Minnesota latest state to step up with BMPs for golf courses

The Minnesota GCSA led the development of statewide best management practices with a grant from GCSAA.


Aerial golf course
With more than 500 golf courses and its famous 10,000-plus lakes, recreation and tourism thrive in Minnesota. Photo by Adobe Stock

A collaborative effort by members of the Minnesota GCSA and related organizations in the state and region has resulted in the publication of four manuals focused on best management practices (BMPs) for Minnesota golf courses.

Although the Minnesota BMP initiative began more than nine years ago, the Minnesota GCSA manuals were developed in part using the BMP Planning Guide and Template that was made available last year. The planning guide was created by GCSAA and funded and supported by the USGA.

The Minnesota chapter received an $8,750 BMP grant that GCSAA funded through the association’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), in part by the PGA Tour. The BMP grant program provides funding to chapters through the EIFG for developing new guides or updating existing guides, or for verification programs. GCSAA’s goal is for all 50 states to offer established BMPs by 2020.

Jack MacKenzie, CGCS, executive director of the Minnesota GCSA, says that while superintendents in the state were the drivers of the movement, the project drew the attention of other entities, making the final product a truly collaborative effort.

“It really opened the door to a growing relationship with our allied associations in Minnesota,” says MacKenzie. “The BMPs were the catalyst to get together, and now we meet on a regular basis.”

In addition to the University of Minnesota, organizations that contributed to the BMP initiative included the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Golf Association, the Upper Midwest chapter of the Club Managers Association, the Minnesota chapter of the Professional Golfers Association, and the Midwest chapter of the Golf Course Owners Association.

Of the four documents that encompass the BMPs, the “Best Management Practices Water-Use Efficiency/Conservation Plan for Minnesota Golf Courses” has received particular attention from the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

“Golf is the first industry to really step up and support the Department of Natural Resources’ reaction to a recent judgment against them,” MacKenzie says. “Nine local metro courses met with a representative of the DNR. He put the newly created BMP water document on the table, and he said, ‘This is what we’re working with — this is good.’”

View the Minnesota GCSA BMP documents and learn more about GCSAA’s BMP program.