Golf courses go green

Oregon golf courses take on a whole new shade of green with more sustainable practices.

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The green movement has begun to sprout in golf courses: Properties across the state are adopting more environmentally friendly methods, such as consuming less water and using grass varieties that need less care. The change is meant to save both kinds of green – the environment and money.

It’s become par for the course for golf superintendents to leave dead trees for habitat, encourage native pollinators and maintain wildlife corridors. The courses themselves, often veined with creeks and wetlands, have taken on new roles as community protectors by receiving, storing and controlling storm water. Water hazards — where wayward shots go to drown — double as homes for ducks, geese, turtles and frogs.

Reasons for the change include money and apprehension about being targeted for lawsuits or government regulation. But many golf course superintendents also say sustainability is an ethos that has taken root in settings once known for entitlement, exclusion and manipulation of the environment.

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