Audubon International shares results of golf course survey

Selkirk, NY –Golf courses continue to improved their environmental performance, according to the Audubon International’s 2001 Managed Lands Survey for Golf. The survey, comprised of over 470 of the 2000-plus golf courses enrolled in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for Golf Courses, revealed the following in a few of the key research area:


- When examining Water Quality and Water Conservation efforts, 89% of courses who responded had improved their irrigation system or the way that water was applied to the site. As a result, these golf courses saved an estimated 1.9 million gallons of water per year per course since joining ACSP—totally over 500 million gallons per year. Likewise, 86% of golf course managers and superintendents have increased efforts to monitor water quality.


- In the area of Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, 82% of respondents reduced pesticide use while 75% reduced pesticide costs. Additionally, 92% of respondents used pesticides with lower toxicity levels.


- Efforts to address Wildlife and Habitat Management have been equally effective, with 89% choosing native plants when landscaping, as compared to 49% before joining the program. Likewise, the average number of acres devoted to providing wildlife habitat increased by 50%, from 45 acres to 67 acres per course on average.


- Finally, all of these strides were taken without compromising the quality of the game itself. Nearly 100% of courses surveyed reported increased or maintained golf quality and satisfaction.


“The survey clearly shows that ACSP is helping improve their performance without sacrificing playing quality or golfer satisfaction. It’s also clear that there are areas that golf courses need to improve on, such as the development of pesticide spill containment protocols, the creation of equipment wash-off areas to reduce runoff problems, and the safe removal of exotic, invasive plants,” according to Jean Mackey, Director of Educational Services, Audubon International.


The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf was launched in 1991 in conjunction with the United States Golf Association (USGA). “Golf courses offer a unique open space in the human landscape for wildlife to exist and thrive. Ongoing stewardship actions and education efforts lead to habitat protection, natural resource protection, as well as a reduction in the overall impact of golf management practices on the surrounding ecosystem,” states Joellen Zeh, Staff Ecologist of Audubon International.


The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System (ACSS) educates and encourages landowners and land managers of existing properties to become actively involved in protecting and enhancing wildlife habitats and conserving and sustaining natural resources on their own properties. ACSS Programs designed for golf courses, schools, businesses, and backyards provide conservation assistance and educational support specific to the unique location, resources, and needs of each site. Audubon International provides advice, mentoring, and guidance on how to conduct projects on sites to meet these goals.


For more information, contact Joellen Zeh, ACSS, Audubon International, 46 Rarick Road, Selkirk, NY 12158, Phone: (518) 767-9051, Fax: (518) 767-9076, Email:

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