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20 ENVIRONMENT


GBD MARCH/APRIL 2011 GEO’s flying start for 2011


The Golf Environment Organization has got off to a flier this year in its objective of helping the industry to become greener. By Geoff Russell.


Pictured: GEO’s Jonathan Smith and BIGGA chairman Andrew Mellon


The GEO Legacy Guidance received its world debut at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit 2010 in Bangkok. (L to R) Benjamin Warren, GEO; Tom Mackenzie, European Institute of Golf Course Architects; Annika Sorenstam; Erik Larsen, American Society of Golf Course Architects and Harley Kruse, Society of Australian Golf Course Architects


I


T may have been a cold winter, especially in Scotland, but there’s not much sign that anyone involved with the Golf Environment Organization has enjoyed a significant period of hibernation. Te team concluded the year 2010 with the global launch of the


GEO Legacy Guidance for Sustainable Golf Development after giving previews of the document at both the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Bangkok and the European Golf Course Owners Association Conference in London. Written in partnership with international sustainability experts,


GEO’s pragmatic and visionary guidance reconciles the aspirations of golf investors and developers with the needs of communities, the environment and regulators. Te launch followed 18 months of research and writing, concluding


with a consultation process involving thirty of the world’s leading golf course architects, including representatives of the European, American, Australian and Japanese institutes. Te guidance is freely accessible now at www.golfenvironment. org/development/ with print versions and selected translations, in association with GEO partners, becoming available during the current year. Even before the winter snows had melted, Jonathan Smith, chief


executive officer of GEO, was heading south to Yorkshire and the invaluable early season golf business networking process that is now known as ‘Harrogate Week’. Here the GEO signed two new partnership agreements. Te British Association of Golf Course Constructors (BAGCC)


www.bagcc.org.uk agreed that the bodies should collaborate closely around the sustainability issues of golf construction and establish a common sense checklist for protecting and enhancing air, water, soil and ecology during golf development. Brian D Pierson, chairman of the BAGCC, congratulated Jonathan


on the achievements of GEO stating that: “Te BAGCC are proud of their track record of environmentally friendly course construction and are pleased to agree to a joint statement of endorsement for GEO Legacy Guidelines and looked forward to future meetings enabling them to network with other GEO partners around the world.


BIGGA and GEO announce partnership


GEO has also established a partnership with Te British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) that will see the two bodies collaborate in promoting sustainability in golf facility management. Te partnership seeks to make sustainability easier for greenkeepers and course managers to understand, and provide support for their ongoing, continual improvement efforts. BIGGA chairman Andrew Mellon said: “Tere are a number of


reasons why BIGGA has decided to work with GEO. First of all, we recognize the importance of what they stand for and what they are trying to achieve as an organization in support of greenkeepers. We see real value in widespread participation by BIGGA members in GEO Certified™. “In addition, the partnership enables us all to draw on the educational,


advisory and verification support of their emerging GEOSA Network of ‘golf ready’ sustainability professionals. Collaboration with like minded bodies brings more strength to golf’s efforts as we all move forward in an increasingly sustainability minded world.” Jonathan Smith added: “We are delighted to make this announcement after many months of discussion. BIGGA are one of the world’s largest and most respected greenkeeper associations, so their interest in, and endorsement of our work is incredibly valuable. “Since the establishment of GEO five years ago we have worked


hard to develop our flagship GEO Certified™ programme. Trough years of consultation with numerous greenkeeping associations, individual course managers and other practitioners, we have created a programme that is non-bureaucratic, independently verified, cost effective, public facing and highly credible.”


Partnerships with national golf


associations In the past few weeks GEO has entered into agreements with two national golf associations. Tis follows partnership announcments last year with the golf federations of Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands.


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