Montana publishes golf course BMP guidelines

Superintendents in Big Sky Country collaborated with their counterparts in a neighboring state to establish the environmental benchmarks.


Montana golf course
Glacier View Golf Club in West Glacier, Mont., unfolds against the rugged beauty of Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy of Glacier View Golf Club

The Peaks & Prairies GCSA has published Best Management Practices for Montana Golf Courses, a resource for environmental stewardship tailored to the state’s unique geographical conditions.

The Montana 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 Peaks & Prairies GCSA received a $7,500 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 Peaks & Prairies chapter consists primarily of golf course superintendents from both Montana and Wyoming, and members of the chapter also collaborated to create BMPs for Wyoming, which will be published later this year.

The Montana BMPs provide guidance in 12 areas, including golf course planning, design and construction; irrigation; surface water management; and pollinator protection.

Peter J. Grass, CGCS, superintendent at Hilands Golf Club in Billings, Mont., and a past president of GCSAA, led the Peaks & Prairies GCSA BMP Steering Committee.

“One of the biggest challenges for us is the diversity of land types, natural features and weather in Montana,” Grass says. “We go from facilities in high mountains that are snow-covered five to six months of the year to those in dry, open prairie lands.”

Other GCSAA members who served on the committee were Tom Bengtson, superintendent at Glacier View Golf Club, West Glacier, Mont.; Jason Busch, superintendent at The Powder Horn Golf Club in Sheridan, Mont.; Dwayne Dillinger, CGCS, superintendent at Bell Nob Golf Course in Gillette, Wyo.; Dane Gamble, superintendent at Bridger Creek Golf Course in Bozeman, Mont.; Stephen Grass, assistant superintendent at Hilands Golf Club in Billings, Mont.; Rick Hathaway, superintendent at Rock Creek Cattle Co. in Deer Lodge, Mont.; Jory Horsley, assistant superintendent at The Powder Horn Golf Club in Sheridan, Mont.; Jason Lamb, superintendent at Sidney (Mont.) Country Club; Zac Leader, assistant superintendent at Sidney (Mont.) Country Club; Dan Tolson, CGCS, superintendent at The Club at 3 Creek in Jackson, Wyo.; and Garrett Turner, superintendent at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Mont.

The BMPs were reviewed by the Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Northern Plains Resource Council, a grassroots conservation and family agriculture group.

“We really benefited from them being involved,” Grass says. “Their suggestions, being from diverse perspectives and backgrounds, helped make it a much stronger document.”

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