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Environmental Outcomes of Participating in the ACSP for Golf Courses

Since 2002, Audubon International has been collecting data on the environmental and financial benefits of good environmental performance from golf courses participating in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.  Here is a snapshot of what our members have reported: 

Chemical Use Reduction and Safety:

  • 82% of ACSP golf course respondents reduced pesticide use

  • 75% reduced pesticide costs

  • 92% used pesticides with lower toxicity levels

Wildlife and Habitat Management:

  • 89% of respondents now choose native plants when landscaping, compared to 49% before joining the program. 

  • The average number of acres devoted to providing wildlife habitat increased by 50%, from 45 acres to 67 acres per course on average.

Water Quality and Water Conservation:

  • 89% of courses that responded had improved their irrigation system or the way that water was applied to the site.  As a result, they saved an estimated 1.9 million gallons of water per year per course since joining the ACSP—totaling over 500 million gallons per year. 

  • 86% of golf course managers and superintendents have increased efforts to monitor water quality.

Participant Attitudes:

  • Nearly 100% of courses surveyed reported increased or maintained golf quality and both golfer and superintendent satisfaction.

The Farm, GA:

  • Converted five acres of rough to low-maintenance areas and removed 14 sprinkler heads, saving 6,048 gallons per water cycle—while also saving money through avoided energy costs and reduced wear-and-tear to the irrigation system.

Old Marsh Golf Club, FL:

  • Reduced annual water consumption from over 112,000,000 gallons in 1988 to less than 50,000,000 in 1999 by taking steps through the ACSP

Hole-in-the-Wall Golf Club, FL:

  • Saves approximately $3,000 annually through reduced use of the irrigation system alone

  • Saves 10 million gallons of water annually

Village Links of Glen Ellyn, IL:

  •  Invested $5,000 towards ACSP projects and realized $30,000 in savings in just two years

Edgewood Country Club, NJ:

  • Saves approximately $10,000 annually on fuel, labor, pesticides, water, and equipment wear and tear from a $4,500 investment in naturalizing areas on their course. 

Carolina National Golf Club, SC:

  • Saves an estimated $15,000 per year from an initial investment of $10,000 to increase naturalized areas by thirty acres

Click here to download the full Environmental Outcomes Report (2000-2001) (PDF) or to download a white paper on this topic, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Voluntary Environmental Performance: 2003 Golf Course Business Value Survey.


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