Golf courses, despite occupying large green spaces, are not necessarily good for the environment. Land is often cleared to make way for a fairway and maintaining the pristine turf often requires a lot of water, regular mowing and the spraying of fertilizers and pesticides – none of which is good for biodiversity.
In the US, with the number of course closures outweighing new openings every year since 2006, some are questioning how we should use these huge spaces – and asking whether, instead of golf, nature should be left to run its course.
These spaces provide “huge opportunities from a conservation perspective,” says Guillermo Rodriguez, California state director of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a conservation organization which is rewilding three of the state’s former courses.
“It’s a multiple win,” he continues. “You increase public access by taking former private golf courses (and) turning them into public properties … (you return) water back into rivers and streams and create a better habitat for the endangered species that we have in California.”