City golf course gets greener | AspenTimes.com

City golf course gets greener

Abigail Eagye

Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN Last year, the Aspen Golf Club spent just over $2 million to install a new sprinkler system one official says should be better for the environment and the quality of the course.Director of Golf Aitken says the new system, which uses recycled wastewater, will save more than 15 million gallons of water per year while further processing the water and improving the quality of the turf. It also will save on electricity and fertilizer, he said.Recycled wastewater is processed before it’s distributed on the golf course. Then the course’s grass, its root system and the soil further filter the water before it returns to the natural aquifer.In 1999, the Aspen Golf Course was among the first in Colorado to be certified by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, an “education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf,” the program’s website states. Certification requires an environmental plan that looks at water quality and reduction as well as a reduction in chemical use, among other standards.”We’ve basically laid out this golf course with the knowledge we wanted to keep this certification,” Aitken said. “We’re so proud of the fact that we’re a leader in environmentalism.”The completion of the new sprinkler system is good news for golfers for another reason: the end of construction, Aitken said. Although the golf club lowered greens fees to compensate for the disruptions, one golfer called the constant noise “pathetic,” suggesting officials should have closed the course or not charged any fees.Aitken, however, said the improvements should be well worth it. The new sprinkler system, which was the cause of the bulk of the construction, will improve the quality of the turf, he said, and improvements to water features also should enhance play. Ongoing maintenance includes efforts to fix unlevel tees, another user complaint, Aitken said.”The improvements last year are going to lead to a tremendous product we’re excited to show off,” he said.According to City Finance Director Paul Menter, funding for the sprinkler system came from the 2005 Parks and Open Space bond. Money from the city’s Water Conservation Fund, parks and open space sales taxes and golf course fees are helping to repay that debt, he said.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is abby@aspentimes.com

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