The Importance of Organic GolfApril 4, 2017
Many of us have come to think of Martha’s Vineyard as one of the most idyllic settings on earth. Even if you’ve never traveled there yourself, there’s no doubt that this tiny island off of Cape Cod is one of the top tourist destinations year after year.
But those who work and live in the area know that Martha’s Vineyard is about so much more than that. And some are doing whatever they can to maintain that picturesque setting while saving the planet, and the people within it, as well.
That’s what they’re doing at the Vineyard Golf Club. At this prestigious club, golfers will enjoy 235 acres of luscious rolling hills that make up the fairways, greens, and rough. All of this makes up a number of strategic choices that allows golfers to choose their own game and play in an environment that’s as engaging as it is beautiful.
But it’s so much more than that.
The real secret to this club lies in the mastermind of Superintendent Jeff Carlson. From the time the golf course was created, Carlson has worked extensively with organic experts and naturalists, as well as the local regulating bodies to maintain a course that is completely free of chemicals. Instead, the Vineyard Golf Course uses bio-stimulants and fertilizers made of composted materials rather than the harsh chemicals that are used on most of the other courses in North America.
The only pesticides used are completely organic, and application is done only at night to allow for better absorption and take advantage of the better conditions that are present after the sun sets. Other treatments, such as whipping the fairways, are also done as a natural way to remove excess moisture and to prevent mildew.
The result? One of the most gorgeous courses golfers can enjoy while improving their swing. But creating a beautiful space is just one of the benefits associated with this kind of care.
The other of course, is the health of the golfers. While golfers are out there working on their game, they’re also walking on those fairways, picking up any harmful chemicals that may have been applied. They then go into their car, into their homes, and all the while, continue to spread those harmful toxins while they do.
But it gets worse.
When golfers are out on the course, it’s not just their shoes coming into contact with the grass and its applied toxins. Think about it. Golfers hit their ball which falls onto the grass. They walk on the grass to get the ball and pick it up out of the grass for their next shot. Now those toxins are on their hands as well.
And, if there are none of those handy ball-washers set up nearby, they might even use their thumb to wipe off a smudge of dirt on it. They may even lick their thumb, wipe off their ball, and then repeat the process again. Now those harmful chemicals are on their shoes, their hands, and have even been consumed through the mouth.
As they continue to walk from hole to hole, they may wipe sweat off their brow, causing fertilizers and pesticides to get onto more areas of their skin, and even fall into their eyes. This can cause a number of sicknesses and conditions. One golfer we spoke to not only played on the same course every day for over 10 years, but worked on it as well.
“I got pink eye all the time,” he said while speaking to us. “And I knew what was causing it. It was those fertilizers that were constantly being applied.”
But it gets even worse.
After a hard day on the course, golfers tend to go to the restroom before hitting the clubhouse for lunch or visiting the pro shop. And while it’s common practice to wash our hands after using the washroom, many don’t think to do so beforehand. So now those harmful chemicals are literally everywhere from head to toe.
This is one of the main reasons why cancer is becoming so prevalent in the world of golf. It’s no secret that fertilizers have contributed to the rise in cancer rates all over the world with 1 in 2 people now contracting cancer and1 in 3 dogs.
Golf is an enjoyable pastime for millions of people all over the world, and the Vineyard Golf Course on Martha’s Vineyard knows this. They’ve found a way to continue to bring that to their golfers, while making it much safer for them at the same time.
Did we mention that the measures Vineyard Golf is taking are also reducing the amount of fertilizer runoff into our waterways? Or that they’ve effectively turned those 235 acres into one massive carbon sink, storing more carbon for the lush greens to feed off, while creating a better environment for all of us?
Once you can realize the huge impact this has, you can see the importance of golf courses like the Vineyard; and how organic golf could not only improve your life, it could extend it!