Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary
This year the Glencoe Golf Club is celebrating its 6th year as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses was established to assist golf courses in
their efforts to enhance and
protect the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide. The process to become certified in Glencoe began by assessing the golf course and developing an environmental plan. Key changes were initiated in several categories including; wildlife and habitat management, water conservation, chemical use reduction and water quality management. Through the use of the management tools provided by Audubon International the golf course was able to make significant changes to the day-to-day operations that have had a direct benefit to the environment.
A major project that was undertaken to aid in water conservation was the expansion of our existing retention pond. The pond expansion project increased our capacity to store rain water by 10%, thus reducing our dependence on utilizing treated municipal water for irrigation purposes. The creation of five acres of no mow natural areas and the elimination of watering the rough throughout the course has also taken place in an effort to conserve water.
One of the Club’s most recent wildlife conservation efforts has been focused on the plight of the Monarch Butterfly. The disappearance of milkweed in the United States has been the biggest culprit in the decline of the Monarch population. The Club, which is a member of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Program, took action to combat the decline in habitat and began to plant and preserve milkweed throughout the course. In addition, a Butterfly Garden was created to provide nectar sources, and shelter for the Monarchs. Our initiative was rewarded this past summer as we experienced a resurgence of Monarchs on the property. Hopefully our efforts will help in some way to assure the preservation of the species.
*Glencoe Golf Club is the 51st course in Illinois and the 825th in the world to receive the honor.
The Glencoe Golf Club has established the following maintenance practices in order to maintain an eco-friendly club.
- 6 electric utility carts have replaced 6 gas carts. Our goal is to replace the 5 remaining utility vehicles with electric over the next 5 years.
- No mow natural areas have been created which reduce the use of fuel for cutting as well as fertilizer use. These areas also create habitat for wildlife.
- All grass clippings are mulched and returned to the earth rather than bagging and disposing.
- We are in the process of testing biodegradable engine oil for use in the equipment.
- A compost pile has been created in which all small branches and leaves will be placed to decompose naturally. This material is then reused for amending flower beds.
- All daily garbage disposed of on the course is sorted and placed in recycle bins.
- Organic fertilizers are being utilized throughout the course.
- Waste products, such as used motor oil, electric batteries and unused solvents, are recycled or disposed of according to the law.
- To reduce the use of chemicals and fertilizer Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is utilized throughout the facility. IPM is a process for attaining long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression and prevention. The process works with nature to achieve its grand design. Instead of periodically dowsing a pest-infected lawn with chemistry, IPM monitors the problem and employs practical solutions for dealing with it by proper on course scouting of a certain pest problem. Treating an infected site chemically versus a broadcast application over a large area.
- Pesticides and fertilizers are used only on certain portions of the golf course. The rest of the property consists of natural areas not maintained with turf care products. These areas can provide a home for wildlife and include a diverse variety of native plants and trees.
Water Management and Conservation
- A new retention pond was created on the golf course in 2009. This pond increased our capacity to store rain water by 10%. This in turn reduced our dependence on watering with treated municipal water. A natural grass pond buffer was planted on the banks to prevent erosion. The new pond also created an additional wildlife habitat for shore birds and amphibians.
- When effectively irrigated, healthy turf provides numerous environmental benefits. Properly maintained turfgrass:
- Produces oxygen (carbon dioxide exchange) and cools the atmosphere
- Prevents soil erosion
- Filters natural and synthetic contaminants from rainfall and irrigation
- Recharges critical groundwater supplies
- Provides crucial "greenspace" in urban settings
- As a result of computerized irrigation systems and improved turfgrass varieties, we can now use less water more efficiently to achieve the same level of conditioning.
- We have reduced our irrigation coverage to playing areas only; rough and natural areas are not being irrigated.
- Using weather reporting services and other resources to determine accurate daily irrigation replacement needs reduces over-irrigation.
- Recycled rainwater is being collected in drain tiles which lead to our irrigation pond. We then pull water from the pond for irrigate the golf course.
- Using state-of-the-art computerized irrigation control systems, and variable frequency drive pumping systems to apply water in the most efficient means to reduce water and energy consumption.
- Selecting low-water-use turf grasses, groundcovers, shrubs and trees for use on the course.
- Using mulches in shrub and flower beds to reduce water evaporation losses.
- Adjusting mowing heights to the ideal levels, depending on species and seasonal water use characteristics.
- Using soil cultivation techniques such as spiking, slicing and core aerification to improve water infiltration and minimize runoff during irrigation or rainfall events.
- Improving drainage where needed to produce a healthier turf with better root systems that can draw moisture from a larger volume of soil.
- Cycling irrigation sessions to ensure good infiltration and minimize runoff.
- Root pruning trees near critical turf areas to prevent tree root competition with the turf for moisture and nutrients.
Below are examples of wildlilfe enjoying the natural setting of the golf course. The Glencoe Golf Club staff has managed water quality, reduced chemical usage, created wildlife habitat and improved water conservation efforts. All of the work that has been done will protect and sustain native habitats and the wildlife that depend on them for survival. Please share with us any wildlife photos that are taken on the course.