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5 of the greenest golf courses in the world

June 17, 2011, 12:57 p.m.
A view of the Atlantic Ocean at the 14th green, with Machrihanish visible around the bend

Photo: Brian Morgan/Machrihanish Dunes

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Green as the fairways

Golf doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to environmental protection, and justifiably so — golf courses are, more or less, giant tracts of manicured grass in constant need of watering, fertilizer and maintenance (most often with gas-powered mowers). Golf courses cut into the natural landscape and displace native trees, grasses and wildlife.

But they're not all terrible. A handful of golf courses around the world were built with the environment just as much in mind as the placement of the sand traps and water holes. Golf course owners are using local vegetation to landscape their courses, reducing or eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, and taking the existing landscape into consideration during design and construction. Greener golf courses can have large buffer zones alongside their fairways — ideal habitat for bugs, animals and plants. These owners keep a careful watch on use of water and chemicals and utilize greener building techniques in the construction of their clubhouses and other facilities.

So if you're a green-leaning golfer interested in swinging your clubs on a course, you wouldn't be disappointed to pull up to any of these five green golf courses. (Text: Shea Gunther)