Seven simple things golf courses (and you) can do to help the environment

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Golf might be the sport that brings us the closest to nature, but is it really that Eco-friendly? On Earth Day, we decided to look at some simple ways that golf courses, and you the golfer, can change the way we do things to help the environment, trying to find things that aren't overly complicated to help the game we love sustain the planet we inhabit.

Make recycling available everywhere — When I got out of college back some years ago, I went to work at a high-end golf course that prided itself on the golfer's experience. That was all well and good, but one of the things that bugged me the most was that the course didn't recycle. Think about the trash in your golf cart anytime you finish playing 18 holes. It's beer cans, water bottles and cardboard sleeves for the golf balls you used or lost. The majority of things we golfers want to throw away after 18 holes on the golf course can be recycled, but we shouldn't just stop when people finish their rounds. Have recycle bins on the golf course, so when people do want to clean out their carts, they can do so while not tossing away things that don't need to be in the trash.

Electric golf carts over gas carts — The easy solution to all of this is walking 18 holes instead of taking a golf cart, but I'm trying to be realistic here as we still live in the United States and golf carts are available at pretty much any golf course you visit.

Gas carts give off a ton of emissions, even being banned in some parts of California because of this issue. Sure, the batteries in an electric cart have to be replaced, but they are better on the environment than gas and would help to curb unnecessary pollution on the golf course.

Don't overseed the rough — I live in Arizona, and right when the weather starts to turn in the fall every golf course goes under major overseeding. The problem here is, while beautiful, overseeding forces courses to use tons of water. No course is going to stop overseeding, especially during their most lucrative seasons, but why not leave the rough dormant for the winter? It would allow the course to use a lot less water, a lot less electricity to power those sprinklers, and if you hit it in the rough, you probably deserve a gnarly lie.

Xeriscaping as much as possible — Again, in Arizona there is benefit to not having a lavish lawn, because growing grass here is not the easiest of propositions. Target golf is a perfect example of growing, and maintaining grass, only where you need it, and xeriscaping around a golf course means using rocks and natural vegetation over the troubles of growing grass everywhere.

Push Dixon golf balls on beginners — A beginning golfer could care less about what type of golf ball they play. They've probably heard of a Titleist once or twice, but as long as it's round they are good. Why not push Dixon golf balls on beginners, as these golf balls are biodegradable and could drastically cut down on the litter that errant golf shots cause?

Bring your own bottle to the course — Sure, golf courses don't want you stuffing a six-pack of beer in your golf bag to avoid the inflated concession pricing, but I've never had anyone tell me I couldn't bring my own water bottle with me on the course. Bring your own (preferably one you can reuse), and fill it up with the water that the golf courses provide between holes. This cuts down on waste, and also cuts down on how much you're spending while you play.

Be more like Justin Timberlake — Just check out all the stuff his golf course, Mirimichi, does to be as green as possible.

Now your turn ... what are some simple solutions you think could help keep our game as green as possible?

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