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Golf’s Outlook: Parched Turf and Water Restrictions

Owners Scramble for Solutions
Many parts of the U.S., particularly California and Nevada, have to conserve water or risk running out of an adequate drinking supply. But golf courses across the country rely on a lush, irrigated turf to attract golfers and ensure an appropriate playing surface. To remain viable, the golf industry is going to have to either dramatically curtail water use, or get the blessing of the government and public to continue its sizeable water usage. With over 16,000 courses in the country, lawmakers and city officials are going to choose thirsty people as a priority over thirsty courses.
"If, as many observers suggest, water is the oil of the new millennium, then golf faces a long and difficult struggle to protect its share,- according to 'Troubled Waters: Golf"s Future in a Thirsty World," a report from the National Golf Course Association Owners in Charleston, South Carolina. The report goes on to say:  "How the industry, historically splintered and new to large-scale campaigning, will fare in that climate is anything but clear.  What is apparent & is a sense that for the game to do nothing is to risk everything.-
The report indicates that golf"s position needs to be communicated to scientists, politicians and the public and "balanced with the ethical consideration that at the end of the day there are things in the life of a community more important than a game.-
NGCOA members can download the comprehensive report without charge from, while the report"s executive summary also will be available free on the site to members and non-members.  Along with property taxes and increasing revenues, water is one of three strategic issues the NGCOA is exploring through reports, webinars, and coverage in Golf Business magazine.
Time Is of the Essence
"The immediate question is whether golf can get its act together soon enough and astutely enough to shape its fate or whether regulators will do so first,- says Dr. Bob Carrow, a University of Georgia professor and water conservation expert. "The window of opportunity for golf to get in ahead of stringent, potentially damaging regulation is closing.- The time to act is now.
The water issue potentially affects anyone affiliated with the industry.  To thwart public criticism that golf is not a good steward of the environment, golf owners need to convince a cross section of stakeholders and influencers of the benefits the business provides.

By Michelle Simmons
Get Golf Jobs, Contributing Editor

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