrigation to natural areas. Although the initial cost for installation may be higher due to the need for precise watering and more sprinkler heads, using un-irrigated natural areas will reduce the amount of water over the life of a golf course.

Incorporating natural runoff patterns as well as wetlands into the design will help capture and filter potential contaminants, and allows for water to replenish aquifers.

Through an understanding of turfgrass and its growing medium, the plant's ability to process nutrients can be improved, reducing the amount of water required.

ASGCA says its members are experienced in designing for efficient water use. The association has published a third edition of "An Environmental Approach to Golf Course Development." For details, visit