Editor’s note: The June issue of Superintendent magazine features a special supplement on golf and sustainability. We were fortunate to have several advertisers/sponsors involved in the supplement to make it possible and to help educate superintendents about sustainability. We asked the sponsors to share their philosophies about sustainability as it pertains to their products. It’s clear these companies take sustainability very seriously and are committed to its economic, environmental and social components. While their stories appeared in the June issue, we’re also sharing them in this newsletter. Today, a look at John Deere.

The fact that John Deere is more than 176 years old is a testament to what can be achieved by balancing the three factors of sustainability, says Mark Schmidt, the principal scientist for John Deere turf products.

Schmidt can’t emphasize enough how important it is for the three components of sustainability to be in sync for sustainability to succeed in golf.

“Sustainability is about delivering value-based economic, social and environmental performance,” Schmidt explains. “The inclusion of the terms ‘value’ and ‘performance’ in the definition are important because both require that the outputs exceed the inputs. When such a condition exists, you have an efficient and effective system that will endure.”

A solid example of sustainability in sync at Cary, North Carolina-based John Deere Golf can be seen through the evolution of Deere’s hybrid mower line.

“These mowers can help protect the environment through the virtual elimination of hydraulic leaks, but also add economic value in reducing fuel consumption, among other attributes, including the potential for lower operating noise,” Schmidt says. “Superintendents respond to products that deliver multidimensional
sustainability.”

Schmidt believes superintendents are embracing the three concepts of sustainability and are poised for the future.

“The awareness of the need for sustainable practices is partially recognizing the good work already practiced by many superintendents in addition to understanding a common baseline for where practices, product innovation and other factors will go in the future,” he says.

The use of data, information and innovation will be required to advance sustainability in golf, Schmidt says.

“These elements are already important to and utilized by many superintendents,” Schmidt adds. “So, in many ways, the means of embracing sustainability are about encapsulating elements that are already familiar and in use, but evolving them as part of a system.”

The future of sustainability depends on superintendents viewing it wholly, not just as an environmental issue, Schmidt stresses.

“It’s not about less being more, but about performance,” Schmidt says. “In this sense, the constant will be the measure of sustainability — simply value-based performance. The evolution will occur around the methods and practices used to achieve this end game. Additionally, we will see evolutions around how sustainability is measured both on the front end with inputs and the back end with outputs or value-based