Thursday, July 24, 2014

HFCC environmental practices

Did you know that your golf course is environmentally friendly?  There are many practices that we do to both protect the environment and also enhance it.  While many of these practices cost more to do, they are the right things to do.  Some of our practices are as follows:

-          HFCC uses slow-release fertilizers on all of the turf on the course.  The use of slow release fertilizers regulates the release of nitrogen so that the plant only gets what it needs at that time, therefore very little is wasted or washed through the soil.  We also use natural organic fertilizers that are composted from the poultry industry.
Chicken manure being composted into organic fertilizer for use on golf courses
 -          The chemicals that we use on the course are of the highest quality and the most environmentally friendly to do the job at hand.  The products that we have at our disposal are highly regulated for safety and application.  Most products are broken down in the soil, by soil microbes within a week or two after application.  Additionally, we choose products that chemically bind to the soil or the plant therefore reducing any chances of runoff or leaching

Otter on the bank of one the lakes at HFCC
-          All of our lakes are monitored monthly by Aquascapes Environmental.  Their job is to sample all of the water entering the property, on the property, and leaving the property.  They sample for fertilizers and pesticides so that we can better manage our practices throughout the course.  To this date, we have never failed a test, in fact sometimes we tend to be too clean.  What this means is that all the fish caught at HFCC is safe to eat and your pets are safe to enter the water.

-          As we have been replacing aging drainpipe, some areas have been converted back to natural streams.  This has provided habitat for fish, salamanders, crayfish, etc. which supports larger wildlife.  Additionally, these streams are far better at controlling erosion than pipe as the streams slow the velocity of water whereas the pipe tends to increase the velocity which leads to more aggressive erosion.

-          Since most of our equipment is run by hydraulics, leaks and broken hoses are a fact of life.  While the hoses are inspected daily, breaks still happen unexpectedly.  Since regular hydraulic fluid is petroleum based, it will kill the turf and contaminate the soil should a leak occur.  As a result, we use a “vegetable based” hydraulic oil in all of our hydraulic equipment.  It costs almost 3 times more than standard hydraulic fluid but does not contaminate the soil and does not kill the turf. 

-          Speaking of equipment, we have been some of the earliest adopters of electric mowers.  We mow the greens with a hybrid walk mower that uses a small gas engine to run a generator.  The generator produces the electricity needed for both the reels and the "wheels".  This type of set up is very efficient and uses half the fuel as traditional all gas mowers.  Better yet, the quality of the cut is superior to traditional mowers.
Electric hybrid walking greens mower
These are just a few of the things we do at HFCC to protect our environment.  The G&G committee and the maintenance staff understand the value of our wonderful environment here at HFCC, its one of those features that make HFCC such a special place.
Flower bed at HFCC which provides food (seeds) for birds in the winter