Here's your chance to play some exclusive private clubs -- or save big at a course near you -- while investing in the sustainability of the game we love.
The 2017 EIFG Rounds 4 Research Charity Auction, in partnership with Toro, takes place May 1-7 as part of Golf Channel's Let's play golf week which also includes the latest edition of The World's Largest Golf Outing on May 1st .
First conducted on a national scale in 2012, Rounds 4 Research is a charity auction conducted by the Environmental Institute for Golf , the education, research and advocacy fund of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America . Golfers everywhere can bid on rounds of golf donated to the auction by courses or their members. These courses range from public facilities to top resort and exclusive private clubs throughout the U.S. and even in some international destinations.
Golf courses around the country have already donated, foursomes (and in some cases, stay-and-play packages), to help benefit turf grass research. Innovations in turfgrass, like engineering or identifying new grass breeds that are more drought tolerate or resistant to traffic, help make the game of golf more sustainable. Agronomic breakthroughs in recent years with paspalum and zoysia grass have made them exciting new options to consider in new environments. Zoysia is being used more in transitional zones thanks to its improved durability. Continued progress in turf will aid the sustainability of the game moving forward, and once implemented are most certainly bound to trickle down to your home course, even if it's a municipal or bargain course.
This research is particularly crucial to the highly-trafficked public courses that are often operating on tight budgets, according to J.D. Dockstader, Chief Operating Officer of the GCSAA.
"It's the public and daily-fee courses that benefit most from this research," said Dockstader, "High-end private courses you see on TV have the budgets and manpower to maintain them. They can shut down the course and give it a rest."
Over 1,100 items up for auction have been posted so far, and the number is growing daily. You can start browsing items to bid on now at Rounds4Research.com . Nearly 300 courses are already being "watched" by visitors to the site.
So far, private clubs like Sage Valley , East Lake Golf Club , Lake Nona Country Club , and several Trump National and TPC-brand clubs have rounds up already. Also, bucket-list resort courses like Pinehurst No. 2 and Harbour Town Golf Links have donated foursomes.
It is also possible to bid on gift cards that aren't for a specific golf course. Troon's National Foursome card (a $999 value) and GolfNow gift cards , which can be used at any course GolfNow books around the world, are also available.
Rounds and more prizes will be added during Let's Play Golf Week, so be sure to check back early and often, and click on your state or where you're planning on traveling, to see if there are any courses you're interested in playing.