Twenty golf professionals recognised as Sustainability Champions

Twenty golf professionals recognised as Sustainability Champions

Golf and sustainability organisation, the GEO Foundation, acknowledges the achievements of golf course managers at certified venues

Twenty golf course managers have been recognised by the GEO Foundation for advancing sustainability in the sport.

The ‘Sustainability Champions’ manage golf courses all over the world, and have been awarded for meeting the GEO Foundation’s eligibility criteria: they’ve either worked on a re-certified facility, worked for two separate facilities achieving GEO certification or promoted best practice to a wider audience.

David Bataller, director of agronomy at PGA Catalunya Resort, Graeme Beatt, course manager at Royal Portrush, Craig Booth, links superintendent at Carnoustie, Paul Carter, superintendent at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, Christine Chen, superintendent at The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau, Spencer Cooper, superintendent at Remuera Golf Club, Howard Craft, club manager at Berkhamstead Golf Club, and Amanda Dorrans, greenkeeper at Dundonald Links, are among the first Sustainability Champions.

They’re joined by Archie Dunn, course manager at Auchterarder Golf Club, Albert Holmgeirsson, assistant head greenkeeper at Olso Golf Club, Kari Kuivasaari, club manager at Aulanko Golf, Simone Laureti, club manager at La Pinetina, Janne Lehto, course manager at Hirsala Golf, João Machado, head greenkeeper at Troia Golf, Christoper May, chief executive at Dubai Golf, Richard Mullen, course manager at Banchory Golf Club, Matthew Perry, director of agronomy at Dubai Golf Club, Julian Small, general manager at Foshan Golf Club, Gavin Sowden, golf course administrator at Woburn Golf Club, and Steven Tierney, head greenkeeper at Golfpark Zürichsee.

Each champion has been provided with a recognition mark and supporting materials to showcase their role and achievement. As time goes on, the GEO Foundation will recognise sustainability champions in other fields, such as course design, tournament staging and advocacy.

Jonathan Smith, executive director of the GEO Foundation, said the recognition was the organisation’s way of “rewarding” sustainability champions and that he was hopeful that others would “step forward and follow suit.”

“Golf’s positive contributions to the environment and communities come from the commitments, actions and results generated by real people across the sport, around the world,” he added. “It is their voluntary leadership that is helping deliver stronger and more sustainable businesses; changing the image of the game; and delivering even more value to society.”

To become GEO Foundation certified, golfing facilities must use the OnCourse platform developed by the organisation to record practices and data around nature, resources and community. An independent verifier then assesses the logged information and schedules and on-site visit to determine certification.

The R&A sustainability director, Steve Isaac, said: “Addressing sustainability often requires behavioural change and investment in infrastructure. It takes courage for individuals at golf facilities to take the lead in promoting such activities to their managers and employers.

“Those that succeed have to be truly committed and persuasive. Sustainability Champions recognises these individuals who not only follow their conscience and do what is right, but who take action that reflects favourably on the golf business and sport itself.”

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