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Second Open Championship venue achieves environmental certification

Carnoustie accredited by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO).

The 18th green of the Carnoustie Championship Course during The Open 2007.  

Carnoustie Golf Links  has become the second Open Championship venue to be certified by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO), following on from St Andrews Links Trust in 2011.  The GEO certification was awarded after Carnoustie Golf Links proved it had met a wide range of stringent standards in areas such as nature conservation, water conservation, energy usage and pollution control.  The award also recognises that Carnoustie Golf Links is committed to continual improvement in a wide range of sustainable practises moving forwards.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, commented: “The R&A has encouraged all Open Championship venues to obtain GEO certification.  We are delighted that Carnoustie has joined St Andrews in being able to demonstrate responsible environmental stewardship through gaining the GEO award.”

A comprehensive Ecological Management Plan was introduced in 2007 for all three Carnoustie courses, and the town’s Championship course also receives an annual Ecological Assessment by the STRI on behalf of The R&A in accordance with its position on The Open rota.

“We were happy to oblige with The R&A’s wishes and are delighted to obtain GEO certification, which is the result of our commitment to sustainable management of the links”, confirmed Graeme Duncan, General Manager of the Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee (CGLMC).

He added: “We implement a wide range of sustainable practices that are of benefit to the Links and the wider community as a whole.”

Carnoustie staff
Carnoustie’s Links Superintendent and Head Greenkeepers from left to right, Colin Law (Head Greenkeeper Burnside), Sandy Reid (Links Superintendent), Steve Mitchell (Head Greenkeeper Buddon Links) and Craig Boath (Head Greenkeeper Championship).

The GEO has recognised that Carnoustie’s recent OnCourse™ Survey “provides evidence of solid and growing commitment by the CGLMA to wider sustainability issues. Progress to date, implemented through a dedicated environmental sub-group, is considered to form a very sound basis for continued improvement.”
The GEO Verifier’s Report highlighted a number of key achievements, including:

  • the removal of introduced tree plantations of non-indigenous species to restore a true links landscape
  • continued high standards of low-input maintenance of turfgrass swards
  • the highest environmental standards were implemented during a recent development project on the Buddon course
  • a highly efficient irrigation system sourced from natural groundwater
  • a recent energy audit providing the basis for a significant reduction in consumption
  • intelligent conservation and re-use of on-site soil resources providing substantial savings in resource consumption
  • the pivotal role of the Links in the Angus economy as one of its key tourism assets
  • the direct partnership with the community through the relationship between the Links Management Committee and Angus Council, creating a strong awareness in the community of the Links as good environmental stewards.

A comprehensive Executive Summary of the GEO’s report on Carnoustie Golf Links can be found on the organisation’s website at www.golfenvironment.org