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USGA Water Summit


Water Summit art

Golf’s Use of Water: Solutions for a More Sustainable Game was presented by the USGA on November 6th and 7th, 2012. The Water Summit brought together experts from science, government, business, academia and golf to identify and discuss the most challenging issues regarding golf’s use of water. With communities continually working to provide sufficient quantities of safe drinking water, it is understandable that water use for recreational purposes is heavily scrutinized. While golf courses contribute to communities by providing green space, positive economic impact and recreation for those who play the game, it is also true that golf course irrigation is a necessary component of their management. It is the responsibility of golf’s leadership to ensure that our most valuable natural resource is used in the most forward-thinking, responsible manner.


View the full presentations from the Water Summit below.


Proceedings Cover View the full proceedings from the USGA Water Summit.


Veronica Blette | Chief, WaterSense Branch | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2 Veronica Blette

Veronica manages the WaterSense program in the Office of Wastewater Management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to her current position, she served for several years as special assistant to the Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water and also served as the team leader of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

Federal Perspectives on Water and Golf

The presentation will provide an overview of how the EPA, other federal agencies and businesses are looking at potential risks associated with water shortages and lack of access to clean and safe supplies of water. Veronica will describe how WaterSense is promoting more efficient use of water and how the golf industry might address this challenge above and beyond its current efforts.

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Mary Ann Dickinson | President and CEO | Alliance For Water Efficiency  
2 Mary ann Dickinson

Mary Ann is the President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the United States and Canada. She has over 35 years of experience, having worked at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

A National Perspective on Water Issues

Water has emerged as a topic of constant discussion, but what is actually happening with water? Are we really in a water crisis? What are the issues facing local communities and by extension, golf course managers? This presentation will explore a few myths about water and make recommendations for positive action in the future.
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Mark Esoda | CGCS - Golf Course Superintendent | Atlanta Country Club, Georgia
2 Mark Esoda

Mark has been the golf course superintendent of Atlanta Athletic Club for 23 years. He is a past president of the GGCSA, current president of the Georgia State Golf Association Foundation, and a member of the Georgia State Golf Association Executive Committee.

Starting With an Open Hand: Working With Regulators and Legislators

When dealing with regulators, most industries tend to do the minimum to meet compliance issues and then attempt to stay under the radar. To handle legislative issues the public tends to protest or “Occupy Downtown.” There are different and likely even better, ways to affect policy.

Regulators want help doing their jobs. Golf also has a public perception problem. In Georgia, we had to ask the hard question: “What can we do to help conserve water that proves we are good managers/stewards of the resource?” Change is difficult but the golf industry stepped up to prove the world wrong using a self-policing BMP program, stepping up to work with agencies on various committees and introducing educational pieces. The result is increased positive awareness and improved water conservation.

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Greg Lyman | Director of Environmental Programs | GCSAA
2 Greg Lyman

Greg has served as the Environmental Programs Director for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America since 2003. He works with golf industry stakeholders, scientists and environmental groups as an advocate of positive environmental progress for the golf industry. He is a frequent speaker, panelist and source to media, legislative and regulatory bodies.

How Much Water Does Golf Use and Where Does It Come From?

The Golf Course Environmental Profile conducted by the GCSAA is a project dedicated to collecting data from the United States on the property features, management practices and inputs associated with golf courses. This presentation will feature information on irrigation water use patterns, water sources, costs, conservation practices and irrigation system infrastructure. Future water use trends and recommendations will also be discussed. This project was funded through support from the Environmental Institute for Golf.

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Doug Bennett | Conservation Manager | Southern Nevada Water Authority
2 Doug Bennett

Doug has more than 24 years of professional experience relating to water management. As the Conservation Manager for the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas, he oversees one of the most comprehensive water conservation programs in the United States.


Lean and Green: Water Efficiency in the Las Vegas Golf Industry

Las Vegas is home to some of the finest desert golf courses in the nation. A crippling 12-year drought on the Colorado River has challenged water supplies for this fast-growing city, requiring officials to make dramatic changes to water use policy. Since 2003, area golf courses have operated under a water budgeting policy that assures greater efficiency, while sustaining a high quality golf experience. Since the inception of drought, 30 golf courses have converted more than 40 million square feet (918 acres) of non-essential turfgrass to water-efficient landscape designs. Collectively, these conversions are saving more than 2.2 billion gallons of water annually.

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Chris Hartwiger | Director | USGA Course Consulting Service
Chris Hartwiger

Chris is located in Birmingham, Ala., and oversees the USGA's Course Consulting Service. He conducts visits in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee with the goal of helping superintendents develop the best management program possible for their location.

Maintenance Up The Middle: Great Golf and Water Conservation are not Mutually Exclusive.

The enjoyment of golf is shared by many and can last a lifetime. As social, environmental and economic realities shift, the way golf courses are maintained will advance. The changes in the perception and the use of water resources on golf courses can serve as a catalyst to promote maintenance up the middle which, in turn, will lead to a more enjoyable and affordable game.

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Pat Gross | Director | USGA Green Section, West Region
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Pat is the Director of the West Region, working in the Southern California office. He joined the Green Section staff in December 1991. His primary responsibility is sharing practical information on golf course maintenance issues to courses in California and Mexico through the Course Consulting Service.


Case Studies in Water Use Efficiency in California

This presentation provides practical examples of how golf courses in California implemented programs to reduce water use. Three courses are highlighted that took effective yet different approaches. Specific examples include turf reduction projects, conversion to lower water use grasses along with a voluntary reduction in water use, and effectively dealing with mandatory cut-backs through the LADWP Golf Water Task Force.

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Dr. Ali Harivandi | Environmental Horticulturist | University of California - Davis
2 Ali Haravandi

Ali, a regional advisor specializing in Turf, Soil and Water, joined the University of California Cooperative Extension in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980. He has served as a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s Technical/Resource Advisory Committee, and is currently serving on the United States Golf Association’s Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee.

Irrigation Puzzle: Sourcing Water For Golf Courses

The most important issue facing the golf industry worldwide is water, or lack of it! Population increases and drought have resulted in golf courses successfully converting from potable to recycled water for irrigation. The golf industry has already overcome, through excellent educational outreach, the negative stereotype of irrigation with recycled water, and consequently, golf courses increasingly turn to the use of recycled water. The primary question has become not whether to switch to recycled water irrigation, or even how to manage irrigation with this new source, but how soon an individual course can access a recycled water source.

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Dr. Mike Kenna | Director of Research | USGA Green Section
2 Mike Kenna

Mike has been Director of USGA Green Section Research since February 1990. He oversees the USGA’s turfgrass and environmental research activities, including soliciting and evaluating research proposals, grant making and development of cooperative funding with government and commercial sources.

Research Accomplishments to Meet The Present and Future Water Use Needs of Golf

Almost 30 years ago, the USGA organized the Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committee with the primary purpose to develop minimal maintenance turfgrass cultivars that conserve water, as well as tolerate temperature extremes, salinity and pests. With the USGA providing more than $30 million in financial support of universities, new cultivars were introduced, water use efficiency was improved, and new irrigation technology was developed. More importantly, this program redirected university research to focus on water conservation, while improving the adaptation and management techniques of the turfgrasses used on golf courses.

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Tim Hiers | Golf Course Superintendent | Old Colliers Golf Club, Florida
2 Tim Hiers  

Tim has been a golf course manager since 1976. He is currently the Director of Agronomy at The Old Collier Golf Club and Senior Agronomist and Vice President for Turf Dynamics, LLC.

Irrigating With A Toxin

Water quality and quantity are major challenges for golf courses in Florida. At Old Collier, we have taken the unique approach of converting to turfgrass that uses a water supply previously thought unsuitable for fine turf. However, the use of this water brings new challenges that must be overcome to make this a viable, long-term solution for the golf industry.

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Brian Whitlark | Agronomist | USGA Green Section, West Region
2 Brian Whitlark

Brian joined the Green Section staff as an agronomist in 2008 and makes Course Consulting Service visits in Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico, working with Regional Director Pat Gross. Brian is a certified professional soil scientist and has worked extensively with golf courses facing challenging soil and water conditions.

Water Use Efficiency Techniques from the Southwestern United States 

This presentation highlights water conservation strategies used by turf managers in the southwestern United States. Practical examples include irrigation redesign and upgrading nozzle technology, modifying irrigation programming, improving soil properties, utilizing new soil moisture sensing technologies and converting to recycled water.

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2 Henry Delozier

2 Hinckley


Henry Delozier | Principal | Global Golf Advisors

Henry Delozier is a Principal in Global Golf Advisors, an international consultancy serving the investment banking, real estate development and golf asset ownership and operations business segments.

Jim Hinckley | President and CEO | Century Golf Partners

Prior to forming Century Golf Partners, Jim Hinckley had a 32-year career with ClubCorp, Inc., serving the last seven years as president. In 2005, he acquired WMC, formed Century Golf Partners and, together with his partners, acquired two golf portfolios in the aggregate 40 golf courses and acquired the Arnold Palmer Golf Management brand.

Water Impact on Golf Development and Operations

From entitlements and permits to direct operating expenses, water influences the economic development and operations of golf facilities in several ways. Specifically, Jim and Henry will address the key financial indicators influenced by water and best management practices for facility development and operations. You will hear a brief forward-look at emerging trends related to the use and misuse of water in golf facilities.

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Karen Guz | Director of Conservation | San Antonio Water System
2 Karen Guz

Karen is the Director of Conservation at San Antonio Water System. Her department is responsible for working with customers to acquire one billion gallons of water each year through proactive conservation education and incentive programs.

Making Hard Decisions About Hard Times: Benefits of Proactive Drought Planning

Texas has experienced extreme weather conditions in recent years with drought restrictions present in some areas for three out of the last four years. In areas where drought management plans had never been used, 2011 caused them to be dusted off and given a strong reality check. This now presents the opportunity to have realistic discussions about how to manage and conserve water every year to minimize drought impacts and how to manage the extreme droughts we know may come. The challenge is to balance the need to secure water for health and human safety, the need to manage water costs, and the need to have economic security for industries that depend on water as part of their business. Thoughtful planning and proactive programs are needed and can avert many of the negative consequences of poor drought planning and implementation.

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Dana Lonn | Managing Director | Center For Technology, The Toro Company
2 Dana Lonn

Dana joined The Toro Company in 1974 and has been a valuable resource in Product Engineering, Computer Aided Engineering and Manager of Advanced Engineering. In his current role as Managing Director of the Center for Advanced Turf Technology, Dana is responsible for leading a corporate research and development group working on the next generation of products and technologies, and how to apply them to the marketplace.

Shifting Watering Decisions From Art to Science

Using water efficiently is a tough problem. We are trying to replace a perfect irrigation system in natural rainfall with an artificial process. With limited supplies of water, we must be certain that we are using water where, when and how much is needed. Accomplishing this goal drives us to utilize science and technology. We need more control and feedback to aid people in making decisions that optimize performance and minimize inputs.

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Bob Farren | Director of Golf Courses and Grounds Management | Pinehurst, LLC
2 Bob Farren

Bob began working at Pinehurst in 1982 as assistant superintendent of Course No. 4 and is now Director of Golf Courses and Grounds at Pinehurst.

Uncovering The Past To Find Our Future

In March 2010, Pinehurst embarked upon perhaps one of the boldest golf course restoration projects ever undertaken. The firm of Coore/Crenshaw was challenged with recovering or uncovering the aspects of Pinehurst No.2 that made it one of Donald Ross’ greatest designs. After a great deal of research it became apparent that the majority of the changes to the course design and strategy could be attributed to, in one way or the other, the automation and expansion of the irrigation systems to support numerous acres of turf. The project resulted in a reducing the total acres of irrigated turf from 90 acres to 50. The total number of irrigation heads has been reduced from 1150 to 450. The “old school” center line irrigation in the fairways now determines the strategic lines of the course. The turf quality and resiliency is far more predictable the closer you are to the center of the otherwise expansive fairway lines.

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Bill Love | President | WR Love Inc.
Bill Love

Bill is the President of the firm WR Love Inc. offering land planning and golf course design, as well as principal of the firm Love & Dodson LLC providing sustainability planning and consulting services.

Designing Golf Courses For Water Conservation

How can golf courses be more sustainably designed to use less water? This presentation includes an examination of the issues impacting golf course design and the management of water resources. Water conservation on golf courses begins by addressing the issues of resource management and conservation throughout the design process for new golf courses and the renovation of existing facilities.

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Rick Robbins | President | Robbins and Associates International
2 Rick robbins

Rick has been designing courses with his firm, Robbins & Associates International, since 1991.

Golf Course Water Use - An International Perspective

Rick will present information about the relationship between golf course development and water use in China. This is a subject that has many implications for Chinese social and political culture. Water use and water quality as affected by golf development in the past and some ideas for improving this relationship in the future will be discussed.

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