Monday, March 7, 2011

I’m betting every golf course in the country, public or private, can illustrate how its 150 acres are used as green/recreational space by the community. A new attempt at outreach from the ASGCA, entitled The Value of Golf Courses: Talking Points, Talking Points (click here to download a copy) details some quite dramatic examples from across the country.

LGD actually participated in an interesting illustration of this dynamic recently. We were retained by the Village of Bloomingdale, Illinois, to help decommission 9 of 36 holes at a resort facility in town. That’s right, they paid us to take golf holes out of use. Our role was limited: covering up bunkers and devising a grassing plan that was more or less self-sustaining. But the upshot is clear: Golf courses and parklands are one and the same (we kept the cart paths as walking paths), and that land was more valuable to the community as open space than it would be as a housing subdivision — despite what the village stood to gain in terms of property taxes – which, it turns out, will still be realized in the long-term as the resort’s new Hilton-status produces additional tourism dollars for the community. A win-win, really.

We can all agree the green space benefits of golf courses, public and private, are often more wide-ranging and "everyday" — like sledding or cross-country skiing, or maybe running through the sprinklers on a hot summer night. We work with several park districts that conduct wildly popular fishing derbies using ponds on their municipal golf courses. Weigh in here with how your course serves this larger purpose. By sharing, we might gain good ideas from one another.