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Can greens be green?

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Environmental critics of golf courses cite their substantial water consumption (some courses use over 100,000 gallons of water a day); heavy use of pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers; their destruction of natural habitats; and their development of agricultural lands among the reasons why "greens" aren't (environmentally) green

Environmental critics of golf courses cite their substantial water consumption (some courses use over 100,000 gallons of water a day); heavy use of pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers; their destruction of natural habitats; and their development of agricultural lands among the reasons why "greens" aren't (environmentally) green.

However, the Royal Canadian Golf Association, the governing body of amateur golf in Canada, has developed environmental guidelines intended to make golf a more eco-friendly sport. The recommended guidelines for course designers and developers encourage developing courses outside of agricultural zones, minimizing impact on existing ecology and habitat, and protecting water quality. Golf course management should include looking for alternatives to chemical pest control and limiting water use to the needs of plants.

Throughout Canada, more than 25 golf courses have become certified as Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries. To become certified, courses must document environmental stewardship in six areas: environmental planning, outreach and education, wildlife and habitat management, integrated pest management, water conservation, and water quality management. When the golf course has met certification standards in all six categories, it is designated a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary." For more information, visit acssc.ca/golf.htm.

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