Wednesday Oct 18, 2023

Episode 6: The Essence of Sustainable Golf Courses

In this engaging podcast episode, host John Failla welcomes Ron Dodson, a biologist and author, to the Golf Sustainability Podcast. Ron Dodson shares his journey into golf sustainability, his background in wildlife biology, and his mission to connect people with nature and promote responsible natural resource management.

The conversation touches on various topics, including the challenges of sustainability in golf, the importance of site selection for new courses, and the need for customized environmental management plans. Ron Dodson emphasizes that sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all approach and discusses the significance of water conservation in the golf industry.

The episode highlights the role of technology and new methodologies in addressing water use and wastewater treatment. Ron Dodson also touches on the economic aspect of sustainability and how it can become an economic opportunity rather than an expense.

This insightful discussion sheds light on the evolving landscape of golf sustainability and the importance of grassroots action to drive positive change in the industry. Tune in to gain valuable insights into the intersection of golf and environmental responsibility.

Topics Covered:


  1. Understanding Sustainability in Golf (0:00 - 3:02)
  • Discuss the concept of sustainability and its relevance to golf courses.
  • Explore the background and motivations of Ron Dodson in the field of golf sustainability.
Customizing Sustainability for Golf Courses (3:02 - 8:30)
  • Explore the idea that sustainability solutions are not one-size-fits-all.
  • Discuss the importance of tailoring sustainability efforts to individual golf courses, considering factors like location and community needs.
Environmental Management Plans for Golf Courses (8:30 - 26:43)
  • Delve into the key components of effective Environmental Management Plans for both new and existing golf courses.
  • Share insights on how to select suitable land for golf course development, with a focus on sustainability.
  • Highlight the challenges and opportunities in implementing sustainability practices at existing golf courses.
Engaging the Golfing Community in Sustainability (26:43 - 30:01)
  • Explore strategies to engage golfers and golf course committees in sustainability efforts.
  • Discuss the importance of building positive relationships with the majority of golfers who fall in the middle of the spectrum in terms of attitude towards sustainability.
Importance of Sustainable Practices in Golf (31:03 - 32:03)
  • Discuss the significance of maintaining good storage and inventory systems in maintenance facilities for sustainable golf practices.
Regulatory Environment and Sustainability (32:08 - 33:29)
  • Explore how regulations and best management practices influence golf course sustainability, with a focus on the regulatory environment in different regions.
Challenges of Water Management in Golf (33:36 - 35:09)
  • Delve into the challenges the golf industry faces in terms of water management and conservation, particularly in regions with water scarcity.
Inspiration and Motivation for Sustainable Golf (50:12 - 51:49)
  • Learn about Ron's personal inspirations and motivations for his lifelong commitment to sustainable golf practices, including the role of his father, Arnold Palmer, and Jim Snow.


Resources and People Mentioned:


Connect with Our Guests

Ron Dodson 


Connect with The Dodson Group

Connect With Golf Sustainability

Subscribe to Golf Sustainability

Note: Timestamps provided are approximate.

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