Nantucket Island in Massachusetts is home to a variety of unique plant, animal and cultural resources, making it one of the most scenic and naturally diverse landscapes in North America. That’s why, before constructing the Nantucket Golf Club, the owners conducted an exhaustive site analysis to identify the critical environmental issues that needed to be addressed.

Greg Muirhead

The design process generated a final golf layout and construction plan that avoided and/or minimized the environmental impact on plant and animal species. Rare plant species and grassland environments were actually enhanced, improving the overall habitat for animals. The development of the Nantucket Golf Club became a model for subsequent projects attempting to blend world-class golf facilities with their unique natural environments. It proves that golf and the environment can coexist without compromising the integrity of either land use.

No stone was left unturned

The planning process consisted of multiple consultations with environmental experts, as well as local environmental and special interest groups. It engaged a variety of governmental agencies with jurisdictional authority over the property and got input from the residents of the island community.

The final plan achieved the goal – providing a world-class golf experience while also accomplishing the following environmental objectives:

  1. It implemented a thoughtfully designed program, increasing the total acreage of rare, sandplain grassland and coastal heathland vegetative communities.
  2. There was no net loss of wetlands.
  3. It created a “secondary rough” component, comprised primarily of native grasses, to buffer the routinely maintained in-play areas of the golf course from the undisturbed, adjacent grasslands and wetlands.
  4. It developed an on-site nursery to accommodate the transplanting of state-listed, rare plant species during construction, and promoted the future propagation of rare plant seeds.
  5. It created an integrated golf course management plan to reduce reliance on chemical methods of disease and weed control and to establish appropriate thresholds dictating future use of herbicides and pesticides on the golf course.
  6. It established groundwater monitoring wells throughout the project site.

The golf course architect and builder worked together to achieve the desired goals and meet the environmental objectives for the project. During construction, the golf course builder was diligent in maintaining delineation and protection of the sensitive environmental areas. More than 80 acres of the site were protected by fencing and remained in a completely undisturbed condition.