Golf courses and turfgrass pests, weeds, and disease go hand in hand. The property is ideal for many associated problems that threaten the health of the turf; due to the stress that is placed on the turf and the level of fertility that is present. Constant mowing, traffic, irrigation and fertilizing equate to numerous issues a superintendent must deal with. The Ministry of Environment’s Bill 64 has turned the headache of pest management into a migraine with its’ strict pesticide use regulations.
According to the Ontario Allied Golf Association (OAGA) ” Bill 64 received Royal Assent in July 2008. The resulting Cosmetic Pesticide Ban allows golf courses to continue to use pesticides, but only if they comply with new stricter conditions. These conditions go into effect Earth Day April 22, 2009. ” There are now several steps golf courses must take in order to comply with Bill 64. Golf courses now must become IPM accredited. This involves a series of continuing education courses at the courses’ expense. Also, an annual report must be filed and made public to anyone who is interested. Key information in the report is:
quantity in kilograms of each pesticide ingredient used;
how this quantity may have varied from previous years;
how being IPM Accredited has helped to reduce pesticide use and how will it reduce pesticide use going forward;
a map of the golf course property showing all areas where pesticides have been applied;
contact information for the club and registered IPM Agent
I feel the introduction of Bill 64 will inevitably lead to numerous golf course closures in Ontario. Superintendents fear it is not long before pesticide use is completely banned for golf course operations. Canada was the first country to introduce environmental guidelines for golf courses in 1993 and should be commended for being proactive. However, the quality of our product is at risk. Management styles would have to be changed drastically. Long gone would be the days of receptive greens and firm fairways. The turfgrass height of cut would have to be brought up in order to prevent the onset of disease due to a weakened plant (the lower the height of cut the more stressed the plant becomes). Greens speeds would slow to a crawl and the result would lead to Ontario never again hosting a professional tournament such as a PGA or LPGA event. Our product would not be comparable to the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world.