Kansas publishes BMP handbook for golf courses

Superintendents and scientists have developed environmental stewardship guidelines for the Sunflower State’s 200-plus golf facilities.


Kansas golf course BMPs
One of the country’s most productive agricultural states, Kansas is also rich in scenic golf destinations. Photo courtesy of Golf Digest

The Kansas GCSA, Heart of America GCSA and scientists from Kansas State University have collaborated to publish Best Management Practices for Kansas Golf Courses, a state-tailored guide that covers resource conservation and environmentally sound land management.

The Kansas 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 two GCSAA-affiliated chapters received $10,000 in BMP grants 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.

Kansas’ BMPs are divided into 12 areas of focus: golf course planning, design and construction; irrigation; surface water management; water quality monitoring and management; nutrient management; cultural practices; integrated pest management; pesticide management; pollinator protection; maintenance operations; landscape; and energy.

Matt Gourlay, CGCS, MG, director of golf course operations at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kan., says the BMPs help show how superintendents are doing their part.

“At the local, state and even national level, the BMPs help us tell the story of golf,” Gourlay says. “At the end of the day, golf courses are sustainable and are providing environmental and economic benefits.”

The BMPs for the Sunflower State not only address issues superintendents are currently facing, but also those challenges that may present themselves in the future.

“We were very fortunate this year with rain, but we often face extensive periods of drought, especially in western Kansas,” Gourlay says. “Water is always going to be one of the top issues that the BMPs address.”

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