Handbook Available for Greener Golf Courses

Golf course superintendents can now take advantage of a new water resources best management practices handbook to help make their courses green. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC), in partnership with LandStudies, Inc., published the new "Best Management Practices" handbook with financial assistance from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Growing Greener Grant Program.

"Pennsylvania has over 800 public and private golf courses covering thousands of acres of open space, streams and ponds," said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. "With this handbook, superintendents can improve water quality and watershed habitat at their courses using proven best-management practices that, in many cases, will also lower maintenance costs."

The handbook includes a detailed description of each recommended practice, its environmental benefit and a local example with contact information so that superintendents can learn first-hand how to implement the practice. The handbook also includes hyperlinks to additional online resources.

PEC and LandStudies were assisted by John Chassard, director of grounds at the Lehigh Country Club, and Jeff Broadbelt, president of Agrostis Golf Management. Chassard, Broadbelt and LandStudies collected information about state-of-the-art practices from golf course superintendents across the commonwealth as part of the handbook's development.

Also provided is information about how the practices - such as created or restored wetlands and natural floodplains - can generate additional value environmental-service credits for nutrient reduction, wetland mitigation and habitat improvements.

It also includes techniques for capturing and mitigating stormwater runoff and increasing groundwater recharge at golf courses. These practices can be integrated with watershed-management strategies in cooperation with local municipalities.

The handbook can be downloaded free at www.pecpa.org/gchandbook. Information about LandStudies, Inc. is available at www.landstudies.com.

About the Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council promotes the protection and restoration of the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy with the private sector, government, individuals and communities as partners to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. For more information, contact Scott Van de Mark at 412/848-2547 or at svandemark@pecpa.org.