2 Site Analysis
Site analysis is the first and most important step in aligning golf course management with research-based BMPs designed to protect water quality. A site analysis describes site maintenance areas, chemical storage and handling practices, equipment cleaning, and other priority areas on the golf course associated with topography and environmental sensitivity. Following this thorough assessment, the feasibility of land use and management BMPs should be considered to ensure reasonable water quality protection.
BMPs can be incorporated into the design for a new course or course renovation. For an existing golf course, the golf course superintendent can undertake a site analysis to identify specific areas of interest to focus the implementation of BMPs. For a new golf course development or a renovation project, the New York State requires that a licensed golf course designer guide the site analysis process to ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Designers and others involved in golf course development are encouraged to work closely with local community groups and regulatory bodies during planning and siting and throughout the development process. For every site, local environmental issues and conditions must be addressed.
2.1 Identify Priority Areas
The site analysis will help to develop a better understanding of how a golf course fits into the landscape, including identifying the facility’s location in relation to its watershed. The site assessment then should identify environmentally sensitive areas for protection such as:
- surface waterbodies
- steep slopes to surface water
- areas with shallow depth to ground water
- critical groundwater recharge zones (especially true for Long Island, due to its sandy soils)
- listed species habitat
- areas with unique geological characteristics, such as karst topography, which leave groundwater vulnerable to contamination
On golf courses, areas that could serve as potential point sources of pollution should be identified as priority areas for water quality protection. Specifically, potential point source pollution can originate as the unintended release of chemicals, such as pesticides, fertilizers, or fuel, during transportation, storage, handling, cleaning, or refueling of equipment. Containment measures can easily prevent chemicals from becoming point sources of pollution, as described in the “Maintenance Operations Maintenance Operations section of this website.
2.2 Establish Management Zones
In order to manage a golf course in an environmentally sensitive and responsible manner, management zones can be established throughout the course. Management zones are defined as areas that have distinct management practices based on the area’s position in the watershed and can be used to protect the priority areas identified in the site analysis. Management zones work hand-in-hand with source prevention BMPs, such as IPM.
2.3 Site Analysis Best Management Practices
Identify Priority Areas
- Evaluate the watershed size to understand drainage needs and appropriate pipe sizing.
- Identify areas on the course that may be prone to leaching (shallow depth to groundwater, sandy soils, etc.) and runoff (steep slopes, etc.)
- Identify any listed species and critical habitat that may be present on the site and then preserve the habitat, as well as the feeding and nesting areas.
- Identify and preserve regional wildlife and migration corridors by avoiding or minimizing crossings. Design unavoidable crossings to accommodate wildlife movement.
- Establish a low- to no-maintenance level within the established buffer along wetlands.
- Establish and maintain riparian buffers around wetlands, springs, and channels.
- Leave riparian buffers unfertilized and in a natural state.
- Install stream buffers to restore natural water flows and flooding controls.
- Install buffers in play areas to stabilize and restore natural areas that attract wildlife species.
- Use turf and native plantings to enhance buffer areas; increase the height of cut if mowing in buffer areas.
- Separate constructed wetlands from managed turf areas with native vegetation or structural buffers.