Colorado Study Earns National Environmental Leadership Award

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) board of directors has selected Golf in Colorado: An Independent Study of the 2002 Economic Impact and Environmental Aspects of Golf in Colorado for its 2006 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. The award will be presented during the General Session of the 2006 GCSAA Education Conference, Friday, Feb. 10, 2006. The GCSAA Education Conference (Feb. 6-11) will be held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 9-11) in Atlanta.

The award was established in 1991 to recognize "an exceptional environmental contribution to the game of golf: a contribution that further exemplifies the golf course superintendent's image as a steward of the land."

"Golf in Colorado" examined the financial impact the golf industry made on Colorado in 2002, with a special look at the environmental stewardship efforts of golf facilities. It found that Colorado’s golf industry contributed more than $560 million in direct revenue to the state’s economy in 2002. When indirect economic activity was included, the study found golf’s total impact on Colorado was $1.2 billion. People traveling to Colorado to play golf spent an average of $387 per day on ancillary items such as lodging, ground transportation, food and entertainment, which resulted in a total contribution of more than $250 million annually.

In addition to the economic analysis, the study also addressed water use and other environmental factors associated with Colorado golf courses. It found that Colorado golf courses encompassed 36,500 total acres. Of this total, 19,800 acres were irrigated leaving more than 12,000 acres unmaintained to provide wildlife habitat. In 2002, Colorado golf courses used 15.6 billion gallons of water, which represented just less than one-third of 1 percent of the state’s water consumption that year.

"This study is a great example of quantifying the positive value of golf's economic impact to a state economy," said GCSAA President Timothy T. O’Neill, CGCS. "It also demonstrates the power of cooperation when organizations in golf join together for the good of the game."

The Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association was a participant in the study, along with various state allied golf organizations, including the Colorado Golf Association, Colorado Women’s Golf Association, Colorado Section of the PGA, Colorado Chapter of the Club Managers of America and the Colorado Chapter of the Golf Course Owners Association.

"We brought together the major golf organizations in Colorado to design a survey that evaluated the economic impact of golf operations to the state along with the environmental inputs that are essential to a successful golf business," said Joseph McCleary, certified golf course superintendent at Saddle Rock Golf Course in Aurora, Colo., and president of the Rocky Mountain GCSA. "This study can provide a basis for other states to evaluate their own economic value, use of natural resources and environmental stewardship efforts."

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