What Golf’s World Leading Sustainability Standard Can Do For You
Coveted by golf clubs across the world GEO Certified® is a mark of distinction, an eco-label which demonstrates a club’s commitment to providing positive value to people and planet.
(Libi Newell, Golfenvironment.org Project Manager, Communications and Community Relation)
This independently assessed eco-label allows clubs to confidently promote their positive social and environmental impact. It is part of a collective drive within the international golf industry to enhance the sports sustainability performance and reputation in a credible, meaningful way.
To become GEO Certified® clubs must meet a set of standard criteria which look at a club’s performance and practices across nature protection, resource efficiency and community value. Ranging from turf grass choice to recycling collections, facilities are asked to follow good practice across their club and course management operations.
Recently highlighted in a WWF Report on the business benefits of credible standard and certification systems GEO Certified® is the only eco-label for sports to adhere to the same Codes of Good Practice as other revered certifications such as Fairtrade, The Rainforest Alliance and FSC. Demonstrating their commitment to credibility these standards, including GEO Certified®, are members of the ISEAL Alliance, a globally respected body which ensures its members standards are trustworthy, revenant and create a real positive impact. This backing ensures that GEO Certified® is not only an asset to individual clubs, but to national federations and the golf industry as a whole.
As a GEO Certified® facility a golf club can show its golfers, its local community, federation, government and the wider world that it is truly committed to enhancing its social and environmental value. Many Tournaments are now encouraging potential host venues to become GEO Certified®, including The European Tour as part of their own sustainability initiative European Tour’s GreenDrive. All host venues of The Open in Britain, are required to hold the GEO Certified® mark.
Benefits to clubs go far beyond the positive reputation and publicity which holding this coveted eco-label can bring. In working to become GEO Certified® clubs uncover that many of the daily practices they are ready have in place are making a positive impact. While the introduction of new initiatives to support the three pillars of sustainable golf: nature protection; resource efficiency and community value, often bring clubs increased visitor satisfaction, improved relationships with neighboring communities and significant cost savings.
GEO Certified® Hirsala Golf in Kirkkonummi found that the use of rain water, collected in their own reservoirs, and the introduction of a sophisticated technology system for their irrigation led to significant water savings, which in turn has been very economical for the club. Furthermore, water quality measures and careful monitoring at Hirsala Golf have indicated that the course is actually improving the quality of the surrounding water resources, with Nitrogen levels falling.
Hill Side Golf & Country Club in Vihti, achieved net cost savings of €10,000 due to improvements in club and resource management efficient including stronger irrigation and energy use monitoring, souring of renewable electricity and changes to rough maintenance. The more implemented a more efficient rough maintenance plan in 2012 saw a saving of €3,500 alone, with a reduction of over 300 hours of staff time in mowing the rough, along with fuel and machinery use reductions. These changes have also increased habitat across the course.
Further examples of economic gains GEO Certified® clubs around the world have enjoyed include: a €3,000 annual cost saving on energy through the use of solar panels on the maintenance buildings at St Andrews Links Castle Course, and a saving of over €25,000 in fuel costs at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay by converting to electric maintenance equipment.
GEO Certified® is managed by GEO (Golf Environment Organization), an international not-for-profit which is dedicated to helping a global golf community establish leadership in sustainability. As well as facilitating cross industry collaboration to establish meaningful voluntary standards for golf facilitates, developments and tournaments, GEO offers practical guidance through the OnCourse® programmes.
OnCourse® Facilities supports clubs to uncover, improve and promote their social and environmental value. Clubs often choose OnCourse® as their first step to becoming GEO Certified®. This bespoke programme for golf is supported by The R&A along with national federations and industry associations.
The OnCourse® programme, which was upgraded in early 2017, is a modern web app bespoke to golf which hosts: useful reporting tools, including pesticides and water logs; practical best practice guidance across club and course operations; and a platform for clubs to confidently promote and share their stories and results, inspiring one another and overcoming common challenges. The recent upgrade has modernized and streamlined the programme to provide a simple, user-friendly and intuitive app for clubs of all sizes, and on all stages of their sustainability journey. From small community clubs to management companies, those just starting out wanting to uncover ‘quick wins’ and basic good practice to those achieving zero waste, producing their own renewable energy and using 100% grey water. OnCourse® offers something for everyone.
On completion OnCourse® produces a bespoke Annual Sustainability Report for clubs to share, internally or externally, as they wish, and when they are ready clubs can choose to apply to becoming GEO Certified® through OnCourse®.
Currently in its Beta phase OnCourse® is free for golf facility across the world to sign up to and is available at www.getoncourse.golf Further Information on GEO Certified® and GEO’s tournament and development support programmes can be found at www.golfenvironment.org of by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kansainvälinen GEO-organisaatio on mukana Honour-lehden ympäristöteemassa. Projektipäällikkö ja viestinnästä vastaava Libi Newell kertoo viereisessä artikkelissaan millaisen roolin GEO-organisaatio on saanut kansainvälisellä tasolla. ISEAL-ryhmään kuuluminen antaa GEO:lle uskottavuutta, myös täällä Suomessa. GEO-sertifioituja kenttiä on Suomessa jo 10, viimeisimpänä tänä keväänä auditoinnin läpäissyt Hill Side Golf & Country Club Vihdistä. Honour-lehti esittelee kuluvan vuoden aikana suomalaisia GEO-kenttiä ja muitakin, joissa ympäristöasioihin on suhtauduttu vakavasti. Toivottavasti viihdyt artikkelien parissa ja saat varmuuden sille, että voit harrastaa golfia hyvällä omallatunnolla, luontoa pilaamatta.
GEO-SERTIFIOIDUT GOLFKENTÄT SUOMESSA 2017
• Aulanko Golf
• Master Golf
• Pielis Golf
• Nordcenter Golf & Country Club
• Kartano Golf
• Karelia Golf
• Hirsala Golf
• Sarfvik Golf
• Hill Side Golf & Coutry Club