The Most Earth-Friendly Golf Courses\nDrier conditions that play firm and fast are a hallmark of an environmentally-friendly course, such as Honors Course near Chattanooga. The less water, fertilizer and pesticides applied, the better for all.\nGreen grass can still be compatible with the environment. Pete Dye's famed Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic uses Paspalum turf for tees, fairways and greens. It thrives on the sort of briny water found along coastlines.\nAny course with a sand base can drastically reduce its amount of irrigated, mown rough. West Palm Beach Golf Club did so five years ago; it now plays as it did when it first opened in 1947.\nAs Pinehurst No. 2 demonstrated during last year's men's and women's Open, fairways irrigated solely by rainfall can still provide championship conditioning. The replacement of Bermudagrass rough with sand and native plants was also a statement.\nAnother example of recent turf removal is Bald Head Island Golf Club on an island along the North Carolina coast. If anything, exposed sand and native plant enhances playability while saving water and money.\nBarona Creek, near San Diego, won a Green Star award from Golf Digest in 2011 in part for its decision to quit maintaining areas between tees and fairways. Forward tees never have a forced carry over rough, but back tees do.\nBarona Creek is so committed to the environmental movement that it even offers preferred parking for golfers driving alternative fuel vehicles.\nGolf Digest's Best New Course of 2014, Gamble Sands in central Washington, uses drought-tolerant fescue grasses throughout in efforts to make the course sustainable and playable.\nEnvironmentally-friendly courses are integrated into their surrounds, not superimposed upon them. The Dunes Course at The Prairie Club in central Nebraska is a prime example.\nAnother example of treading lightly on the landscape is the Bandon Dunes complex in Oregon, Golf Digest's Green Star winner in 2012. This is the resort's 13-hole par-3 course. Note the bunkers are less than perfectly manicured.\nGolfers regularly play through flocks of wild turkeys at Little River Inn on the California coast. An environmentally-friendly course is also one that provides a healthy habitat for wildlife.\nThere are spots at Little River Inn, like this one just off the sixth fairway, where encounters with wildlife are up close and personal.\nHerons can be spotted along the water hazards at Crystal Springs.\nRedtail hawks patrol Crystal Springs from perches atop snags and old trees.\nThe variety of wildlife found at Crystal Springs is remarkable.\nGolfers straying well off Crystal Springs fairways often encounter velvet-topped bucks.\nAnother public course dedicated to wildlife preservation is Crystal Springs Golf Club south of San Francisco. For its efforts, it was presented an Environmental Leaders in Golf award in 2012.\nTrump Links Ferry Point in the Bronx, N.Y., an environmentally-sustainable landfill golf course, is fully open for play in 2015.\nAnother way to save fuel and labor is to use sheep to mow steep roughs, as is done at Dairy Creek Golf Club in San Luis Obispo, California.\nEqually anticipated is the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash., built from an abandoned gravel mine using fescues grasses on tees, fairways and greens. Watered solely by nature, it'll probably be greener in June than it was last August.