Assistance for Golf Courses
Montgomery County Conservation District can provide technical assistance for golf courses to improve their management practices and to implement projects to protect streams. We would be happy to schedule a site visit to walk the course.
Montgomery County Conservation District
The Green: Golf Course Conservation
Golf Course Conservation Presentation to 2017 Eastern PA Turfgrass Conference
PA Environmental Council and Land Studies
Golf Course Water Resources Handbook of Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Environmental Management Practices for Golf Courses
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
Environmental Profile: Water Use and Conservation Practices on U.S. Golf Courses
Environmental Institute for Golf
BMP Performance Goals
Best Management Practices for New York State Golf Courses
PA Department of Environmental Protection
PA Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual
Penn State Extension
Don’t Guess…Soil Test
Interested in planting trees on your course? Our TreeVitalize Watersheds grant program might be able to fund your project.
Looking for funding for stormwater management practices, or stream improvement projects? Check out the funding opportunities below:
Potential Environmental Impacts & Solutions
There are about 55 golf courses in Montgomery County, comprising more than 8000 acres of land being heavily managed, mostly as turf.
The concern with turf is that it does not create much organic matter in the soil, and shallow roots do very little to hold soil in place, allowing for erosion. Many turf areas are also heavily compacted, which allows rain water to run off instead of soak in. This creates flooding and pollution problems downstream. These factors combine to create poor soil health. To compensate for this, chemical fertilizer is added to keep courses green and playable. However, improper application times, rates, and proximity to streams threaten our waterways with nutrient pollution, leading to algae blooms and fish kills.
Solutions to these problems include soil testing before fertilizing to prevent over-application, reducing mowing in rough or out-of-play areas, and implementing setbacks from waterways to ensure fertilizers and other chemicals do not enter the stream. These best management practices will be easy on the environment and on your budget!
In Montgomery County, 32 miles of stream flow through golf courses. The majority of these streams do not have an adequate streamside buffer, and half of them have no buffer at all.
Streamside buffers are the vegetated areas along the stream corridor that serve to hold stream banks in place, process pollution before it can get to the stream, shade the water for fish, and provide leaf litter to support aquatic communities. Trees are best along a stream, and a width of 50 feet or more is preferred, but ANYTHING is better than nothing!
Simply seeding these areas with deep-rooting, native perennials to mow once a year, and adding some small shrubs to stabilize banks will provide huge benefits! Not only will the water quality in your stream or pond improve, but your maintenance tasks will be reduced, since there will be less bank erosion and fewer areas to mow.
To see the locations of golf courses in Montgomery County, please visit the County Planning Commission’s map gallery by clicking here, and select the “Golf Course” tab.
Financial and other support for this project was provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.