Complete! Golf course environmental BMPs established for all 50 states

Posted on January 13th, 2021

From sea to shining sea, golf courses can look to the state-specific resources for making environmentally sound decisions and demonstrating stewardship. View all the guides here.

January 12, 2021 | GCM staff

Golf course state BMPs
Three years after launching the initiative to establish golf course best management practices (BMPs) for all 50 states by the end of 2020, GCSAA has announced the project’s successful completion. As of Dec. 31, 2020, each state has published its own BMP guide that outlines golf course maintenance practices that protect and enhance the environment and are tailored to the state’s unique geographic conditions and regulatory climate.

“Our goal to develop BMP manuals across the nation in such a short time frame was ambitious, but we knew these documents were a must as we work proactively with legislators, regulators and communities to demonstrate how superintendents are dedicated environmental stewards,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “This is truly a watershed moment for our members, the game of golf, and the people and wildlife who benefit from the agronomic and environmental practices superintendents engage in every day.”

While the steering committees that led each state’s efforts were made up primarily of GCSAA members, the groups worked closely with others in the golf industry, university faculty and officials from various state agencies to author the BMPs.

To aid the efforts, GCSAA created the BMP Planning Guide and Template to offer a blueprint for the state documents, which address topics such as water conservation and management, nutrient management, waste disposal, integrated pest management, and pollinator protection. The USGA provided funding for the BMP Planning Guide and Template.

GCSAA further assisted the state BMP projects via grants, which were funded in part by the PGA Tour through GCSAA’s philanthropic organization, the Environmental Institute for Golf. The PGA of America, Jack Harrell Jr., and Herbert V. Kohler Jr. also contributed financial support for the creation of the state BMP manuals.

“We are extremely proud of the GCSAA members who gave of their time and talents to spearhead the effort, but it’s a testament to the collaborative nature of the golf industry and the widespread understanding that the benefits of our environmental practices go well beyond the golf course that so many individuals and organizations were involved,” Evans says. “We thank the many volunteers and supporters who helped make this vision a reality.”

Prior to the launch of the initiative in 2017, seven states — Florida, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington — had already developed comprehensive golf course BMPs. These states updated their documents using GCSAA’s new resources.

With the establishment of state BMPs, the initiative will now move on to its next phase: facility BMP manuals. Using the BMP Planning Guide and Template and their state guide, individual golf facilities can create a course-specific BMP manual to direct and document agronomic and environmental practices. Such handbooks also provide an easy, detailed reference to help golfers, lawmakers and community members better understand the operations behind the maintenance of one of their local green spaces.

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine, who contributed the forward to the Maine BMP manual, sees the value of such guides for state residents.

“Maine’s golf courses are gaining wide recognition as a valued recreational resource,” King says. “At the same time, our communities want to know that golf courses are correctly managing their water resources, including protecting valuable wetlands and employing good IPM and nutrient management methods. This manual provides extensive guidance.”

Learn more about GCSAA’s golf course best management practices initiative.

Member of GCSAA