Current Projects

Community Value of Golf Courses Project

Project Webpage

Summary: There are approximately 16,000 golf courses in the United States spread over many ecoregions and within a large variety of social contexts, from urban to rural, from forest to swamp, grassland to desert.  Economically, golf courses contribute billions of dollars collectively to the economy and create jobs for local communities.  Environmentally, golf courses require inputs of water, nutrients and pesticides and can be expensive to maintain. While these immediate, direct costs and benefits are fairly well-understood, the indirect contribution to landscape and the public is not as well-understood and beg the questions:  What are the ecosystem service values of a golf course? And how do the biophysical drivers of ecosystem services also affect enjoyment for golfers and other potential course-users?  Can we evaluate the sustainability of a golf course?

Link to Natural Capital Project

Project Status: Ongoing


Practical Guide for Golf Facilities

Within a golf facility there are a variety of users of information. General managers, club owners, management companies, golf professionals, and superintendents all have different information needs and different ways of receiving and using that information. This project intends to identify the key audiences of a golf facility and develop a map of how they gather, process, use, and share information. This project will explore the various methods for information transfer currently being employed by these audiences, identifying which methods work best for information sharing and information retention.

Audience characteristics will be identified and categorized, resulting in a map of how these audiences use information, where information is gathered, how information is processed, and how information is shared. Precedent industries will be studied for insight into the methods used by other industries to share information. Sources of information for the golf industry will be examined for relevance, accessibility, frequency of use, ease of implementation, amongst other factors.

Once this map is developed, the next step in this project is to examine the modes of sharing information, which forms work best for the greatest retention of new knowledge and the facilitation of change in behavior and practices. The audience map and the understanding of the modes of information sharing will guide the creation of an information sharing framework that intends to guide golf facilities to reduce operating costs, generate revenue/add value, and provide a high-quality golfer experience.

Project Status: Ongoing



Summary: Developing research that focuses on sustainable opportunities is critical for the long-term success of the industry and productivity of the environment. The Science of the Green® initiative focuses on empowering golf facilities and providing the necessary tools to conduct experiments and studies at golf facilities that will provide valuable information on the impacts of golf courses on society and how to improve and strengthen those impacts.

The University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course will be utilized to demonstrate what a GolfLAB® is and how a golf course can become a laboratory for sustainability; focusing on engaging the community, achieving profitable finances, and producing a net positive environmental impact.

Link to University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course

Project Status: Ongoing


Green Speed Study: Impact of golf course management conditions on pace of play

Summary: Agronomic practices are often implicated and are commonly cited as causes for slow play. Consider, as examples, rough mowing height, wet fairways, overgrown no-mow areas in play and excessive number of trees.  However, what is often cited the most for slow playing conditions is fast green speeds.

This study will be conducted nation-wide at 16 sites as coordinated by the Project Director. Initially, data collection will occur on six (6) sites and a summary analysis will be conducted to observe preliminary results and progress before continuing the data collection on the remaining ten (10) sites. The Project Director will have oversight on scheduling, data collection, and analysis.

Project Status: Presentation at the 2017 North American Golf Innovation Symposium, paper in preparation (November 2017)