Adapting BMPs to Fit Your Facility

Through a cooperative approach between the golf industry and friends and neighbors outside the industry, best management practices have been developed that benefit all parties. Because of limitations, such as budget, staff, clientele expectations, and management decisions, not all golf courses can achieve all of the best practices described in the 2nd edition of Best Management Practices for New York State Golf Courses. However, planning for improvements over time and making small changes that meet the goals of BMPs can be achieved.

For example, while a sophisticated washwater recycling system may be too expensive for many facilities, blowing clippings off mowers onto a grassed surface is easily achieved and markedly reduces the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in clippings that end up in washwater. With a bit more of a budget, facilities can utilize the information from the NYS BMP case study on a proto type low cost wash operation that protects water quality at Locust Hill Golf Club in Rochester. Additional case studies of BMPs implemented on golf courses in the state can be found in the Case Studies section of this website.

To adapt BMPs to an individual facility, superintendents should assess their individual site, consider their available resources (such as budget), and understand that implementing BMPs will be an on-going process. In addition, superintendents should consider multiple approaches to achieving BMP goals that can successfully protect natural resources. For example, the following describes an incremental approach to developing a nutrient management program, as published in a previous blog post “Assess and Map Your Soils” and our new publication Nutrient Management Planning for New York State Golf Courses:

  • A good practice is to assess the chemical and physical analysis of your regularly fertilized soils using a Minimum Level for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) Guideline interpretation, as well as looking at overall turf quality and growth, when developing a nutrient management program. Make accurate supplemental nutrient applications to targeted areas of established need.
  • A better practice is to use the Web Soil Survey as a guide to classify and sample all soils on the property using the MLSN interpretation and performance variables (quality and growth). Make supplemental applications of nutrients based on large-scale mapping in targeted areas of well-established needs.
  • The best practice would be to implement a Web Soil Survey-driven sampling program and use appropriate interpretation and performance variables as layers in a GIS database built from the sampling locations. Use this GIS database of soil properties for GPS-based Variable Rate Application equipment for precise supplemental nutrient applications to targeted areas of well-established need.

For more information on how to start your own facility BMP using the GCSAA on-line tool, see our previous blog post on creating a facility BMP.