January 14, 2021 - Earlier this month, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Jersey created "The New Jersey Golf Industry Best Management Practices" guide (BMP), which covers all aspects of course maintenance with a focus on sustainability and protecting the environment as foundations for its use.

To shelter the environment in a state featuring vast differences in topography, one of the BMP guide's main goals is preserving natural resources for years to come. Golf courses that follow these standards would exercise the most current means of sustainability.

Members of the GCSANJ are golf course superintendents who are committed to providing golfers and communities with the best playing conditions while at the same time acting as stewards of the environment.

"This guide is specific to New Jersey. It is part of a nationwide GCSAA initiative that all 50 states would create a guide pertinent to their state's needs. Our guide is based on New Jersey and the practices to achieve sustainability on our golf courses," said Maureen Sharples, Executive Director of GCSANJ.

The guide provides an overview of the 10 best management practices (BMPs) in golf course maintenance to support conservation while delivering ideal course conditions. The BMP guide provides guidelines for superintendents and acts as a resource for stakeholders, including regulators, lawmakers, general managers, and local communities.

The performance statements are broad-based and encompass the entire golf facility, including management of turfgrass, landscape, environmental resources, buildings, and operations. They provide golf facilities resources from which to evaluate their current operations.

The goal is to employ this state guide to develop individual golf facility BMPs to implement change and operate in continual improvement. The GCSAA, supported by the USGA and PGA TOUR, started the nationwide initiative by providing a base template.

According to Mark D. Johnson, the GCSAA's Associate Director for Environmental Programs: "Every state in the United States now has science-based BMP manuals that will help GCSAA, GCSAA chapters, and other allied organizations better advocate for the inputs and resources that superintendents need to produce healthy and quality playing surfaces for the game. These essential agronomic and environmental BMP manuals document and demonstrate the professional golf course and other land management practices used in golf.

"These BMPs are the 'universal' and highly recognized practices that many scientists, regulators, conservation organizations, etc., use to ensure environmental protection. Completing BMPs in all 50 states will help ensure the game's future and, specifically, golf course management. The golf course industry is leading the way as environmental stewards with the BMP initiative," Johnson stated.

He also noted that the BMPs developed within all 50 states go beyond environmental compliance and extend protection for all watersheds and help promote the valuable greenspace golf has within their communities.

"BMPs document how golf helps to ensure water quality, reduce energy consumption, protect pollinators, and more. Golfers and others must understand that golf courses are valuable greenspaces, and BMPs help demonstrate just that.

"All 50 states having BMP manuals is a significant accomplishment, a worthy investment that will have a solid return regarding future environmental policy, regulation, etc., as well as for the image of the industry and game. Now every golf course can have a facility BMP manual that incorporates the agronomic and environmental practices pertinent to their environment and circumstances, and superintendents will be able to use that document for success," Johnson concluded.

The development of the "New Jersey Golf Industry Best Management Practices" was made possible by the GCSANJ BMP Committee and scientists at Rutgers University. The committee members included:

 • Jeremy Hreben, CGCS, BMP Committee Chairman, Superintendent, Indian Spring Golf Course

 • Darrell Marcinek, CGCS, Director of Golf Maintenance, Somerset County Parks Commission

 • Brandon Perrine, Superintendent, Deerwood Country Club

 • Michael Tardogno, Superintendent, Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West

 • Matthew Castagna, Superintendent, TPC Jasna Polana

 • Dr. James A. Murphy, Extension Specialist, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and Cooperative Extension

"The BMP provides a foundation for superintendents in how they prepare their maintenance programs and how they operate. Having been developed and reviewed by state officials and experts at Rutgers University, the BMP guide shows the public the great measures we take to protect and preserve the environment. We hope they will come to recognize superintendents as environmental stewards who are using natural resources in the soundest ways possible," said Hreben, the head superintendent at Indian Spring Country Club in Marlton.

"Professionally, we strive to use the safest and most highly recommended environmentally safe products on our courses."

Dr. Murphy noted: "This needed comprehensive guide is impactful today and for the future. My colleagues at Rutgers and I were glad to contribute and commend the GCSAANJ for developing such a valuable resource for golf courses throughout the state."

Also, the following Rutgers NJAES and Cooperative Extension personnel assisted in the development of this document:

 • Dr. Bruce Clarke, Extension Specialist in Turfgrass Pathology

 • Dr. Matthew Elmore, Assistant Extension Specialist in Weed Science

 • Dr. George Hamilton, Extension Specialist in Integrated Pest Management

 • Dr. Albrecht Koppenhöfer, Extension Specialist in Entomology

 • Dr. Christopher Obropta, Associate Extension Specialist in Water Resources.

Others assisting in the development of this document include our industry partners that provided invaluable information and expertise:

 • Mark Kuhns, CGCS Regional Manager, Turco Golf

 • James Devaney, Storr Tractor Company

 • James Barrett, James Barrett Associates

 • Corey Angelo, Soil and Water Consulting

Kevin Doyle of GCSAA and Ms. Sharples herself also provided valuable assistance in initiating, organizing, and promoting this project. Volunteer external reviewers helped strengthen the guide and ensure its accuracy. Reviewers included the following:

 • Bradley Park, Laboratory Researcher, Rutgers NJAES Center for Turfgrass Science

 • Dr. Stephanie Murphy, Director, Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory

 • Erin Landis, River-Friendly Coordinator, The Watershed Institute

 • Jeffrey Hoffman, P.G., State Geologist, NJ Geological and Water Survey

 • L. Stanton Hales, Jr., Ph. D., Director, Barnegat Bay Partnership

 • Robert Karl, Supervisor, Source Water & Watershed Programs, Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority

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