If you think playing golf is a walk in the park, well, you’re right. Golf lets us escape the pressure cooker of our daily lives to enjoy nature, get some needed exercise, and see some birds in the trees. An eco-friendly golf course hits even more high points, and that is why a number of courses like River’s Edge are working toward achieving that goal.
Unlike traditional course that have been tragic for existing native plants, animals, and other wildlife, we are embracing them. So is maintaining the biodiversity of the course’s land block. We are stewards of 141 acres in the heart of Bend and while turf wasn’t always of great concern in yester-year’s golf industry, we are taking a more holistic view of the complex turfgrass systems we manage.
An Environmental Philosophy
For all the greenery, golf courses are much more demanding than the surrounding countryside. Each new generation of science and technology inspires new optics, and often a change in perception. We live in an age of social media and universal demands for socially and environmentally conscious activities. Perhaps we didn’t know any better in the past, but if we don’t reduce our environmental footprint, we may miss our last chance to at least maintain our current world.
Green spaces like parks and golf courses can be carbon‐reducing sustainable landscapes that cleanse the very air that we all breathe.
A Central Oregon Eco-Friendly Philosophy includes:
- Naturally inspired local surroundings
- Reduced irrigation runoff
- Native wetlands and protection of existing wildlife habitats
- Drought resistant grasses that require less water
- Responsible use of chemicals and pesticides
River’s Edge is joining other golf courses and companies that are reducing their carbon footprint and making an honest effort to improve our surroundings.
3. Utilize Eco-Friendly Equipment
River’s Edge has used electric golf carts for more than a decade and is replacing the entire fleet of carts in 2023 with the latest lithium golf cart powertrain. The lithium vehicles we have selected are more efficient than any other golf cart. Which means we will use less electricity overall and lithium batteries contain far fewer toxic metals than older batteries that can contain lead or cadmium. Lithium systems are generally considered to be non-hazardous waste.
Our use of eco-friendly equipment doesn’t stop there, but it doesn’t happen overnight. River’s Edge is a small public golf course, owned as an Oregon Non-Profit Corporation by the homeowners that surround the course. We have a long-term plan shifting to electric mowers, trimmers, edgers, and cleanup equipment wherever possible. Some earth-moving equipment and tractors will need to be retained, and there’s no way to reduce the carbon footprint to zero. However, we are committed to using the most eco-friendly heavy equipment.
Each time people play at River’s Edge they are helping us achieve our eco-friendly goals. Because we are a non-profit, all proceeds from the golf course operations are returned to improving the golf course.
How River’s Edge is Going Green
River’s Edge golf course has made a serious commitment to going green. We are fortunate the Muir Graves-designed course was meticulously laid out to maintain an ecologically safe environment for existing wildlife and the majesty of the Deschutes River.
Today, trees are heavily abundant around the course, and the back side of land bunkers are left with natural vegetation. Many cart paths feature fairways on one side and undisturbed natural plants and animals on the other.
Our Superintendent, Paul Meridth, with the support of turf consultants have changed our course ecology and allowed his staff to reduce water usage, saving thousands of gallons per year over similar-sized courses across the country.
River’s Edge is an Audubon International golf course, happily going the extra mile to maintain an environmentally friendly course.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for Golf is a certification program designed to help golf courses minimize potentially harmful conditions that impact all of us. Their award-winning, educational approach goes a long way toward protecting the environment and course-surrounding wildlife habitats often overlooked or strained by growth.
River’s Edge adheres to the ACSP goals outlined in chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and wildlife and habitat management practices.
The abundant wildlife found at River’s Edge proves management’s commitment to its safety and natural habitat stability. Black-tailed deer are regularly seen in the surroundings, taking their yearlings across the course. Remember, they have the right-of-way, so please allow them to play through fairways before continuing with your next shot.
Yellow-bellied marmots are often seen foraging around rock outcroppings, including the 8th hole and the magnificent par-4 6th, with our beautiful 25-foot waterfall.
When you visit River’s Edge golf course expect to be treated to a plethora of birds enjoying the safety of the many trees and the abundance of food. Once-endangered bald eagles soar like your best tee shots, and great-horned owls are regular tenants in the trees.