Environmental BMPs bolster advocacy efforts

Facility BMPs help superintendents elevate their career and commit to sustainability.


BMP tour at a golf course in Orlando
Joshua Kelley, director of grounds at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club - Grande Lakes Orlando leads an interactive facility tour on BMPs at the 2023 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando. Photo by Tyler Stover

Best Management Practices (BMPs) provide science-based guidelines for managing golf courses in a manner that minimizes impacts on the surrounding environment. In 2020, GCSAA successfully spearheaded an initiative to develop statewide BMPs guidelines in all 50 states. Once the state BMPs were established, the initiative moved on to the next phase with creation of facility BMP manuals.

Using the GCSAA Planning Guide, individual golf facilities can use their state guides to create a BMP manual specific to their course. Facility BMP manuals not only direct and document agronomic and environmental practices, but they provide an easy, detailed reference for golfers, lawmakers and community members to better understand the operations behind the maintenance of one of their local greenspaces.

A facility BMP can also help superintendents elevate their professional reputation at their facility while strengthening golf’s position when securing the valuable resources necessary to succeed at the job.

In addition, BMPs have become a vital advocacy tool, whether on the federal level like during National Golf Day or on the state or local level.

GCSAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Field Staff Representative Katrin Wolfe recently wrote about the effectiveness of BMPs during Virginia’s state lobby day.

“At the forefront were two bills under consideration: one concerning water well usage and another addressing handheld gas-powered equipment. These legislative debates underscored the pivotal role BMPs play in advocacy efforts, but their value transcends regulatory matters,” Wolfe wrote.

In addition, the establishment of BMPs have also played a key role in the growing relationship between GCSAA and the U.S. EPA. In 2022, GCSAA and the EPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding that enhances their joint commitment to share information on environmental issues, best practices and industry challenges to promote best management practices on golf properties to protect and enhance the environment.

On April 15, the US Naval Academy Golf Course played host to 40 state and federal government officials for a BMP-focused tour. Government Affairs Committee member Eric David, CGCS at Naval Academy Golf Course hosted the tour, and other members of the Mid-Atlantic AGCS were in attendance. The tour included four stations with information on turfgrass types and buffer zones; irrigation and water sources; wildlife habitat and more. The tour was well received, and the EPA would like to do more tours in the future to help educate regulators who make decisions that impact golf facilities.

Because the implementation of golf course BMPS benefits everyone in the community that a golf course serves, they will continue to be an integral tool of advocacy efforts, and the more courses that complete facility BMPs, the powerful that tool becomes.

If you have not completed your facility BMP, visit gcsaa.org/bmp to get started.

Angela Hartmann is GCSAA's director of communications.