Delaware publishes golf course best management practices

With a portion of the state within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, water quality is a primary component of the Delaware BMPs.


Baywood Greens
The ninth hole on the Duneside course (currently being constructed and grown in) at Baywood Greens in Long Neck, Del. The tall grasses are a mixture of hard and sheep fescue along with some little bluestem and broomsedge bluestem, which are native to the area. These naturalized areas are mowed only once or twice per year and receive no fertilizer or irrigation inputs. Photo courtesy of Baywood Greens

A collaborative effort by members of the Eastern Shore GCSA and scientists from the University of Delaware has resulted in the publication of Best Management Practices for Delaware Golf Courses.

The Delaware BMPs were developed in part using the BMP Planning Guide and Template from GCSAA, which was funded by the association’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) through support from the USGA.

The Eastern Shore GCSA received a $10,000 BMP grant from GCSAA, funded in part by the PGA Tour. The BMP grant program administers funding through the EIFG to GCSAA-affiliated chapters for developing new guides or updating existing guides, or for verification programs. GCSAA’s goal is to have all 50 states offer established BMPs by 2020.

The Delaware BMP document covers the use of nutrients and pesticides, pollinator protection, erosion and sedimentation, and more, and it places special emphasis on water quality, which is particularly vital for the state’s golf courses that are located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

William Reil, president of the Eastern Shore GCSA and superintendent at Gibson Island (Md.) Club, says the BMPs help demonstrate how superintendents are doing their part to protect natural resources.

“As superintendents, we want to make sure that we are following the laws,” says Reil, a 17-year GCSAA member. “Having the BMPs are big not just for Delaware, but for the Mid-Atlantic region. It shows that we care.”

GCSAA members who were on the Delaware BMP steering committee included Reil; John Jacob, superintendent at Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del.; Greg Thomas, superintendent at The Rookery Golf Club in Milton, Del.; Jamie Palokas, superintendent at Baywood Greens in Long Neck, Del.; and Jonathan Urbanski, director of golf courses and grounds at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club.

In addition to the University of Delaware, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Department of Agriculture also contributed to the project.

“It’s very important having everyone come together to show that our business is on board to make sure we are being stewards,” Reil says. “Having the university put their stamp of approval on it is big for the state for sure.”

View all state BMP documents and learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program.