Dew-covered golf course in morning


  • There are over 15,000 golf courses in America, encompassing over 4 million acres of land. 1
  • Golf courses use 4-7 times the amount of pesticides, per acre, than agricultural land.2
  • A proportionate mortality study of golf course superintendents found elevated levels of cancer, respiratory, and neurological disease compared to the general population. Golf course superintendents showed particularly elevated mortality due to brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and diseases of the nervous system (Parkinson’s disease, etc.).3

Toxic Fairways

"Anyone on the golf course or nearby is at risk. Pesticide applicators, either professional contractors or golf course workers, can be exposed to these poisons during storage, mixing and application. Golfers, often playing shortly after pesticides have been applied, can be exposed directly to the pesticides on the turf, as well as to pesticide vapors and mists. People living near a golf course may be affected by sprays and dusts blown from the golf course onto their property and into their homes. Finally, pesticides applied to the turf may run off into surface waters or leach down to groundwater, which can then expose people to contaminated drinking water. These people may live far from the place where pesticides were used."
Toxic Fairways: Risking Groundwater Contamination from Pesticides on Long Island Golf Courses, Attorney General of New York

  • In the Toxic Fairways study conducted by the Attorney General of New York, 52 responding golf courses reported using over 200,000 thousand pounds of dry pesticides and close to 9,000 gallons of liquid pesticides on their courses annually, translating into seven pounds of pesticides used per acre per year.
  • The study found golf courses as likely contributors to the pesticide contamination of Long Island’s vulnerable sole source drinking water aquifer, which to date has been documented to contain over 100 pesticides.
  • Six pesticides (propoxur, DDVP, oryzalin, trifluralin, fosetyl-Al and chlorothalonil), totaling 9,932 pounds or 19.8 percent of the total active ingredients applied, were classified by the EPA as possible or probable human carcinogens.

1. National Golf Association

2. Toxic Fairways: Risking Groundwater Contamination from Pesticides on Long Island Golf Courses , Office of the Attorney General Report, 1995

3. Proportionate Mortality Study of Gold Course Superintendents , Kross BC1, Burmeister LF, Ogilvie LK, Fuortes LJ, Fu CM.