We were the FIRST Golf Course Design Company in the WORLD to become a Sustainable Golf Climate Leader
In the (bad) old days, it was perfectly normal to start a project by taking a parcel of land, figuring out the absolute best golf course routing and only then considering the implications of that layout on the land itself. Of course, in many instances that led to immeasurable environmental damage. We’re all older, wiser and more aware now of the impact our work has on the land. We are also infinitely more conscious of the potential that what we do (if done well) can actually enhance the value of land – so now the process starts with evaluation and the identification of areas of sensitivity and only following that do we start to route golf around the site, avoiding those sensitive areas. In this way, golf, flora and fauna can happily co-exist and flourish. The bottom line? Net positive impact – if that criteria cannot be met, don’t develop.
Even with this objective benchmark, we knew that in order to do the best work we could do, and despite utilising technology as much as possible, we simply needed to travel to sites and that our carbon footprint would increase as a result. So, working with GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf (GEO) and guided by the Net Zero programme , we set about measuring our total footprint using GEO Foundations Carbon Tracker Tool – from air travel to commuting to and from the office; from the purchase of paper to the volume of paper sent for recycling; from the gas used to heat the office to the fuel used in site vehicles – any measurable resource or output was calculated and, from that, our carbon emissions were accurately recorded. But then, what to do about it? Again through GEO we have taken responsibility for unavoided greenhouse gas emissions through the Gold Standard, retiring carbon credits with quantifiable contributions to climate change mitigation and the Sustainable Development Goals.
We thought we were late to this party. It turned out that we were actually the first golf course design company in the world to become a Sustainable Golf Climate Leader. We’re proud of that, but equally proud that we are not the only ones now – the more groups that get on the programme, the better the golf industry, wider society and the planet will be.
By Jeremy Slessor