The purpose of this study was to examine ways for golf courses in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, to promote water conservation. As the demand for freshwater exponentially increases around the United States, it becomes necessary to examine current freshwater uses, especially those for recreational purposes. Golf courses are one of the largest freshwater users, with a typical course consuming hundreds of thousands of gallons every day for grass maintenance. With water shortages and insecure future water supplies, golf courses around the United States are urgently looking for ways to promote water conservation. This includes golf courses in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. The severe drought in the summer of 2012 amplified the importance of promoting water conservation at golf courses in Bloomington-Normal. My research focused on examining ways for these golf courses to conserve water. Through extensive archival research, observations of five selected golf courses, and in-depth interviews with local golf course superintendents, local water resource personnel, local golfers, and other knowledgeable community members, I have determined that there is substantial room for Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, golf courses to use water more wisely. The current average water use for each of the five selected Bloomington-Normal golf courses -- of around 300,000 gallons per day -- could be dramatically lowered with both maintenance updates and by changing the average golfer’s perceptions about how a golf course should look and be maintained. Unfortunately, I have also determined that some significant barriers exist for promoting golf course water conservation. I recommend extensive further research into changing the average golfer’s perception about how the typical American golf course should look and be maintained.


Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Sciences | Water Resource Management