The 2022 American Society of Golf Course Architects Environmental Excellence Awards honorees have been named. Projects from five golf facilities have been cited for their work with ASGCA members in addressing unique environmental challenges. The program is presented by Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply. (photo: Justin Lawson, PGA)
The Environmental Excellence Awards program was introduced in 2019 to recognize innovative work being done at golf facilities to address their environmental needs. Golf course architects work with course owners, operators and managers to positively impact the game and each facility’s host community.
The submissions were reviewed by a panel of golf industry and environmental leaders, including representatives of GEO Foundation, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association.
The recognized courses are:
- Brookline Golf Course, Brookline, Massachusetts/Mark Mungeam, ASGCA
- Columbia Golf Course, Minneapolis/Kevin Norby, ASGCA
- Como Golf Course, St. Paul, Minnesota/Kevin Norby, ASGCA
- Las Piedras, Punta del Este, Uruguay/Thad Layton, ASGCA
- Union League National Golf Club, Swainton, New Jersey/Dana Fry, ASGCA and Jason Straka, ASGCA
“Each of these projects is a testament to the positive impact golf can have on the environment,” ASGCA President Brit Stenson said. “Congratulations to these facilities on their commitment to sustainability and the team effort to improve the environmental landscape. ASGCA thanks Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply for supporting the Environmental Excellence Awards.”
- Brookline Golf Course, Brookline, Massachusetts – Mark Mungeam, ASGCA
The challenges were to increase community use of the golf course site, lower the use of fossil fuels and enhance the natural environment while improving course conditions. This was achieved with improved drainage, the addition of walk paths and native areas, and the addition of solar-powered robotic mowers. The team proposed the removal of culverts and restoration of open waterways on several holes to improve drainage and enhance the environment, and proposed the addition of a new pond to reduce dependence on the town’s potable water.
- Columbia Golf Course, Minneapolis – Kevin Norby, ASGCA
A project jointly funded by the City of Minneapolis, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board served to reduce urban flooding and nutrient runoff and improve ecological function while improving turf quality, playability and maintenance at the course; all while using the course to gather, store and treat large volumes of run-off. The project included construction of a new large-capacity storm sewer system consisting of a infiltration pond and three hydrodynamic separators, and a small existing pond was enlarged to improve drainage and increase storm water storage.
- Como Golf Course, St. Paul, Minnesota – Kevin Norby, ASGCA
To reduce phosphorus run-off and other pollutants from entering Lake Como, two holes were reconstructed to aid in the installation of two new storm water basins and a large infiltration system designed to capture and clean 11 million gallons of runoff from surrounding roads, parking areas and path. Construction of infiltration systems also directly benefited the golf course by improving surface drainage and allowing for the installation of new irrigation; regrassing of fairways and rough; cart path construction and introduction of new forward tees.
- Las Piedras, Punta del Este, Uruguay – Thad Layton, ASGCA
Due to the site’s ecological diversity, the planning process included a commitment to environmental preservation and design restraint. Construction occurred on less than 10% of the overall site area, building only greens, tees, and bunkers. Fairways were established by simply mowing and topdressing existing turf grasses. Wetlands and drainage areas were kept intact, providing uninterrupted corridors for wildlife to enter and exit site. A source of coarse beige sand was located on the ninth fairway and harvested during construction to fill bunkers, top-dress fairways, and build tees.
- Union League National Golf Club, Swainton, New Jersey – Dana Fry, ASGCA, and Jason Straka, ASGCA
A “complete redo” of the 27-hole club included creating large, expansive lakes and wetlands as well as working closely with conservationists and naturalists. Numerous field trips were made throughout the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve to study endemic plants and soil conditions. In the end, more than one million native shrubs, grasses, dozens of wetland plant varieties and trees were brought in from numerous nurseries, conservation seed providers and area farms. The native plants provide habitat, shelter and food for animals, fish, birds and pollinating insects, and help control erosion and limit maintained and irrigated turf.