The Environmentally-Sound Golf Realm
~ Carmen Schwartz
This was it! This was the ultimate golf weekend. This gave out the fun, the emotion, the thrills, the chills…everyone in the world teared up watching little Caleb run to Daddy, Bubba, and congratulate him on his second jacket. This was also the weekend
where a young Texas man (twenty-years-old and counting) came to his very first ‘big game’ and blew the crowd away. This was the 78th Masters Tournament that will actually find its way into history books as being one of the best ever played.
One of the stars out there this weekend, was a star that only the players seemed to remark upon, but they remarked upon it a lot. It was nice to hear, considering the backlash that trump got over his course. Seems the Augusta greens, according to the men standing on them, were absolutely amazing.
Now, when it comes to being ‘green’ in the world of golf, there are many things you think about. The Masters has that green jacket that all want and will work their behinds off to get. But it is difficult to get it, as we know, and it is even more difficult to produce ‘greens’ that are beyond healthy, and work with the environment instead of simply cutting it aside and killing what Mother Nature put there in the first place. But there are a few who have done this magnificently – produced the perfect golf spots where you can play the perfect golf game And as time moves forward, more and more owners are making sure that they are creating greens that are ever so much greener.
Portugal claims one very amazing course called, The Belas Clube de Campo. People rave all the time regarding the amazing work these people have done when it comes to creating an 18-hole course within the confines of a completely drought-ridden country. Experts in the field of sustainability at the Golf Environment Organization, have stated that this is the one that is beyond innovative when it comes to water management. An entire course that recycles irrigation water, reusing that water to keep the grounds perfect; not to mention, 49 acres of preserved woodland connecting to the surrounding wilderness that is stunning, and perfect for the animals who have always lived there. Bravo!
From there, we head to Hong Kong and play at The Jockey Club, Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course. Talk about stellar education programs when it comes to keeping their ‘world’ green, this is the only public golf course in all of Hong Kong, and they work extremely hard to help the environment and the community around them.
All their employees are specifically trained in everything from pesticide disposal to waste reduction to water management, habitat maintenance and environmental planning. They even go so far as to put together an environmental newsletter that gets the community involved in their work, teaching others about flora, fauna, and the most amazing wildlife that can be found in and around the course.
When heading to our Northern neighbors, it is the SilverTip Golf Course in Alberta, Canada, that receives some of the highest environmental marks. This is yet another Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, and is set beside the Canadian Rockies, giving it one of the best views you can possibly find. In fact, it would be hard to play golf while taking all the photographs you will want to download on your computer when you get home.
There are definite high-altitude habitat concerns when it comes to playing conditions and working with the environment way up yonder, but this course has been awarded for just that – addressing the concerns and finding ways to work cohesively with the world around them. Conservation and environmental education, wildlife management, pest management, low chemical control, renewable energy – this course dedicates itself to being one of the best and one of the most environmentally innovative courses in the world.
Justin Timberlake has his own sustainable course that many are jumping on board with, and not because the young man can act and sing. The Mirimichi course in Millington, Tennessee, is the very first, in fact, course located in the United States of America to earn both GEO and Audubon International certification.
Apparently, the Timberlake family bought the property in order to actually save it from residential development, and in 2009, a sustainable golf course was opened. Everything from reintroducing native species to making excessive habitat improvements have been the focus for the Timberlake family, and they deserve every award they get.
And, yes…Augusta National. On the airwaves for the past few days with golf lovers glued to their screens, this stunning course has just hosted the tournament of a lifetime. They also showed a course in perfect shape, run by employees and a superintendent that is constantly keeping an eye on water energy and revitalization, low-chemical fertilizers, and making sure to keep on top of the latest in grasses, sprinkler systems, and the list goes on. Although Augusta is not ‘officially’ certified as a sustainable course, the reduced pesticides, fertilizers, and water use may one day add it to the list of the most environmentally-safe in the world.
But for now, the Bermuda grasses flourish, the dogwood trees blossom, and Bubba Watson received his second green jacket! These facts alone allow Augusta to stand – today, anyway – at the top of the heap when it comes to inspiration and talent!