Environmental Initiatives In The Florida Region - August 2012

By Todd Lowe, senior agronomist, Florida Region
August 31, 2012

Protecting the golf course environment is a major focus of the USGA Green Section. The Florida Region is keenly aware of important environmental issues, as counties like Pinellas, Sarasota and Collier (just to name a few), are considering increasing restrictions on the turfgrass industry. Some experts feel these restrictions may actually cause more environmental harm in the long run from processes like increased leaching and lake bank erosion. Golf courses are havens for wildlife and we must continue to promote sound agronomic programs to enhance these environmental features.  

The USGA Green Section Florida Region has been assisting several allied associations including the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association (FGCSA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), University of Florida (UF) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) over the past six years in developing the Best Management Practices for Enhancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses. The first manual was printed in 2007 and has been an excellent resource for golf course superintendents in our region. Phase II of the program was developed this past year and includes individual certification, through a series of lectures and exams from the information within the manual. 

The BMP certification is currently voluntary and is administered through the FGCSA. The first certification program took place on July 25th at the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research & Education Center in Wimauma, Fla. with nearly forty attendees. It included a full day of lectures from turfgrass professionals and university professors and concluded with three exams. This program will be given several times each year with the next one taking place on September 26th at the annual Florida Turfgrass Association Conference

Rounds 4 Research is a GCSAA program designed to generate funding of various university turfgrass research programs. This program has been quite successful in other regions like South Carolina, which raised over $350,000 in three years. With many university turfgrass programs experiencing cutbacks in state funding they are looking more to industry for support. Rounds 4 Research allows individual golf courses to help in this effort by donating foursomes for an online auction. The GCSAA would like rounds to be submitted over the next two weeks for the launch of this program. To learn more about this program visit the Rounds 4 Research website. 

Source:  Todd Lowe, tlowe@usga.org or 941-828-2625

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