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E-M:/ Golf Courses -- not just about pollution

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org


Michigan has more golf courses per capita than any other state in the nation,
despite the fact that we have winter (meaning a 8 month season even for the
most hardy).  Even if you could build every one of them to the highest
standards, I think it is not environmentally sound for people to build more
golf courses in Michigan.  The other factors that surround golf courses and
the environment:

- they contribute mightily to sprawl.  Most golf courses come as part of a
housing or condo complex that might not be built without this keystone
attraction.  These are built in greenfields not in reclamation areas.  

- they fragment habitat.  A lot of the courses that have been built or planned
up north cut a large, permanent opening into forestland.  My guess is that
these are no more hospitable to traverse for some of our creepy crawly
critters than is a clearcut or road.  Native plants in patches of remaining
forests around the greens and fairways can't cross since their presence on the
course (if they could take root at all) would be considered a weed, and they
will be done away with.

- they introduce monocultures of exotic species.  Remember that this is a
sport created in the British Isles, and with the little white ball and the 9
iron came the grass seed to attempt to replicate the conditions in Scotland.
The turfgrass folks may well be genetically engineering species of grass that
are in less need of pesticides and fertilizers, but they can't make these
plants native species.  

Anne Woiwode

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