Greener Golf: An Ecological, Behavioral, and Communal Study of the University of Michigan Golf Courses (2015)

Client Organization: 
University of Michigan Athletics, University of Michigan Golf Course (The Blue Course), Radrick Farms Golf Course
Project Location : 
Ann Arbor, MI
Summary of Project Idea: 

This project intends to explore the potential for golf courses to enhance the ecological, social, economic, and cultural health of the communities that contain them. The project focuses on Radrick Farms Golf Course (RFGC) and The University of Michigan Golf Course - Blue Course (UMGC), both University-owned properties, as project sites. The client, the University of Michigan Athletic Department, is interested in better understanding its current state in the three intersecting principles of sustainability-- community, environment, and economics--and how they can push the boundaries of what it means to be a sustainable golf facility. The project evaluates the current courses and develops a management plan that focuses on achieving sustainability goals in all three principles. In addition to the management plan, the project provides a master plan for a 19-acre site at Radrick Farms that will become a three-hole golf course and event space. This space will serve as a case study to provide the client with a site with multiple beneficial functions that embodies the principles of sustainable golf. As a university institution, one of the functions of the three-hole site will be a "living laboratory" where innovations in sustainable golf course management can be tested before implementing those strategies on the 18-hole golf courses.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Conservation Ecology (Aquatic Sciences, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Conservation Biology)
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Sustainable Systems
Landscape Architecture
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Drew Horning
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Ian Makowske, MBA/MS Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Parker Anderson, MS Sustainable Systems/MLA Landscape Architecture
  • Emily Gehle, MLA Landscape Architecture 
  • Rachel Chalat, MA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kim Martin, MS Conservation Ecology
Project Status: 
Past Project