FTR - I've already said this and I'll say it again - I don't think golf should be an Olympic sport, mainly because I don't think professional athletes - from anywhere in any sport - should be allowed to complete in the Olympics. Now if the golf (and hockey and basketball and on and on) were played by amateurs, then I'd have a different opinion about them. Even if they were amateurs, should golf replace wrestling? I don't think so. Should it replace one of the badminton/ping pong events? I think that could be a valid argument.
I can't speak about the world's view of golf and the environment, but the USGA is very concerned about it - and about the water issue. For example:This quote is saddening because it suggests that the golfing community is in denial. As if these environmental incentives can compensate in any meaningful amount to the environmental damage from building and maintaining golf courses. It's like Philip Morris' anti teen smoking or Walmart's fair labor initiatives.
I do believe, however, that the golfing community's initiatives are more genuinely motivated.
This is easier said than done. Moving away from cosmetic irrigation requires a cultural attitude adjustment that appreciates playability more than cosmetics. While golfer education will present some challenges, there are many benefits in promoting firmer conditions and moving away from cosmetic irrigation. Benefits include water conservation and economic savings, improved playability and firmness, less disease and subsequent fungicide use, and the development of stronger turfgrasses over time.
The many benefits make a strong case that using less water and irrigating for turf health and playability is better for the turf, better for the environment, and ultimately better for the game.
Adam Moeller is a USGA Green Section agronomist in the Northeast Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't have a link, but the head of the USGA was quoted in the recent Golfweek magazine (I think that was the one - I generally don't read it but it was the only thing at hand at the moment) that he's going to take on the water issue next, not that he's pissed everyone off about the belly putter.