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Hosts of the Honda Classic Show Winning Form for Sustainable Golf

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.

Nicholas Roberts

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