What does golf have to do with conservation?

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In preparation for the next northeast Ohio high school Envirothon in May, which, we here in Medina County will be hosting, local contacts for supporting the event are beginning to take place.

So, I visited our largest employer in Medina County, Westfield Insurance Company, to see if they were interested in some form of support for the event. Ironically, I ended up with their golf course superintendent.

Pleasant surprise

What a surprise it turned out to be. I was expecting to meet with someone from the community relations department, human resources department or an endowment or foundation section of the company.

Anyway, to my surprise, this was a great fit because his son had been a member of the local high school envirothon team years ago and participated in the soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife and annual theme stations.

So, we were off to a great start. Then, it got better. He explained to me how their two golf courses were “all in” on fertilizer management, 4R program, irrigation conservation, native plant introductions, drought tolerant grass species, mowing area reductions and more.

I was amazed at their continued efforts.

Algae

Then, we talked about the western Ohio algae situation and current efforts going on there as well as those close to home in Medina County.

One of which was the temporary closing of Chippewa Lake this fall due to the presence of the blue green algae. We discussed probable sources and causes.

Employment

Then, he shared with me that the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ohio is prepared to launch a statewide initiative to certify golf courses who implement various best management practices on their courses.

He also mentioned the golf course industry is concerned about finding young people who might want to be interested in golf course futures and employment.

He thought the envirothon is a great connection for students to learn about soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife etc, since most current college programs do not cover all these subjects in their golf course curriculums if they even have one.

Soils

He explained further that soils are a key piece of the condition of a course. That water quantity and quality are key items. That trees are always needing attention. That wildlife are problematic on courses.

Since I play in a golf league, it was easy for me to connect the dots with him from his world to my professional position.

I think there is a good chance that statewide and nationally, soil and water conservation districts can have a closer working relationship with organizations like his.

What a wonderful setting to show case to golfers as to what they could do on their own properties. A perfect place for demonstrating what can be done.

That’s what golf has to do with it.

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