While golf might seem to be a natural activity, it turns out the game is far from perfect. Pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and energy needed to operate take their toll on the environment. Now golf has a way to help itself become more sustainable. The answer happens to be right under our feet.
1. GOLF GRASS NATURALLY REMOVES CO2 FROM THE AIR.
Scientists call it “turfgrass carbon sequestration” but don’t let that language confuse you. It’s just a fancy phrase for pulling carbon dioxide out of the air and into the soil. Grass and plants need CO2 to grow. As they pull carbon out of the atmosphere and into the ground, they generate the oxygen needed for life on planet earth. It’s a win-win.
Our research with Colorado State University and the US Department of Agriculture has recently demonstrated that golf course grass is removing and permanently storing large quantifiable amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the ground. It’s time we recognize the service turfgrass is providing.
2. PARTICIPATING GOLF COURSES DONATE THEIR CARBON TO GOLFPRESERVES®.
Golf courses across the US are sitting on a sustainability funding gold mine. All they have to do is donate the carbon removed from the air by their grass.
Signing up is free and easy. In fact, sixteen golf courses have already donated more than 2,000 acres of turfgrass to the project.
3. GOLFPRESERVES® QUANTIFIES AND VERIFIES THE AMOUNT OF CARBON STORED UNDER EACH GOLF COURSE.
Golfpreserves® quantifies and verifies the amount of carbon stored beneath each golf course by using digital aerial photography, management information supplied by the golf course superintendent, weather data, soils information, topographic mapping and the Century Model for the determination of carbon sequestration in the soil at the specific site.
4. GOLFPRESERVES® AGGREGATES THE CARBON FROM PARTICIPATING COURSES INTO A MARKETABLE CERTIFICATE.
The carbon from one course is too small to sell by itself. Golfpreserves® provides a valuable service by aggregating the carbon assets into a viable quantity. So what’s the difference between carbon credits and our carbon certificates?
A carbon credit is a document that is used to “offset emissions” of carbon dioxide and could be seen as a “license to pollute” since the net amount cleared from the atmosphere is zero. A “carbon certificate” documents carbon dioxide removed from the air and stored permanently. It confirms the environmental benefit of the practice as a totally positive reduction of pollution.
5. GOLFPRESERVES® MARKETS AND SELLS CARBON CERTIFICATES TO BUSINESSES AND THE PUBLIC AND THEN DONATES THE PROCEEDS TO FUND RESEARCH TO MAKE GOLF MORE SUSTAINABLE.
When a certificate is purchased, it documents the year and amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere and the exact place where it is stored confirming the measured environmental benefit of less carbon dioxide in the air. The certificate has no time limit and is useful to demonstrate environmental activism, participation and stewardship by the owner. The funds generated from the sale of the certificate go to Land Grant Universities to support research to develop processes and grasses that are much less resource intensive, evolving golf to become more sustainable.
The USGA is proud to lead the effort to make golf into a “greener” sport. They’ve shown their dedication by being the first to purchase a carbon certificate of 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere (one metric ton of carbon dioxide is released by a car burning 114 gallons of gasoline). It is the hope of the USGA that both golfers and non-golfers alike would continue this effort to make the game more sustainable. Together, many small contributions will produce a larger financial sum to demonstrate an industry wide effort to protect the environment “For the Good of the Game.”
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