It’s sustainability par none at NC State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course, a certified Audubon International Signature Golf Sanctuary and member of the organization’s Signature Program. Located on Centennial Campus, the course is one of only two university-owned golf courses to earn this sustainability certification.
Carefully planned to fit managed turfgrass seamlessly into the surrounding environment, the course serves as a living lab for sustainable turfgrass management and environmental stewardship.
With help from Dr. Danesha Seth Carley, sustainability program coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Tom Rufty, professor of crop science, the course was designed with constructed wetlands that help filter water and an extensive, undisturbed vegetative buffer that includes fine fescue and native warm-season grasses, loblolly pines, American beautyberry and butterfly weed.
The Poole Golf Course not only fulfills a recreational and athletics role but also provides the university with a functioning laboratory for research and teaching. Turfgrass Management, Professional Golf Management, Crop Science, Horticulture, Entomology and Plant Pathology programs as well as College of Agriculture and Life Sciences sustainability students all use the golf course in their studies and research.
Within the golf course, programs involving wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement and environmental issues are balanced with the economics, operations and practicalities of running a golf course. In addition, nearby Centennial Middle School uses the facilities for sustainability lessons in their science curriculum.