Hosts of the Honda Classic Show Winning Form for Sustainable Golf

PGA National, winners of the IAGTO Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Americas 2016, are topping of the leaderboard for sustainable golf at the Honda Classic.

This week sees the annual Honda Classic return to the Champion Course at the PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for its 10th year. A staple in the tour calendar the Honda Classic will see 144 players with 11 of the top 20 world’s best golfers, along with nearly 200,000 spectators enjoy the beauty and splendor of the world renowned venue.

While PGA National’s Champion Course’s golfing features, such as the infamous three hole ‘Bear Trap’, are known across the globe, what the competitors and spectators, both on the course and in homes across the world, might not know about are the many innovative and award winning sustainability initiatives taking place at this championship course.

In October last year the course’s sustainability initiatives won PGA National the coveted IAGTO Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Americas 2016 Award, and earlier in the year the course achieved golf’s prestigious international eco-label, GEO Certified®. Along with prominent positive publicity the club’s sustainability programme, lead by Kathy McGuire, PGA National’s Manager for Sustainable Development, has brought the club economic savings and greatly benefited the local environment.

“Sustainability is key to the success of any modern business” explains Ms. McGuire “and any sustainability programme must make financial sense. In implementing sustainability practices across our course we have seen drastic savings. Our electricity bills have been reduced by $18,000 a year and water use has been reduced by 35% already. And, of course the environment benefits from all these practices. We are delighted with the awards we have won and becoming GEO Certified® last year was a real, credible recognition of the positive work we do here.”

GEO Certified® is independently assessed by experts in sustainable golf and managed by GEO (The Golf Environment Organization) the international not-for-profit dedicated to furthering sustainable golf. The certification requires clubs to show practical action and continuing commitment across the three key principles of sustainable golf: nature protection, resource efficiency and community value.

Jonathan Smith, CEO of GEO said “The leadership that Kathy and the team at PGA National are showing in sustainable golf is a credit to the club. Their implementation of practical initiatives has benefited the club, the environment and the community, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

Some of the highlights of PGA Nationals sustainability programme include:

  • The conversion of turfgrass species leading to 35% reduction in water use 30% reduction in fungicide use and 20% reduction in overall fertilizer use;
  • Close loop recycling for the sites green waste with 100% recycled and returned to the facility as mulch for organic fertilizer;
  • Closed loop washing facilities for equipment and golf carts sees water being cleaned and recycled for re-use;
  • Instalment of energy-efficient drives to irrigation pumps contributing to $18,000 per year savings on electricity;
  • Management to encourage and protect wildlife leading to Bald Eagles and Sandhill Cranes nesting on site
  • Use of only plants native to Florida in planting across the course;
  • Protection and monitoring of waterways on the course which act as important habitat corridors to the Everglades;
  • Provision of free electric vehicle charging for guests and members; and
  • A wide variety of involvement in local community – from hosting charity tournaments and events, to donating, and active participation by staff and members in local projects.

For more information about sustainable at PGA National, including their full GEO Certified® verification report visit

Sustainable Golf Development Consultation

GEO is seeking input from interested parties on the proposed international voluntary standard for New Golf Developments’. Setting an international voluntary standard for golf development represents a significant step for golf as an industry to take. It signals a consideration for the impacts and a protection of the integrity of the industry.

Golf developments and renovations can embrace sustainability for valuable business benefits, prestigious global recognition, and to ensure a positive legacy.

The ‘Sustainable Golf Development Guidelines’ were consulted upon and drafted by GEO and a wide range of stakeholders in 2012 aimed at setting context and integrating sustainability in golf developments. The guidelines were the first step to establishing a platform to raise awareness and promote industry discussion on sustainable golf development issues.

Since 2012 GEO has been collaborating with several real world projects to field-test these guidelines, collecting data and feedback to help inform the drafting of an international voluntary standard for golf developments.

The proposed voluntary standard has now been drafted, consulted upon by the Expert Working Group (created to provide a balance of views and opinions from different technical aspects and geographical regions) and once by the general public. The second round of public consultation process will now begin.

In line with ISEAL code of standard setting, this second round of public consultation will be organised in order to allow all interested and affected parties to provide their comments and contribute to the process.

Consultation Open: February 22nd – March 30th 2016

For more details please click here.