The Grass Is Greener--at the Golf Club

The excellent article by James Gomez (June 4) covering the San Clemente water shortage raises again an ogre that many of us have been unable to effectively combat.

Residents of San Clemente who don’t play golf--maybe 35,000 of them, or 90% of the population--are probably wondering about the shortage and what role they are expected to play to decrease water use in the coming months.

And they may notice that some inequities exist in the needs for water in the community, such as the 19.5 million gallons a month of pure drinking water being used by the new Pacific Golf Club to keep its grass green. 650,000 gallons a day? And this is only one of three golf courses.

But resident aliens without golf bags have no place to register and their words seem to fall on empty ears, since they don’t even own a putter.


If, in fact, somewhere between 35 million and 40 million gallons of drinking water are being poured onto those three courses each month, all of us must take shorter showers, forget about watering the lawn, don’t flush the toilet and, at the risk of possible arrest, don’t ever wash your car.

But, if some of that golf irrigation eventually comes from recycled and undrinkable water, it’s no problem, unless you wonder where all that money for recycling is coming from.

Most local citizens will bend and adjust to the constrictions of the water shortage, and their consumption in May had already decreased. Developers are anxious, however, to add more trauma to our problems, and they have an enormous economic clout with the local government.

The average water users may consume 150 to 400 gallons a day. We can apparently all live with this rate of consumption unless, of course, new homes keep opening up.


Meanwhile, that one golf course is using as much as 2,166 homes in town (that) may consume 300 gallons a day. Why has the city condoned this vestige of special interest and placed a sacrosanct immunity around those 5% who wield the clubs? Is the revenue to the city all that important?

Those thousands who have sacrificed in the past few months to restrict their water consumption should expect some reasonable balance between golf, developers and their own needs.

Yet, maybe my unwashed car is really not as important as making the very tough 4-par on that hole with the fairways of gorgeous green grass. That little white-dimpled ball wields a clout much greater than those thousands of residents with brown lawns.



San Clemente