City Grades Golf Course Management Practices; The Dunes Earns Best Score

The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club earns the best score on the city’s annual grading scale. SC file photo

Two of Sanibel’s three golf courses are in full compliance with the city’s best management practices for maintaining their courses and the third golf course is in partial compliance.

The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club was four points from a perfect score on the city’s grading scale. The Sanctuary Golf Club was also found to be in full compliance while Sanibel Island Golf Club is in partial compliance. All of the golf courses earned the same score as last year.

The annual golf course grades have been given since 2011. This year’s report from the city’s Natural Resources Department was presented to City Council on Nov. 3 by Director Holly Milbrandt and Environmental Specialist Dana Dettmar of the Natural Resources Department.

All three golf courses, along with residences, are linked to the city’s important water bodies. Sanibel has long realized the importance of reducing the nutrients that are released into the water system in reusable water. The city continues to invest in upgrades at its Donax Water Treatment Plan as part of the overall water quality program that includes the annual report cards for golf courses.

A perfect score is 65 and The Dunes scored 61. Five is a perfect score in 13 different categories and The Dunes earned nine 5s. That’s 94 percent and represents a 31 percent improvement since the grading came into being in 2011.

The Dunes lost 1.5 points over a requirement that all reuse water be set back 25 feet from all water bodies and that all irrigation heads using reuse water also be set back 25 feet. Where impractical, the setback can be 10 feet. Height of grass buffers around environmentally sensitive areas cost The Dunes a half-point. The course also lost a point over buffering and dropped another point for a requirement that a minimum of 30 percent of the littoral zone of each golf course lake be planted and maintained with submerged or emergent aquatic vegetation on a minimum of 3-inch centers.

A golfer with a slice knows that The Dunes has water on the right side on all 18 holes as it works its way clockwise through The Dunes neighborhood. It’s driving range is a lake, so there is plenty of water and plenty of shoreline to buffer at The Dunes.

The Sanctuary earned 60 points. It lost five points over height of grass and buffers around environmentally sensitive areas. Otherwise, The Sanctuary scorecard included eleven 5s for a score of 92 percent. That represents a 1.5 percent improvement since 2011.

The Sanibel Island Golf Club was found in partial compliance by the city. SC photo by Chuck Larsen

The Sanibel Island Golf Club, which has the Sanibel River meandering through it, was found in partial compliance by the city after scoring 56 on the report card, or 86 percent. The club came under new ownership in 2013 and has shown a 60-percent improvement since then.

The club failed to have runoff from all washdown facilities properly treated prior to discharge from the site. The club earned a zero in that category. The club was marked down to a 3 for the same lake planting requirement that cost The Dunes a point. It also lost two points over buffering and irrigation requirements.

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