MU Study Shows Golf Courses Are Eco-Friendly

4 years 6 months 5 days ago Thursday, April 10 2014 Apr 10, 2014 Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:05:00 PM CDT April 10, 2014 in News
By: Harris Chang, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A study from MU researchers shows golf courses may be more helpful to the ecosystem than many people may think.

Click here to see photo gallery.

Curators professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU, Ray Semlitsch, said golf courses have had a bad reputation with environmentalists.

"If you look at the literature on golf courses, historically they get a lot of bad publicity," he said. "It's always been thought that course managers not only clear the land, but they add a lot of chemicals to the environment."

But Semlitsch said experiments showed unexpected results.

"What we found was quite the opposite," he said. "Golf courses can actually provide a wonderful habitat for salamanders and other organisms where they can survive and thrive."

An employee at Columbia's A.L Gustin Golf Course, Jack Knoesel, said advances toward eco-friendly chemicals have helped golf courses keep nature safe.

"I think it was more of an 80's and that time they didn't really think of all this eco-friendly stuff," he said. "But now we do."

Knoesel said the amount of money course managers are willing to spend also affects how eco-friendly a golf course is.

"The big, expensive courses probably use a lot of chemicals," he said. "But the majority of the courses like A.L Gustin, where there really isn't a budget for that don't use as much water or chemicals."

The study suggests courses become more eco-friendly when course managers maintain leaf litter, twigs and unaltered areas between grass and water.

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