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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... the impact of the patented golf tee.


KNOY: Ninety-eight years ago this week, the golf tee was patented. The obscure anniversary marks a popular sport. Today nearly 16,000 golf courses blanket the United States. Combined, they would cover more than 2.5 million acres, roughly the size of, yes, Rhode Island, and you can throw in Delaware as well. In the US alone, a new golf course opens on average every day. The growth has led to concern over the environmental impact of these highly manicured tracts of land. In 1990 the Audubon Society began rating courses on water use, pesticide use, and habitat preservation. Most courses haven't adopted Audubon's best practices, but some have responded by planting grass that reduces water and chemical spraying, and by using recycled carpeting in sand traps. Others have incorporated extensive wildlife habitats in the design of their links. And one course has taken the innovative step of heating its clubhouse with methane gas. The gas is tapped beneath the course, which is built on a landfill. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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