Top Ten Extreme Futuristic Eco Golf Courses

Much like what the "Concept Car" is to the auto industry, these designs of uber-eco-golf courses aim to take in to consideration what the role of a golf course will be tomorrow. Common themes?
  • Carbon Sequestration
  • Community Integration
  • Storm Water Management
  • Green Roofs
  • Alternative Energy (Solar, Wind)
  • LEED Clubhouses (what is LEED?)
(Keep in mind much of this material has been copied/borrowed from other websites, please visit the links, click on everything and give them lots of money)

#10 Synthetic Everything
Well... this one already exists.
Totally synthetic turfed golf courses allow for low operational resource consumption, however... it's artificial turf! Lots of concern about this stuff, we've covered it before in A Tired Topic?

Don't get me wrong, I love saving water, perfect readings on the Stimpmeter even after a freak downfall is pretty cool too, but this stuff gets hot and apparently is difficult to play while in the 30's (Celsius).
For more info:

#9 Okay, I got nothing. I didn't want to make it a "Top 9" list, so instead I'll happily bump synthetic golf back a notch. Haha.

#8 Zira Island's Eco-Resort-City-Golf Course

Not much details on the golf course, other than it's maintenance vehicles will likely be powered by wind turbines and solar panels installed on a retired oil platforms in the Caspian Sea.

zira island, carbon neutral island, big architects, azerbaijan zira island, sustainable development, eco-resort, green building, renewable energy island
BIG Architects‘ Zira Island will feature seven major structures modeled after the peaks of Azerbaijan that are connected by trails, greenbelts and the coastline. The Seven Peaks will each house a residential development and public space, and there will also be 300 private villas near a golf course in the central valley. Zira’s new skyline of organic buildings will resemble a mountain range that merges with the natural topography of the island.
Many carbon neutral communities are currently being developed around the world, like MasdarRioja, and Dongtan. All promise a new way of life completely independent of carbon-based fuels. Zira Island is less of a city and more or a resort, but it still holds the same promises of sustainability and will use the sun, wind and water to heat and power the island.
Heat pumps, which plunge into the surrounding Caspian Sea, will heat and cool the buildings on the island, and Solar Hot Water Collectors are integrated into the architecture to provide hot water. Photovoltaic on strategically angled facades and roof tops will generate electricity, and an off-shore wind farm will be constructed in the Caspian Sea, utilizing the existing oil platforms and foundations for the new and more sustainable power supply.
Potable water will be provided via a desalination plant, while waste and storm water will be collected in a waste water treatment plant and recycled for irrigation. The solid waste will be composted and reused as fertilizer for the island. 

Read more: Azerbaijan’s Carbon Neutral Zira Island | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World 

#7 Imagine Central Park with a Golf Course, but in South Korea
Songdo International Business District or Songdo IBD. This new eco-city will be impressive with its list of eco-credentials – tons of beautiful open space and parks, green roofs, solar passive design, mass transit and over 120 buildings built to LEED standards.Songdo IBD, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, is located on the waterfront of Incheon, South Korea covering 1,500 acres. It is expected to cost over $30 billion and house 75,000 residents, and handle 300,000 commuters. Of the 1,500 acres, 40% of that will be open, green space, park and golf course, and the city will be easily traveled by foot and mass transit.Read more: Songdo IBD: South Korea’s New Eco-City | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World 

For more info and references go here:

#6 Mata de Sesimbra - Zero Energy, Grey Water Golf Resort

Ten years ago, BioRegional development Group opened BedZED, a “zero-energy” housing and business development in south London. The development has been tremendously successful, possibly the most energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable site of its kind to date. Springing off of BedZED’s success, BioRegional has partnered with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) to create One Planet Living, a brand and organization slated to build a network of sustainable communities around the world.

The first One Planet Living community, Mata de Sesimbra, is currently in planning to be built outside of Lisbon on Portugal’s Costa Azul. The project will integrate sustainable architecture, eco-tourism, a nature preserve and a reforestation project with cork forests, making it the first development to integrate land conservation with habitable development. Mata de Sesimbra will span 13,000 acres and house 30,000 residents, as well as golf courses, swimming pools, hotels and more. On the surface, it will be a luxury playground like any other, but the standard amenities will be run in unconventional ways. Golf greens will be maintained with treated gray water and buildings will utilize recycled steel and zero carbon concrete.

Read more: MATA DE SESIMBRA | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World 

For more info and references go here:

#5 Bronx Drinking Water Treatment Plant with Green Roof Driving Range Combo

Golf courses have been fulfilling the storm-water treatment and filtration functions for years, but never as a roof! From "The Architects Newspaper" article by Matt Chaban:

Mosholu Golf Course in the Bronx is one of a dozen run by the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Its compact layout is typical of New York’s urban courses—nine holes, tree-lined fairways, the odd sand bunker—save for one highly unusual obstacle: the $2.1 billion drinking water treatment facility under construction on what used to be the driving range.
When this heavily secured compound is completed in 2012, it’s due to be topped by far more than just new turf. Grimshaw and landscape architect Ken Smith have designed one of the largest and most intensive green roofs to date, which is also a fully functioning driving range. And an irrigation system for the golf course. And an integrated security program for the facility below. Think Pebble Beach meets the Biosphere meets Rikers.
“The distinction here is it’s not just a green roof, but a performative green roof that needs to provide all these functions,” Smith said in an interview. “I think we’re pushing both the design of the green roof and the design of the golf course in new directions. We’re working to see how far we can push the diversity of the ecology and still adhere to the constraints of the golf course.”
This quietly radical project is the result of more than a decade of debate over whether or not water from the Croton Reservoir, the smallest of the city’s three, needed treatment after more than a century of going without. That was followed by battles with Bronx residents over which and even whether the borough’s parks would be torn up to make way for the new plant. The city finally broke ground on the facility in 2004, and the driving range has moved to a temporary site while the complex roofscape takes shape.

The engineering challenges are formidable. At nine acres, the $95 million driving range is the largest contiguous green roof in the country. So when it rains at the range, it pours, which creates a paradoxical hazard for the plant below. “It’s of paramount importance to the City of New York that this building stay dry, despite being full of water,” said David Burke, the project architect at Grimshaw. So to handle the millions of gallons that can accumulate on the green roof during a storm, the design team has devised a natural filtration system to collect, process, and store the runoff.
The range’s unique topography not only provides green-like targets for golfers, who tee off from the perimeter of the circular structure, but helps channel rainwater into the collection basins, where it meets groundwater pumped in from the plant’s four sump pumps. The water then travels through a series of ten cells that ring the range, each one modeled on a different native ecosystem to serve different filtration purposes. It takes up to eight days for water to travel through the cells, at which point it’s collected and used to irrigate the golf course.
“We’re not just dumping it in the sewer,” said Mark Laska, president of Great Ecology & Environments, one of two ecological designers on the project. “It’s a true display of sustainable green design in an urban environment.”
The design team wanted to convey such sustainable lessons to the public, especially the kids enrolled in the First Tee outreach program at Mosholu, and so the cells were left in plain view. Furthermore, because they are sunk ten feet below grade, they serve as a moat of sorts that helps protect the city’s water supply, which is seen as a potential target for terrorists.
To that end, Grimshaw has also designed the guardhouse and screening buildings that security constraints required, in addition to the new clubhouse and tee boxes on the range. (Grimshaw is not designing the plant, however, which is the work of a specialized engineering firm.)
It's an unlikely commission, to be sure, but one the architects embraced. “It’s very fitting for Grimshaw,” as Burke put it. “We tend to gravitate toward these oddball projects.” 

#4 Hersham Golf Club's Green Roof

This five star hotel is going under – underground that is! Designed by ReardonSmith Architects for a proposed development at Hersham Golf Club in Surrey, London, this new subterranean hotel will pay its ultimate respects to London’s Green Belt by placing all 200+ guest rooms underneath it! The entire scheme is covered with a plush green roof that takes its cue from the surrounding countryside. In addition to the green integrated into the building, the proposal includes the addition of extensive on-site re-vegetation and re-organization of existing spaces (such as parking) that will actually leave the site even more eco-friendly than it is now.
Matthew Guy, ReardonSmith’s project designer, states “Our concept integrates hotel, spa, and golf facilities into a single architecturally exciting and organic composition below and above ground. The design fulfills the requirements of the brief for a bespoke five star hotel while returning hard standing to the Green Belt and improving the physical layout and visual attraction of the entire site. It represents a commercially viable solution to developing in the Green Belt and is, we believe, a world-first.”

#3 Eco-Links
Okay, this one is very cool. Using real sustainability principles, not Trump-nomics, this project would change the face of the golf industry, and possibly everything within a 100 mile radius. Ummm... I'll just refer to the creators explanation, from Inhabitats Reurbia Design Comp:

The ecolinks project consolidates the landfill and cemetery with the amenity of the golf course. By utilizing the resources of each, ecolinks is an infrastructural center for a self-sufficient community. 
Cemeteries are once again a vibrant space for recreation with the added benefit of providing grazing land to herds of Shetland cows owned by residents. The golf course rough is now alive with produce in allotment gardens and the water hazards biofilter sewage and landfill seepage. Multiples of these small but dense communities will act in a distributed network to generate power and weather in the face of climactic imbalance. 
Landfills, now an inconspicuous part of the bucolic topography, produce methane that powers hygroscopic cloud seeding equipment. The storms from these plants not only provide rain to fight desertification in neighboring communities, but their lightning will be captured, stored used for co-generation and trickled back into a smart grid.
In the face of current low density development and daunted by resource depletion and climactic change we must build a new infrastructural network that supports dense walkable mixed-use nodes connected by transit routes and surrounded by natural corridors.
The biggest obstacle to such redevelopment is not single family homes on large lots. Infill can bring residential areas to transit-ready density. The major problem is vast tracts of land given over to perpetual large-lot use such as golf courses, cemeteries and landfills.

#2 - Floating Islands with Golf Courses as Green Space
From an article in one of my favorite Eco Blogs:

The tiny island nation of the Maldives is under serious threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. No part of the 1200 islands which make up the Maldives is more than six feet above sea level, so as sea-levels rise (as they will if rampant climate change is not stopped), the entire nation will be under water. Because of this, the Maldives government is pulling out all the stops in the fight against climate change. Not only has the entire country gone carbon neutral, educated all of their children in environmental science and furiously built retaining walls around every island, but the government is buying up land in nearby nations as a place to retreat to when the Maldives disappears. Now it appears that the intrepid Maldivians have come up with a new strategy to fight the rising tide: creating mini floating islands!
The Maldives government and Dutch Docklands/Dutch Watervalley just signed an agreement today to develop several floating facilities for the islands, including a convention center and golf courses. Designed by architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL, the people who brought you the Citadel floating apartment complex and these amazing floating homes, the renderings for the amphibious mini-cities appear depict star-shaped, tiered islands with indoor spaces hidden under lush green-roof terraces, complete with interior pools and beaches.

Read more: Waterstudio.NL's Floating Star Shaped Resort Islands for the Maldives | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World 

...And the Number 1 most extreme futuristic eco-golf course is...

#1 Your Local Organic Shaggy Golf Club
The "Extreme" thing about your local organic (why Organic? Although synthetic products may be applied safely and never percolate away from the intended "target" area, the "footprint" of creating these products reach far beyond the golf course), shaggy club with no bunkers, 2.5 turf staff and no water "hazards" is that golfers adjust their expectations to allow for imperfections and cherish the simple love of the game. After all, a hazard is meant to be just that. The future of golf may just have to scale back on the expensive, resource intensive life-support system and just be a sport again, subject to the punishment of a bad shot. Let's use Blackburn Meadows on Salt Spring Island BC as a living example of this.

Check out our post about Pasture Golf for some great, low in-put examples. Maybe we don't have to go this extreme, but you get the point I'm trying to make.


Very Cool Article. Floating Islands? Lightning and Cloud Harvesting? Crazy But Cool.

Twitter led me to you

I played at Blackburn Meadows this summer! Great little course.

I was not expecting a pasture/organic golf course at #1, but was pleasantly surprised it made the #1 choice. My local pasture course is mowed once a week in a 2 hour period, and that is the only maintenance involved, but the sand greens make that possible.