Greener Golf: An Ecological, Behavioral, and Communal Study of the University of Michigan Golf Courses

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dc.contributor.author Anderson, Parker
dc.contributor.author Chalat, Rachel
dc.contributor.author Gehle, Emily
dc.contributor.author Martin, Kimberly
dc.contributor.author Makowske, Ian
dc.contributor.advisor Horning, Andrew
dc.date.accessioned 2015-04-23T15:50:52Z
dc.date.available NO_RESTRICTION en_US
dc.date.available 2015-04-23T15:50:52Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.date.submitted 2015-04
dc.identifier 267 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/111007
dc.description.abstract As one of the leading public universities in the world, the University of Michigan, owns two 18-hole golf courses: Radrick Farms Golf Course (RFGC) and the University of Michigan Golf Course, also known as the Blue Course. The land on which RFGC is situated has a long and diverse history. Over 18,000 years ago, the area was covered by the Wisconsin glacier, the recession of which left a unique till mix and geological features, including Fleming Creek and deposits of sand and gravel. The presence of these resources led to the transformation of the landscape into a gravel mine, which functioned through the 1920s. In the early 1930s, University of Michigan alumnus Fredrick C. Matthaei, Sr., purchased the land from Cadillac Sand and Gravel, along with additional acreage surrounding the mine, and began the process of restoring the gravel pit by re-grading the area, planting alfalfa and red clover, and converting portions of the area to farmland. Following its donation to the University in 1957, the land was converted into a championship 18-hole golf course designed by world-renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. From its beginning, environmental considerations have been a priority at the RFGC. In 2001, the management of RFGC committed to the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program (MTESP), initiating a series of strong sustainability objectives. Since 2001, RFGC has received special recognition from the Washtenaw County Pollution Prevention Program, in addition to becoming “one of only four courses in the state [of Michigan] with both MTESP and Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certifications.”1 Radrick Farms Golf Course is also the only club in the state to become a Groundwater Guardian Green Site; in 2012, Washtenaw County presented RFGC with the 2012 Washtenaw County Environmental Excellence Award for Water Quality Protection, and in 2014, RFGC was recognized by the Department of Environmental Quality of the State of Michigan as a Clean Corporate Citizen (C3), the first golf course in the state to receive this recognition. The Blue Course, is located near the iconic Michigan football stadium, south of Central Campus. Prior to becoming a golf course, the area was used for farmland. In 1929, the Blue Course was designed by Dr. Alister Mackenzie, now revered as one of the greatest golf architects. The course officially opened in the spring of 1931 and immediately drew praise as one of the finest in America. At the time of its opening, the Blue Course was only the fourth course to be located on a college campus. In the mid-1990s, a multi-million dollar renovation was completed to restore the prestige of the Blue Course to the ranks of Mackenzie's other classics. A new practice range was added to assist Michigan's golf squads, as well as a number of practice greens and bunkers. The popularity of golf carts necessitated large stretches of cart paths that partition landscaped medians around the course. The unique combination of such a highly regarded and historic golf campus with a strong research university presented an opportunity to conduct a holistic exploration into the benefits that golf courses offer to the ecological, social, economic, and cultural health of the communities that contain them, as well as the opportunity to identify potential recommendations to enhance these benefits. The project team utilized an exploration of current trends in the golf industry, specifically the growing movement for integration of sustainability management techniques, in conjunction with a broader multi-disciplinary focus to inform a working definition of sustainable golf. This definition correlated with the three tenets of permaculture: care for the land, care for the people, and the concept of fair share. The project team assessed the current state of the Blue Course and RFGC in research designed around these three tenets. Specific research included an ecological inventory and site analysis, community perception survey and a study of pre- and post-test cognitive function in golfers, and a high-level, qualitative analysis of economic implications. Using the findings and results from this research, the project team provided recommendations informed by the tenets of sustainable golf. The recommendations presented by the Greener Golf Master’s Project Team highlight three approaches to pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a sustainable golf course. The Greener Golf Master’s Project Team has broadly labeled these three recommendations as engagement, accessibility, and innovation. In addition to the recommendations provided, the Greener Golf Master’s Project Team provided the design for a golf course and event space at RFGC that would provide multiple beneficial functions; one of them being the creation of a “living laboratory” where innovations in sustainable golf course management can be tested prior to implementation on the 18-hole golf courses. The team has preliminarily recommended the site be named the Gateway Course due its proximity to the entrance to RFGC as well as its mission to open a new door to how golf courses can play a role in society in the future. Appendix I is a project summary that includes further discussion of the team’s recommendations. This summary is intended for those who wish to learn more about the project, but cannot read the full report below. In addition, the project summary can be used in public distribution for press and other media opportunities. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject golf en_US
dc.subject sustainability en_US
dc.subject environment en_US
dc.subject community en_US
dc.title Greener Golf: An Ecological, Behavioral, and Communal Study of the University of Michigan Golf Courses en_US
dc.type Project en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename Master of Science Master of Landscape Architecture en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Natural Resources and Environment en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember na, na
dc.identifier.uniqname parkerta en_US
dc.identifier.uniqname rchalat en_US
dc.identifier.uniqname egehle en_US
dc.identifier.uniqname kkmartin en_US
dc.identifier.uniqname imakowsk en_US
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/111007/1/GreenerGolfWhitePaper_FINAL.pdf
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/111007/2/GreenerGolf_GatewayDesignGuide_FINAL.pdf
dc.description.filedescription Description of GreenerGolfWhitePaper_FINAL.pdf : Greener Golf Document
dc.description.filedescription Description of GreenerGolf_GatewayDesignGuide_FINAL.pdf : Greener Golf Design Guide
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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