As the judicious use of water becomes more important, golf course architects are using their experience in landscape architecture and land planning to help golf course decision-makers understand the options they have for conserving and protecting water resources. So said Doug Carrick, ASGCA, during a recent gathering of leading golf course owners.

“Every golf course should have a long-range plan for water use and conservation, as many do,” said Carrick, ASGCA president. “The cost of water, not to mention the electricity to pump it, is expensive, and in this economy, everyone is looking for ways to trim costs. It is our responsibility as professionals in the golf industry to be good stewards of natural resources.”

The Toronto-based golf course architect said that those in his profession have the experience to preserve the strategy and natural beauty of a layout while developing creative ways to conserve water. “Many ASGCA members are conducting environmental audits for their clients, and others are helping golf courses, particularly in arid regions around the globe, to reduce the amount of turfgrass that is managed on site. In many cases, courses are converting to drought-tolerant turfgrass varieties or incorporating ‘unmaintained areas’ in the golf course that help to reduce water usage,” explained Carrick.

While only a small portion of golf courses in North America use municipal water sources, golf course owners and other decision-makers recognize the need to be good stewards of such a precious resource. That’s why more golf courses are using recycled water, and many others are adding detailed water plans to the long-range master plans for improvement that so many ASGCA members create for their clients.

While the availability of water dominates many conversations about water, Carrick stressed that the quality of water and the protection of natural water resources is just as important as conserving water for irrigation, especially those developing new layouts. “A large percentage of golf courses use recycled water or other sources that are less than perfect,” he noted. “Our members are working with irrigation companies and other innovators in the field to craft solutions for golf courses to be good stewards of this resource and to be good neighbors to the communities in which they reside.”


Founded in 1946 by 14 leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout the United States and Canada. Members have completed a rigorous two-year long application process that includes the peer review of four representative golf courses. ASGCA members are experienced golf course architects, able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling.

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