California publishes best management practices for golf courses

The guide — a product of all six of GCSAA’s California chapters — speaks to the Golden State’s immense geographic diversity and complex regulatory environment.


The Olympic Club
From coasts to deserts, mountains to metros, California’s catalog of golf courses is more than 850 strong. Shown is The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Photo by David Phipps

The California GCSA has, along with representatives from five other organizations in the state, published California Golf Course Industry Best Management Practices Guide, a resource for efficient, environmentally sustainable management of the state’s golf facilities in keeping with regional needs and regulatory concerns.

The California BMP steering committee included superintendents from all six regional GCSAA chapters in the state: the GCSA of Central California, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA, GCSA of Northern California, San Diego GCSA, Sierra Nevada GCSA and GCSA of Southern California.

“It was important that we all came together to develop a document that was as diverse as California,” says Gary Ingram, CGCS, chairman of the California BMPs steering committee and superintendent at Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland, Calif. “The overall goal is to use this template to help develop facility BMPs. The development of the document emphasizes how we are truly environmental stewards and our how our facilities make a positive impact on our communities.”

The BMPs have 18 areas of focus that range from more universal topics such as pollinator protection and energy conservation to targeted topics such as seaside golf and golf courses constructed on former landfills.

California’s BMPs were developed in part using the BMP Planning Guide and Template from GCSAA, which was funded by the association’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) through support from the USGA.

The California GCSA received an $15,000 BMP grant from GCSAA, funded in part by the PGA Tour. The BMP grant program administers funding through the EIFG to GCSAA-affiliated chapters for developing new guides or updating existing guides, or for verification programs. GCSAA’s goal is to have all 50 states offer established BMPs by the end of 2020.

Those who served on the California BMPs steering committee included:

• Gary Ingram, CGCS, chairman of the committee and superintendent at Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland, Calif.

• Jim Abate, director of international and TPC agronomy for the PGA Tour

• Jim Ferrin, CGCS, superintendent at Timber Creek Golf Course at Sun City Roseville in Roseville, Calif.

• Pat Gross, regional director of the USGA Green Section’s West Region

• Ali Harivandi, Ph.D., environmental horticulturist emeritus, University of California Cooperative Extension

• Josh Heptig, superintendent at San Luis Obispo County Parks

• Jeff Jensen, GCSAA field staff representative for the Southwest region

• Glenn Mathews, CGCS, superintendent at Visalia (Calif.) Country Club

• Nathan Radwick, director of golf course management at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.

• Jim Schmid, director of golf course operations at The Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert, Calif.

• Terry Vassey, Ph.D., former superintendent at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.

• Kurtis Wolford, superintendent at Woodbridge (Calif.) Golf and Country Club

• Vince Zellefrow, superintendent at El Camino Country Club in Oceanside, Calif.

• Jim Baird, Ph.D., turfgrass specialist at the University of California, Riverside

• Maggie Reiter, University of California Cooperative Extension adviser

• Marc Connerly, executive director of the California Golf Course Owners Association, Hi-Lo Desert GCSA, GCSA of Northern California and GCSA of Southern California

• Irene Cline, executive director of the California GCSA, Central California GCSA and Sierra Nevada GCSA

In addition to the state and regional GCSAA chapters, other groups involved in the development of the BMP guide were the California Alliance for Golf, California Golf Course Owners Association, Southern California Section of the PGA of America, Southern California Golf Association, and Blankinship & Associates Inc., an environmental and engineering firm who oversaw the project development and management.

View all state BMP documents and learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program.