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Reduced and Recycled Water Produces Positive Results

GCSSA logo 2Reducing and recycling water used on U.S. courses comes from conscientious environmental stewardship efforts of golf course superintendents across the nation.

Golf course superintendents used 21.8 percent less water overall and just 1.44 percent of all irrigated water in the U.S. to maintain their courses in 2013, compared with usage in 2005, according to recently released survey data. The survey was conducted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and funded by the United State Golf Association (USGA) through GCSAA’s Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG).

The survey results from nearly 2,000 golf course superintendents were collected and independently analyzed by scientists at PACE Turf and the National Golf Foundation (NGF), which published the findings for peer review before making the information public.

“This study shows us that the golf industry has been addressing water issues for some time and is realizing positive results. The numbers show that golf course superintendents across the country have reduced water consumption,” said Wendy Gelernter, Ph.D., co-owner of PACE Turf, which has been providing data analysis for the golf industry for more than 25 years. “There is always room for improvement, however; and I think we will see even less water being used and fewer acres being irrigated in the years ahead.”

Water usage blurbAlong with reducing overall water usage by 500,000 acre-feet, golf course superintendents increased their use of Water usage pic 4recycled water by 33 percent over the last study. Both of those trends are positive for the industry, since golf courses are able to filter recycled water before it re-enters the ecosystem.

Golf course superintendents also have demonstrated water savings through turf reduction and improved technologies, such as computer-controlled targeted irrigation systems and sensors that measure soil moisture. Since 2005, golf courses have reduced managed irrigated turf by 14,430 acres, enough of a reduction to cover more than 100 golf courses. This reduction does not include golf course closures.

In addition, the study provides data on average water use in the seven different agronomic regions of the country, with water usage the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the Southeast and Southwest – two regions that have year-round play and turf growth.

“The golf course superintendent profession is committed to science-based technologies and environmental stewardship,” said Rhett Evans, CEO of GCSAA. “We hope that this national study will demonstrate our commitment to efficient water management and inspire the industry to continue to lead in the future. In the end, water management is about providing playing conditions that satisfy the needs of golfers today without compromising the needs of the future.”

It’s not surprising to find water usage down and water costs up nationally for golf course managers. The picture of the golf industry has changed, and it will continue to evolve, even at the national championship level, where the world’s best players are seeing a shift from overall uniform green to firmer surfaces that receive less water.

Visit www.gcsaa.org to review the complete survey report.


Golf course superintendent keeps both his course and his health in top shape

Texas’ Jesse Shulse finds balance between golf, CrossFit

Jesse ShulseGCSSA logoAfter a 12-hour day as superintendent at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, Jesse Shulse is just getting started.

As is typical for the profession, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America member Shulse is regularly up before dawn. But when he leaves work late in the afternoon, Shulse heads for CrossFit Aggieland in nearby College Station, Texas, where he is part-owner and a fitness trainer.

“For me, going to the gym and working out immediately cuts off the stress of the job,” said Shulse. “I really enojoy doing both jobs – being a superintendent and a trainer.”

Both are hard work, especially the way 34-year-old Shulse tackles them. He has helped the private Traditions Club earn top-5 status in the state, and he has competed in regional CrossFIt competitions and Ironman competitions that include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

His time in the gym is a family affair as his wife, Melody, is also a trainer at CrossFit Aggieland, and their three children, Ryleigh, Wesley and Emily, all take part in CrossFit Kids.

Plus, it was family that led him into the golf industry. While in high school, Shulse began working on a golf course where his older brother Justin was the assistant superintendent.

After high school, Shulse left his native Texas to play soccer at the University of Rhode Island, but returned home to graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in turfgrass science. And for the A&M alum and dedicated Aggie fan, Traditions Club was a great fit as the Jack Nicklaus-designed course is home to the A&M men’s and women’s golf teams.

His foray into CrossFit, which is a fitness program that incorporates several elements of high-intensity training, calisthenics and Olympic weight lifting, was a natural progression for the lifetime athlete and Ironman competitor.

While Shulse had run marathons and worked out with personal trainers, he missed the team atmosphere he had enjoyed in college. In 2010 he decided to try a CrossFit class. The sense of community and competitive atmosphere of CrossFit hit a chord, and he said it has pushed him to fitness levels other activities have not. He is now a Level 2 CrossFit trainer and has competed in various CrossFit competitions. He said his dedication to CrossFit has also benefitted him in his role as a superintendent.

Traditions Club has been very supportive of his CrossFit endeavors, and both golfers and some members of his maintenance staff regularly join him at the gym.

“CrossFit works because it’s a community; you eat together and you train together,” Shulse said. “Six of my (golf course) employees are now coming to the gym, and for one it’s been life changing. He has lost more than 100 pounds and is training for a marathon.”

CrossFit offers some specialized courses focused on specific workouts such as rowing and gymnastics. While there is no specific golf CrossFit course yet, Shulse says any golfer can add to their game by taking part in CrossFit or other regular fitness.

“It’s extremely important for golfers to take part in physical activities. If you’re a golfer, you’re looking at how strong you are. When you’re getting fit, you’re building strength,” Shulse said.

He said for golfers he modifies workouts to help with mobility, especially for older golfers.

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