April 13, 2017

USA Today: 5 Courses that Put Green in Golf

By Annette Thompson, USA Today Green Living Magazine 

The major trend in golf courses these days is a more natural experience. Sure, golfers and course superintendents still want emerald fairways and obsessively tended putting greens. But the more natural the course, the closer the experience is to nature and the more satisfying.

Hundreds of golf facilities across the U.S. are designated as sanctuaries. They limit pesticides, enhance habitats and institute green initiatives such as solar-powered carts and geothermal clubhouses. Many reclaim water, use the natural environment and promote eco-friendly practices to players. That’s a seismic change from the designs and constructions of the post-World War II building boom.

“My grandfather was often called the father of modern golf course architecture,” says Trent Jones, referring to Robert Trent Jones, an English–American golf course architect who is credited with designing or redesigning more than 500 golf courses. “During World War II, bulldozers and heavy machinery were improved. He brought those into course design.”

Courses were carved out of and into landscapes, with well-tended playing areas and roughs; they were maintained with chemicals and earth damaging practices. “Now we’ve come full circle to the Scotland idea of leaving the environment alone,” Jones says. Today, a new generation of minimalist architects has emerged whose courses fit within existing environments.

Here’s how five courses have put green back in golf.


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