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Golf awards highlight environmental excellence.

James Hutchinson, Fairhaven Golf Club’s Ecology Manager, explains their wildflower enrichment programme.  

It is that time of year when the red carpet is rolled out and Hollywood’s finest get to applaud the great work of their peers.  The movie world is not the only industry that recognises achievement and recent awards in the golf sector demonstrate its awareness of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

STRI, the world’s leading sports turf consultancy, recently honoured the winners of the 2014 Golf Environment Awards.  Originally launched in 1997, the awards are managed and administered by STRI with support from Justin Rose, the US Open Championship 2013 winner and official ambassador of the Golf Environment Awards.

The STRI Golf Environment Awards highlight effective and sustainable projects being managed by individual golf courses across the UK and reward the individuals that are making real improvements to their local environment and quality of life for the future.  The 2014 winners are:

  • Environmental Golf Course of the Year – Dundonald Links, near Troon in Ayrshire.  Dundonald will co-host with Prestwick the R&A Boys Amateur Championship in 2014
  • Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year – Richard Owens, Boston West, Boston in Lincolnshire
  • Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year – Fairhaven Golf Club at Lytham in Lancashire, which hosted the R&A Junior Open in 2012.

Each award winner showcased how environmental sustainability can work with exceptional course design to provide the perfect playing experience.  Winners were selected following a rigorous inspection of over 30 UK golf clubs by STRI’s team of experts. Each entry was independently judged on demonstrable environmental achievements and outcomes.

Amanda Dorens

Amanda Dorans, co-ordinator of the enivronment programme at Dundonald, STRI Environmental Golf Course of the Year.

Frank Clarkson of Dundonald Links said: “Dundonald Links is delighted to be the recipient of the prestigious Golf Environment Awards Course of the Year 2014. The one thing which repeatedly echoed throughout the awards ceremony was the enthusiasm for sustainable golf, deriving from not only passion for land management, but also a good understanding of social responsibility and economics. By embracing all of these factors, golf club employees are effective contributors to the business of golf.”

James Hutchinson of Fairhaven Golf Club, and an R&A Greenkeeping Scholar, commented: “I was honoured to collect the Outstanding Environmental Project award on behalf of Fairhaven Golf Club and the greenkeeping team. The format was excellent and I thank STRI and the sponsors for what was a truly great event.”

For more information on the STRI 2014 Golf Environment Awards, visit the STRI website.

Fairhaven Golf Club, winner of the STRI Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year





The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and Golf Digest have also been handing out awards.  Winners of their 2013 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards (ELGA) include:

  • The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tennessee, has decreased irrigation by 9 million gallons per year and saved $30,000 a year in reduced fungicide and fertiliser applications since converting the greens to Champion ultradwarf bermudagrass in 2003 and naturalising 50 acres in 2005
  • Mountain Ridge, Thompsonville, Michigan who developed a compost tea which is applied to greens, resulting in a reduction in the use of fungicides and growth regulators applied.  Their energy conservation plan saved $5,000 in electrical costs, and Mountain Ridge uses only electric golf cars for play and bio-diesel for on-site equipment
  • The International award went to Pheasant Run Golf Club, Sharon, Ontario, Canada, where pests are monitored daily and spraying is considered a "last resort".  Thanks to the use of wetting agents and a soil moisture meter, as part of a water conservation programme, total volume of irrigation water used decreased by 23% in 2012, with an additional 21% reduction in 2013.

GCSAA President Patrick R Finlen commented, "This year's winners, along with their facilities, are proof that not only can golf courses be compatible with the environment, but in many cases they can enhance it."

Winners of the ELGA programme will be featured in an upcoming issue of Golf Digest magazine and GCSAA's Golf Course Management magazine.

For the complete list of winners, visit the Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG) website.