The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department continues to try to conserve and watch how many chemicals are being used throughout parks and golf courses here in Columbus.
A total operating budget of $54 million dollars helps fertilize and keep up with ball fields, parks and golf courses
At the Airport Golf Course, natural areas are being preserved by restoring 14 acres to native Ohio prairie.
“Each and every year our department looks at our chemical use and what we’re using at the golf course and what we’re using at the different parks and facilities. Always trying to evaluate from an environmental perspective as well as a cost perspective of what we’re using,” says Golf Course administrator Mike Musser.
Last year the planning began for the 14-acre project. The soil is ready and seeds will be planted later this month.
“It’ll be no-mow zones, nature areas for birds, butterflies, have pollinating plants in them and our golf course staff won’t be asked to maintain them in any way other than keeping invasive species out. It saves money on fuel, saves money on staff time, adds 14 acres of land that we won’t use any chemicals on,” said Musser.
Diane Cantrell, an avid golfer, comes to Airport Golf Course weekly. On Monday she noticed all the extra tilled soil.
“I think it’s wonderful, exciting. Golf courses one of the best places to put any kind of natural areas in because it blends with the use and you’re on a floodplain so it’s also a good way to use the land,” said Cantrell.
She thinks more people are going to pay attention to the natural areas and want to do the same.
“People pay attention to it. It’s kind of a teaching resource for the golf course and people will ask about those areas they can explain how the golf courses approaching its maintenance in an eco-friendly way,” said Cantrell
When it comes to using chemicals Musser explains what areas get treated most.
“Our main focus is on the tee boxes, fairways and greens. There’s a lot of areas on golf courses that are on the rougher areas around the clubhouses and driving ranges that we don’t put chemicals on. We don’t come out and just blanket spray things, ” said Musser.
The natural areas will take a couple years to be established will become a showpiece for the city golf courses in 3 years.