Green golfing in Tennessee
Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 16:33
Millington, Tenn., recently celebrated the opening of a $16 million dollar golf course, Mirimichi. Justin Timberlake — who is from Memphis — and his family purchased the Big Creek Golf Course in 2007. Developers had plans to transform Big Creek into a residential community. Timberlake bought the land to save the course he had played when he was younger. The revitalized golf course creates jobs and brings in business to the area. Beyond the economic boost, the course represents a significant boost for environmental progress.
The course adheres to a Native-American philosophy of living in harmony with nature. In fact, the name Mirimichi means “place of happy retreat”. This philosophy set the course on a path to become the only one to receive Audubon Classic Sanctuary certification from Audubon International. All of the buildings at Mirimichi are constructed according to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certifications. The LEED certifications will require that Mirimichi submit to annual screenings to ensure that it continues to comply with its initial environmental promises.
Golf courses all over the world are guilty of ecological crimes including destruction of habitats and overuse and over-treatment of water. In contrast, the creators of Mirimichi installed the most up-to-date irrigation and drainage systems that not only reuse rainwater, but also get the most out of that water by applying a biodegradable treatment to the rinse water. Native grass and waste bunkers add to the “greening” of the golf course by limiting maintenance of the course to that of a course almost half its size.
The course is also a natural habitat — seven lakes and two streams will support entire ecosystems. Plans for the course include a solar-powered fleet of electric golf carts and a LEED-certified clubhouse by 2011. The clubhouse will incorporate solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling. Visit the course's website to learn more about these green initiatives.
The efforts at Mirimichi to not only rebuild a dying golf course (instead of destroying new land for the project) but also to reduce the course's environmental impact are proof that with an innovative approach, golf can be green.
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Photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press