We have been not so nice to golf courses here at GOOD. This piece, "Green Pastures" called golf courses "water-hogging and pesticide-laden." Another piece in our Neighborhoods issue called out suburban communities for building around little-used golf courses instead of farms. But a new study says that we are wrong:
Swedish scientists found that a large majority (63 percent) of the 200+ golf courses they studied in the UK “were found to have ecological values similar to or higher than nature-protected sites” such as forest areas, state parks, and biological preserves. They concluded that “golf courses play an essential role in biodiversity conservation and ecosystems management.”
So, there you have it. It's certainly likely that the U.K. has rules governing their golf courses that make them better than U.S. golf courses. That would be... par for the course. But if there is no difference, then there is a good chance your golf course is both allowing you to lower your handicap and helping the environment as much as a forest. The question then becomes: What are those 37 percent of golf courses doing wrong, and how do we fix it?
Via The Awl.