The Loop

How Green is Golf, cont'd

April 27, 2008

Ontario, Canada, reader Cam Pettit writes with an interesting idea, inspired by his reading of the Jay Feldman and Mike Hurdzan interviews in John Barton's How Green is Golf ? article in the May issue. Feldman, who directs Beyond Pesticides (, told Barton:

The problem is, when you spray pesticides, they tend to move off the target site. The U.S. Geological put out a report in 2006 that looked at waters and streams and lakes in teh U.S. and found pesticides everywhere they looked. The typical response you get from superintendents is taht they're using registered pesticide products, they're using them in compliance with the lable, their pesticide applicators are trained and certified, so what's the problem? But there are clear deficiencies in the regulatory process in evaluating the full body of health outocomes that we're concerned about....

Pettit's idea is a start-small approach:

I'm pleased with the messages that both he and Mike Hurdzan are promoting and that there are people looking at making golf more eco-friendly. In an effort to reduce water consumption and chemical use on the golf course, I'd like to issue the following challenge to golf courses: Make one hole on your course (or an entire nine) eco-friendly; no inorganic pesticides or fertilizers and limited watering (greens and tee decks at a maximum). Offer a feedback form for guests who've played the eco-friendly section of the course and see what they thought of the conditioning and playability of the respective hole(s). Along those lines, Golf Digest could get involved with the governing bodies to standardize the form such that results could be used in further discussions of how to make golf more eco-friendly. For me, knowing that I'm playing on an eco-friendly course would help my conscience and dare I say it....possibly even help my game.

I love the one-hole idea for its educational potential. But I'm afraid "leaving the spots on the apples" may take some getting used to for most of the membership, some respondents to this blog and to our environmental forum. It's a start, though. Thanks, Cam.

--Bob Carney