Golf Course

Golf Courses Show 29 Percent Reduction of Water Use in 2020

Courses have reduced their use dramatically since 2005, according to a survey of course superintendents.   August 2, 2022

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

A survey of golf course superintendents revealed that courses in the U.S. used 29 percent less water in 2020 compared to 2005, according to a press release from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). 

U.S. golf facilities used about 1.68 million acre-feet of water in 2020, a 29 percent reduction from 2005. According to the survey, two-thirds of the reduction was likely a result of course operations applying water more efficiently. 

The GSCAA Foundation collected information from nearly 1,600 golf course superintendents. The results were analyzed by two scientists and the National Golf Foundation. 

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The most common sources of water for the courses were wells (32 percent) and lakes and ponds (23 percent). Less water was applied in 2020 from each water source than in 2005 except for recycled water, which accounted for 21 percent of water applied. 

Course superintendents are applying the following best management practices to reduce water use, including: 

  • Keeping turf drier 
  • Pruning tree roots 
  • Changing to more drought-tolerant turfgrass 
  • Mulching landscape beds 
  • Increasing no-mow acres 

The report showed that decreased water use was seen in each of the seven different agronomic regions of the country. The greatest water use occurred in the Southwest and Upper West/Mountain regions, which both experience high average temperatures and low average rainfall. 

Dave Lubach is the managing editor, Facility Market.


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