The objective of this study was to provide baseline information on the effects of a golf course complex on water quality, colonized periphyton, and seagrass meadows in adjacent freshwater, near-coastal, and wetland areas. The chemical and biological impacts of the recreational facility, which uses reclaimed municipal wastewater for irrigation, were limited usually to near-field areas and decreased seaward during the 2-year study. Concentrations of chromium, copper, and organochlorine pesticides were below detection in surface water, whereas mercury, lead, arsenic, and atrazine commonly occurred at all locations. Only mercury and lead exceeded water quality criteria. Concentrations of nutrients and chlorophyll a were greater in fairway ponds and some adjacent coastal areas relative to reference locations and Florida estuaries. Periphyton ash free dry weight and pigment concentrations statistically differed but not between reference and non-reference coastal areas. Biomass of Thalassia testudinum (turtle grass) was approximately 43% less in a meadow located adjacent to the golf complex (P < 0.05). The results of the study suggest that the effects of coastal golf courses on water quality may be primarily localized and limited to peripheral near-coastal areas. However, this preliminary conclusion needs additional supporting data. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).