Three states establish BMP guidelines for golf courses

Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio have published statewide best management practices with grants from GCSAA. Learn more about and view the new BMP manuals.


Golf course BMPs
Photo by Dan Dinelli

As part of a GCSAA initiative, golf course superintendents and related organizations in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio have developed and published best management practices (BMPs) for golf courses in each of the three states.

The states’ BMPs were created 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.

In addition, GCSAA-affiliated chapters in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio received BMP grants from GCSAA funded in part by the PGA Tour. The BMP grant program administers funding through the EIFG to chapters to develop new guides or update existing guides, or for verification programs. GCSAA’s goal is to have all 50 states offer established BMPs by 2020.

“BMPs are crucial to the future of golf. State-specific best management practices provide superintendents, facility owners, managers, golfers, communities and government agencies with a framework for a sustainable approach to golf course management,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “Thank you to our members and others in Georgia, Nebraska and Ohio for championing the efforts in their states.”

Georgia BMPs

Best Management Practices for Georgia Golf Courses was produced through collaboration between members of the Georgia GCSA and scientists at the University of Georgia. Representatives from each organization lent their time and expertise to develop the BMPs to protect the state’s natural resources.

Georgia has more than 400 golf courses, which provide nearly 57,000 jobs and drive $2.4 billion in economic impact each year. These green spaces also furnish biologically diverse habitats for the state’s unique flora and fauna.

Key components of the Georgia BMPs include nutrient and pesticide usage, erosion and sediment control, water usage, and pollinator protection.

The Georgia GCSA received $15,000 in BMP grants from GCSAA to assist with creation of their document. View Georgia’s BMP manual.

Nebraska BMPs

The development of Best Management Practices for Nebraska Golf Courses was a joint effort of the Nebraska GCSA and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The steering committee for the document included GCSAA members Bill Bieck, CGCS; Steve Merkel, CGCS; Russ Cellar, CGCS; Chad Giebelhaus; Eric McPherson, CGCS; and Ryan Krings. Other members of the committee were Katy Boggs, executive director of the Nebraska GCSA; Bill Kreuser, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Cole Thompson, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

External reviews of the document were provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska State Fire Marshal, the Golf Course Builders Association of America, Roch Gaussoin, Ph.D., of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Jennifer Wemhoff of the Groundwater Foundation, and GCSAA member Casey Crittenden, CGCS.

“Superintendents throughout the state, University of Nebraska scientists, the Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association and the state of Nebraska’s agencies have all reviewed and contributed to this comprehensive effort,” wrote Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts upon publication of the BMPs. “By protecting our natural resources, preserving open space and providing recreational opportunities, Nebraska’s superintendents deserve recognition for their great stewardship of our natural resources. This work will help keep our state growing for years to come.”

GCSAA provided the Nebraska GCSA with $14,500 in BMP grants to assist with the creation of the document. View the Nebraska BMP manual.

Ohio BMPs

Five GCSAA-affiliated chapters — the Central Ohio GCSA, Greater Cincinnati GCSA, Miami Valley GCSA, Northern Ohio GCSA and Northwest Ohio GCSA — worked together to develop Best Management Practices for Ohio Golf Courses. The chapters were assisted by turfgrass scientists and researchers from Ohio State University, and also received guidance from GCSAA Secretary/Treasurer Mark Jordan, CGCS, and golf course architect Michael Hurdzan, Ph.D. The Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Agriculture offered further input.

“This manual is a culmination of efforts between industry, state agencies and academia in Ohio,” Hurdzan wrote in the foreword of the document. “Intuitively it makes sense that the Ohio golf course superintendents should take the leadership role in this massive effort, for they have dedicated their life and career to working cooperatively with the environment and focusing on long-term sustainability.”

Although prepared by superintendents, the Ohio BMPS are not intended exclusively for golf courses, but can be applied to parks, athletic fields, lawns, gardens, government facilities and any other plant-based area.

The Ohio chapters received a $10,000 grant in 2017 to create the BMPs. View the Ohio BMP manual.

Currently, 40 states have completed or are in the process of completing BMPs. View all state BMP documents and learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program.