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Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2016

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 www.golfenvironment.org.

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.

BMC Hosts Climate Change Panel at ShAFF

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How we are showing the love this Valentine

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BASIS – The British Association for Sustainable Sport – prides itself on supporting the sport sector in its commitment to becoming a sustainable industry. All sports will be affected by climate change, some more than others, with some already affected. It is because we are all impacted by changes to our planet that we need to come together. We are supporting the SHOW THE LOVE campaign because it’s time for us all to come together to protect the things we love.

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Irie Fields Achieves a New First for Golf Course Developments

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Irie Fields at Kittitian Hill has become the first golf course in the world to achieve the new sustainability mark for golf developments, GEO Certified® Developments.

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of Mount Liamuiga in St Kitts, Irie Fields may not seem remarkable at first glance, it has fairways and greens just like thousands of golf courses across the world, but look closer and you see that this new golf course, set open mid-2016, is a game changer for international golf course development.

Eat Your Greens

Irie Fields is the first golf course to attain the GEO Certified® – Developments status, setting new standards for golf course developments that recognized the opportunity to contribute more positive social and environmental impacts across the design, planning and construction of the course. Not only that but Irie Fields is also hailed as the only fully organically maintained, edible golf course in the world.

Created by golf course architecture firm European Golf Design (EGD) in partnership with Welsh golfing legend, Ian Woosnam, Irie Fields golf course is part of Belle Mont Farm on Kittitian Hill, a sustainable luxury development on the island of St Kitts in the Caribbean. The course firmly upholds Founder Val Kempadoo’s belief that sustainability is one of the fundamental factors to a successful business.

“From the very start I knew I wanted Irie Fields golf course to blend the unique culture of the island with a sustainable ethos to create something that was truly Kittitian, for the local community and visiting tourists alike.” said Kempadoo, “From selecting the location to siting the bunkers, the environment, the community and resource efficiencies have come first. While we had the vision, central to implementing it has been the support of EGD and guidance from GEO and I am confident that by working together we have created something which will bring true benefit to the people and nature of the island and a real, enjoyable Kittitian experience for our visitors for generations to come.”

This dedication to providing social value was seen throughout the project and one of the highlights of the development being the strong commitment to local employment and local supply chains. More than 95% of staff involved in the construction of the course originated from St Kitts itself and more than 97% of bulk golf course construction materials were sourced from the Island.

Mango, Avocado, Banana…

An edible landscapes policy has seen over 25 hectares of edible crops cultivated across the site, including mango, avocado, banana, guava, pineapple and passion fruit, bringing truly multi-purpose productivity to out of play areas, and the use of zero chemicals throughout construction has delivered major pollution prevention benefits and a healthier environment to play in. Resource efficient practices were also embedded into the design and construction of the course, minimizing water consumption of the course and the scale of earth works required during construction.

Gary Johnston, Designer at European Golf Design, who led the project, said “sustainability was integral in everything we did at Irie Fields, from the moment we picked up our pencils through to seeding the last hole”. Very much a team effort, this project was led by Kempadoo’s vision for a truly sustainable tourism development championed by Johnston and the team at EGD, and supported by GEO (the Golf Environment Organization). Johnston continued, “We are incredibly proud to have been part of this project. We have already recommended the GEO Developments programme to other developers and we hope that Irie Fields is just the first of many golf courses that we are involved with that will gain the GEO Certified® Development mark.”


GEO is a not-for profit organization dedicated to supporting sustainability across the international golf industry. Irie Fields have been working with GEO since early 2011 and have played a leading role in shaping the processes, documentation and voluntary standard for GEO’s new sustainable golf development program. Originally named the GEO Legacy program, GEO not only provides guidance and support on the benefits and practical implementation of sustainable operations for golf developments though the program OnCourse® Developments, they also administer the independently verified GEO Certified® Developments Mark.

Jonathan Smith, CEO at GEO said “This is an exciting time for sustainable golf and Irie Field’s achievement in becoming the first development to gain the GEO Certified® Developments mark is something which not only the club and its architects can be proud of but the industry as a whole. Golf is stepping up and taking its responsibility and its opportunities seriously, and we are honored to work with so many individuals and organizations that show real leadership in the filed of sustainable golf.”

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