Many golf courses live with a horrible, season-long odor near the wash pad that permeates the air with the smell of rotting grass clippings. Not only is this situation unpleasant, it can also create environmental issues if the wash pad is built incorrectly and allows grass clippings to flow into local streams and lakes. Grass clippings can add nutrients into bodies of water, stimulating undesired algae and aquatic weed growth. Water recycling systems work to break down grass clippings and reduce odor, but these systems can be expensive and cumbersome in maintenance facilities already cramped for space.
Paul Stead, certified golf course superintendent at Kennett Square Golf and Country Club, wanted to reduce the amount of water his maintenance department was using to wash equipment and eliminate the overpowering odor of decaying grass clippings near their wash pad. He was looking for ways to construct an affordable wash pad that would improve their working environment while protecting the environmentally sensitive Red Clay Creek that runs through the golf course.
Two new wash pad locations were chosen based on their accessibility. One wash pad was located at the maintenance facility, the other in an out-of-play area on the golf course. The wash pads were constructed with pavers and combined with rain gardens. Rain gardens are small, sunken landscapes that are planted with water-tolerant native plants to help filter and break down wastewater runoff before it reaches a waterway. Rain gardens can also help filter oil and fuel carried by runoff from parking lots and roadways. At Kennett Square, equipment could now be washed in a contained area without unfiltered rinsate entering Red Clay Creek.