California Golf Courses Are On The Defensive

When you think of California Golf Courses, you don’t picture playing a round of golf on dry, patchy hills and no one to be found?

With nearly 900 courses throughout the state, golf brings in a substantial amount of money. It makes a significant economic impact.

To preserve their stature in such arid conditions, California golf courses are on the defensive.

California golf courses hope that with cooperation, water restrictions will work in their favor and allow them to maintain their well-manicured appeal.

The California Golf Course Owners Association (CGCOA) released a statement in defense of the importance of the golf industry even in dire drought conditions.

“We urge water providers to respond to the Governor’s Order in a manner that strikes a balance between the need to conserve and the need to maintain course conditions that preserve the benefits of golf courses to their communities”.

Even while distributing resources to almost 900 courses, golf courses are responsible for less than 1 percent of the state’s water usage.

A total of 128,000 workers not only depend on the success of the various courses for their livelihood but also create “a statewide economic impact exceeding $13 billion,” CGCOA stated.

CGCOA urges courses to continue to use innovative techniques in order to keep operations going and relationships with government officials friendly. With one-third of courses already using reclaimed water, the release stated that efforts will be made to increase the number of courses using the alternative source.

Reclaimed water, or recycled water, has long been used for landscaping, agriculture and for maintaining golf courses across the country.

“Unfortunately, a lack of infrastructure to the courses stands in the way, as does, in some cases, bureaucracy,” Marc Connerly, CGCOA executive director, said. “For example, we currently are trying to assist a course that has the infrastructure to a reclaimed water source but cannot connect to the reclaimed water source because the state agencies regulating water quality are creating roadblocks.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, wastewater is recycled in a more efficient, less expensive manner to be used for non-consumption purposes like golf greens.

Gov. Brown called out golf courses in his April 1 executive order, stating that commercial and industrial properties must “immediately implement water efficiency measures to reduce potable water usage.”

However, the degree of such measures was not specified, only stating that it must be an amount consistent with the 25 percent reduction in urban potable water.

“There will come a point at which revenue will be lost,” said Connerly, noting conditions will vary from course to course.

Courses have implemented a plethora of scientific and strategic water-reducing efforts which include the following:

  • In-house weather stations.
  • Scheduled waterings.
  • Reducing sprinklers from full-circle to part-circle.

Various resolutions have already been put into operation.