Upping the Green in Golf Course Construction


photo: Axion

Overdevelopment of land and pesticide-laden upkeep has given golf courses a bad wrap over the past decade. Maybe someday people will turn away from the sport but in the mean time it's best to make it less consuming And with water conservation and a more natural approach, some courses are certainly getting better. Most recently, Axion has launched a new division of eco-friendly golf bridges and walkways for courses made from plastic lumber. But how green is plastic lumber anyway?Axion has introduced greener walkways and bridges to be used in the construction of golf courses. First of all, around wetland areas (like the Low Country in my native state of South Carolina), where structures made from treated lumber can do great harm by leaching out the toxic chemicals used in the wood treatment process. Axion materials are toxin-free, so no chemicals are introduced to wetlands or other sensitive areas. The bridges and walkways are made from mostly recycled plastic and don't have to be treated with any chemically-based stain and top layer. While skipping the wood is also good for cutting back on tree consumption, plastic lumber isn't completely innocent either. Lloyd has written before that plastic lumber is the ultimate in downcycling. "Downcycling is when materials come back in their next life as a lower valued product than before." Some plastics are harder to recycle than others, most go into landfill or are incinerated. Landfills and incineration both release pollution and toxins and incineration releases carbon emissions when the materials are burnt. So while there are certainly some positives to the material, especially with regards to saving trees and not releasing chemicals into the wetlands, plastic lumber isn't exactly saintly either.

Other Green Course Features
In light of the eco-issues at hand, golf course maintenance has already gotten a green makeover. For example using other natural methods to eliminate pests including introducing nematodes to kill grubs. Also, courses are more judicious about using fertilizers and pesticides (organic or otherwise) and spot-treating as needed rather than spraying everywhere. Today’s course superintendents try and conserve water by using more efficient watering systems and by using grass that requires less watering.

More on Green Golf:
Kabi Organic Golf Course
Solar Golf Bag Charges Cell Phones
The Rise of Disc Golf: A Greener Alternative to 'Ball Golf'

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