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Golf Courses

Florida's golf courses occupy more than two hundred thousand acres of land. Much of this land is covered with varieties of grass that are fertilized and treated with pesticides that may leach into the aquifer.



Image of Irrigation on a golf course uses lots of water.Zoom+ Irrigation on a golf course uses lots of water. © Russell Sparkman

Over fifteen hundred golf courses exist in Florida, more than any other state in the country, and the number continues to grow each year. Like other development in natural open spaces, golf courses can have a negative impact on Florida's aquifer by altering traditional, rural land uses within spring recharge basins as well as increasing nutrient loads and water withdrawals. Fairways, tees, and greens require specialized varieties of grass, like Bermuda grass, that are regularly fertilized. If applied improperly, fertilizers can leach past the root systems and soil, and eventually infiltrate the aquifer. In many areas of Florida, golf courses are also associated with residential "country club" communities that introduce additional threats to the springs by increasing residential landscaping, household water use, and direct recreational impacts.

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