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Golf Sustainability Episode 2- Jason Straka

In this episode of the Golf Sustainability Podcast, John Failla welcomes Jason Straka, principal of Fry Straka Global Golf Course Design, a leading global authority on sustainable golf course design. Jason shares his journey into the world of golf and how his passion for the environment led him to merge golf and environmental aspects of design.

He discusses the three pillars of sustainability in golf course design: environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Jason emphasizes that these three aspects need to coexist to create truly sustainable golf courses.

They also touch upon the challenges in implementing sustainable design, including the need for education and changing perceptions among golfers. Jason explains how education can help golfers understand the benefits of sustainable practices, even if they result in less lush greenery on the course.

Overall, this podcast episode provides valuable insights into the world of sustainable golf course design and the importance of balancing environmental responsibility, social benefits, and economic viability in golf course projects.

Topics Covered

  1. Carbon Net Zero and Sustainable Materials: The importance of achieving carbon net zero and using sustainably sourced materials is discussed. (0:00 – 0:25)
  2. Introduction to Jason Straka’s Background: Jason Straka’s background and journey in golf sustainability are introduced. (0:34 – 4:11)
  3. Global Perspective on Golf Sustainability: The state of sustainable golf course design in different regions of the world is discussed, highlighting variations in commitment and advancements. (4:12 – 16:29)
  4. Three-Legged Stool of Sustainability: Jason Straka’s philosophy of sustainability is explained, focusing on the three aspects of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. (16:30 – 26:36)
  5. Case Study: Ambiente Golf Course: The transformation of Ambiente Golf Course in Arizona as an example of sustainable golf course design is discussed, emphasizing reduced turfgrass and economic success. (26:37 – 27:03)
  6. Challenges in Implementing Sustainable Design: The challenges associated with implementing sustainable design in golf courses, particularly the need for education, are mentioned. (27:04 – 30:39)
  7. Teamwork and Research & Analysis Component (39:46 – 40:25): Emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the research and analysis phase in their work, particularly in environmental design.
  8. Analogies in Understanding (40:56 – 42:29) Discussing the use of analogies to explain complex concepts, such as the importance of thorough research and analysis before making decisions.
  9. Building Trust and Rapport (42:36 – 45:44):Highlighting the significance of trust and rapport in client relationships, distinguishing between good and bad clients, and the importance of maintaining trust.
  10. Involvement with ASGCA (American Society of Golf Course Architects) (45:50 – 49:03):Jason’s involvement with ASGCA and its efforts in promoting sustainability and environmental awareness in golf course architecture.
  11. Collaboration with Golf Course Superintendents Association (49:08 – 52:33):Discussing Jason’s collaboration with the Golf Course Superintendents Association, their work on best management practices, and the importance of regional considerations.
  12. Involvement with GEO Foundation (52:42 – 57:10):Jason’s engagement with the GEO Foundation, emphasizing independent verification of sustainability efforts and the role of third-party organizations in building trust.
  13. Industry Suppliers’ Role in Sustainability (57:16 – 59:27):Highlighting the significant role of industry suppliers, such as Toro and Rainbird, in advancing sustainable golf course development and their commitment to sustainability.
  14. Largest Irrigation Suppliers – 1:00:02 Discussion about companies that are among the largest irrigation suppliers in the industry.
  15. Water Usage on Golf Courses – 1:00:07 The importance of water for golf courses and the need for sustainability in water usage.
  16. Research in Water Conservation – 1:00:14 The role of research in providing products and methods to minimize water usage and keep golf courses healthy.
  17. Environmental Sustainability in Equipment – 1:00:27 The discussion of automation and environmentally sustainable equipment, including autonomous mowers and hydrogen-powered mowers.
  18. Future of Environmental and Sustainable Design – 1:03:30 A conversation about the future of environmental and sustainable design in the golf industry, focusing on water, carbon neutrality, and climate change.

Resources and People Mentioned


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Jason Straka

Craig Boath


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Note: Timestamps provided are approximate

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