Golf and Natural Capital, Twin Cities, MN, USA
There are approximately 16,000 golf courses in the USA, spread across a variety of social and ecological contexts; urban to rural, forest to swamp, grassland to desert. Economically, golf courses contribute billions of dollars to the economy and create jobs for local communities. Environmentally, golf courses require inputs of water, nutrients and pesticides and can be taxing.
While these immediate, direct costs and benefits are fairly well-understood, the indirect contribution of golf courses to landscape and the public value is not as well-understood: What are the ecosystem service values of golf courses to their surrounding community? How do the biophysical drivers of ecosystem services affect the golf experience?
We launched a collaborative project to explore environmental and public values associated with golf courses in urban areas and explore these important questions further.