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How 7 Golf Courses Addressed Environmental Challenges

Seven U.S. golf course projects have been recognized by the American Society of Golf Course Architects for their work in addressing unique environmental challenges.

The ASGCA’s Environmental Excellence Awards were introduced this year to honor the innovative efforts of architects who work with facility owners/operators to make a positive impact on the game and the course’s local community.

The recognized courses, with architect in parentheses:

  • City Park Golf Course, Denver (Todd Schoeder)
  • Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne, Florida (John Sanford)
  • Los Robles Greens Golf Course, Thousand Oaks, California (Jason Straka)
  • Roosevelt Golf Course, Los Angeles (Forrest Richardson)
  • The Preserve at Oak Meadows, Addison, Illinois (Greg Martin)
  • The Refuge Golf Course, Flowood, Mississippi (Nathan Crace)
  • Willow Oaks Country Club, Richmond, Virginia (Lester George)

Following is a summary of the award-winning projects that have improved the environmental landscape, making their golf courses more sustainable and more profitable:

City Park Golf Course (Colorado)

City Park Golf Course in Summer of 2018 (Photo courtesy: Denver Public Works and Denver Parks & Recreation)


Todd Schoeder’s redesign of a historic 1913 golf course in an urban environment addressed major neighborhood flooding issues while enhancing the character of the golf course. The challenge was met in one of the last open spaces in Denver to detain and treat stormwater, then release it within eight hours to keep the course playable.

Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne (Florida)

Crandon is the only public golf course on Key Biscayne, just 10 minutes from downtown Miami. (Photo courtesy: Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne)


In an effort to reduce its water consumption, Miami-Dade County Parks Department initiated a project with Sanford Golf Design, which spent over a year developing a conceptual plan that reduces the golf course’s irrigated turf area. The project’s design goals were to improve playing conditions in the tidally influenced areas, reduce irrigation water consumption and maintain the visual aesthetics of the golf course.

Los Robles Greens Golf Course (California)

Los Robles Greens is a daily fee course in the rolling foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in Thousand Oaks, 39 miles from Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Dave Sansom)


The city of Thousand Oaks charged the design team at Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design with providing a playable, fun and visually stunning golf course that would reduce water usage by about 25 percent and reduce the required fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels to dramatically improve the golf course’s environmental footprint.

Roosevelt Golf Course (California)

A walking-only course, Roosevelt is located across the street from the famous Greek Theatre in Griffith Park and boasts some of the best views of Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Zablan, courtesy City of Los Angeles)


The challenge at this hilly property was to convert the irrigation source from potable to recycled water, and simultaneously make improvements to a 9-hole executive course within Los Angeles’s historic Griffith Park. The project, undertaken by Forrest Richardson, took more than a decade of planning and permitting, eventually benefiting the environment by conserving water, restoring natural habitat and integrating the golf course with the natural environment.

The Preserve at Oak Meadows (Illinois)

The Preserve at Oak Meadow (Photo credit: Dupage Golf)


Greg Martin coordinated planning, design and permitting with 19 separate agencies as 27 holes near Chicago and O’Hare airport were converted to 18. The project also entailed improving golf conditions, relieving downstream and on-course flooding, providing environmental benefit, improving water and habitat quality, and providing connectivity to other preserve properties within the Salt Creek corridor.

The Refuge Golf Course (Mississippi)


The revamped par-4 second hole at The Refuge is indicative of the new look of the entire course. (Photo courtesy: The Refuge)


Built in 1998 on wetlands-dotted property less than five minutes from the Jackson-Evers International Airport, this daily-fee course struggled to keep holes open after heavy rains, and the aging irrigation system was inefficient. Holes were crowded by invasive tree species causing loss of turf and soil loss from erosion. A full course renovation by Nathan Crace remedied these and other issues.

Willow Oaks Country Club (Virginia)

Willow Oaks Country Club (Photo credit: Willow Oaks)


Willow Oaks borders the James River, and every time the waters in the James rose, half of the private club’s course flooded due to lack of water flow control into and out of the property. Lester George created new flood channels to alleviate flooding and effectively manage the flow of water.


The 2019 submissions were reviewed by a panel of golf industry and environmental leaders, including representatives of Audubon International, GEO Foundation, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association.

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