change your expectations
The Remarks of John Barton
“Golf in America will face a crisis over water. There simply won’t be enough to go around for golf courses to continue to do what they have been doing.”
I have often heard water being called the “new oil” and that some even feel that more wars will be started over water than any other factor in the future. The use of water in semi-arid and arid conditions particularly in the south west of the United States is something that is incomprehensible in the long run. I agree with his assertion that golf may be forced to disappear in places like Las Vegas and Phoenix if those cities continue to rapidly expand while the source of water continues to deplete. Water will simply be too expensive – socially and economically – for golf to exist in the long, long term.
remember that kids play and they are at greater risk
“Can we be sure that the chemicals aren’t harmful?”
One of the great observations brought up in this article is how often that a product was approved by the EPA and then requiring banning after collected evidence proved that a product carried a harmful side effect. I did all the spraying of my parents apple orchard for quite a few years as a teenager and I know what instructions on the bags said and it was enough for me to don the space suit every time out. While we know that today’s chemicals carry a lower toxicity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe or more importantly fully understood yet.
His summary contains a wonderful paragraph that describes where we seem to be headed if this movement truly takes hold – and to be honest I like it.
"As water management becomes scarcer, as organic management practices increase, as environmentalism and environmental legislation start to bite more than they have, as the economy struggles, and as we come to appreciate the aesthetics of golf courses in all their many natural beautiful hues, the way the game looks will change. And the way it plays will change too, with firmer and faster turf demanding a return to shot-making, creativity, the bump and run.”
If you remember my “Future of Golf In Canada” series – you will see that I also drew a similar conclusion after spending almost two months on this subject before writing for the week. The series is here: http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2008/03/future-of-golf-course-architecture-in.html We will be eventually legislated down this road, we will need to change our expectations on what our courses look like and we end up with courses that play a little different than the typical American Parkland layout.
“A Call to Action – What You can Do?”
The sidebar touches on all the key points: get involved, support the golf superintendent through this change, make the personal decisions that have an impact like walking, change your mind about what good conditioning means, and make the changes at home to follow through at all levels of your life. Nothing earth shattering but a good list for someone who is new to this issue. I think the key factor here is if you believe in lower the clubs impact, you must also be vocal and supportive to the superintendent by changing people’s expectations. All the superintendents I know like the idea but fear losing their jobs because the expectations don’t change in the membership. If you want change – you must support them through what will be a very tough time.
“Golf Digest Changes its Views on Conditioning”
This simply talks about the fact that rankings have changed how the raters should rate the conditions of the course. The methodology has been changed to reflect the new approach promoted in this piece. I think the editors are noble – but I’m not as convinced that the rankers will have the same view. Most are single digit handicaps who got that way by caring a great deal about the score they shoot – a bad bounce or bad lie will effect what they think of a course – at least that has been my experience with them.
Could Seminole disappear?
This sidebar talks about how many coastal courses are at risk if the seas rise due to global warming. If someone has proof that the seas are in fact rising please send it through to me. I believe in the principle of reducing our impact hole-heartedly but I have yet to see a definitive proof of this phenomenon that is not based upon a model rather than measurements. If it is true, the notion of losing at least part of courses like Fishers Island, Seminole and the TPC at Sawgrass is depressing.
To Part 3