Having recently been announced as the host for the 2019 Open Championship, Royal Portrush now has another accolade; GEO Certified® status. The certification is administered and assured by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO), the not-for-profit group dedicated to sustainability in the golf industry. The standard is independently verified and publicly reported, making it a credible and significant distinction.
Although Royal Portrush has only witnessed one Open on its spectacular Dunluce Links to date, in 1951, it has seen more than 50 national championships, both British and Irish, being played out through its dramatic dunescape. To accommodate The Open in 2019, the 17th and 18th holes on the Dunluce Links have had to be sacrificed to the Spectator Village, but the Club’s golf course architects, Mackenzie & Ebert, have identified ground within the dunes which will enhance the challenge that will face the world’s best golfers. Course Manager, Graeme Beatt, who is overseeing the changes, is providing updates on progress on the Club’s blog, which can be accessed here.
In his online report, Matt Johns, the GEO Accredited Verifier, commented positively on the Club’s approach to sustainability, “Royal Portrush is delivering a wide range of positive environmental measures including nature conservation, water management, supply chain, its communities, energy and waste management. The scale, level of effort and attention to detail given to the conservation of the dune habitat was inspiring. The use of technology and measured field data to inform water management across the course was excellent to see. The value the Club places on its local community and how it can positively contribute to the local economy, education and employment is to be commended. The positive approach to environmental best practice is led by the senior management team and present throughout the Club.”
Reacting to the award, the Club’s Secretary, Wilma Erskine, said, “What a year! Knowing that The Open is returning to Royal Portrush in 2019 was a real incentive to work through the GEO process. We quickly realised that most of our practices were already meeting the GEO criteria, the real challenge was to collate the paperwork to help us through the verification process. The management team here relish a challenge, and we are delighted to receive recognition of our efforts.”
Graeme Beatt added, “Whilst it meant extra work, on top of the course development, going through the GEO system reinforced our views of best practice and achieving the certification is a clear statement by the Club of its commitment to sustainability.”