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Two Big Steps for Sustainability in Golf

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The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Association (FEGGA) has developed a new strategy for sustainable golf course management and San Francisco’s Olympic Club has become the first club in North America to release a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report.

FEGGA’s 24 European national greenkeeping organisations will promote and endorse the association’s plan, which ’embraces golf’s potential to produce multiple benefits for nature and man’.

The plan outlines a three-dimensional sustainability strategy for the industry.

It focuses on achieving positive results in resource consumption, biodiversity, waste, pollution and extent of managed turf.

Other areas include research and education, and improving transparency and developing community outreach.

Olafur Thor Agustsson, Chairman of FEGGA, said: “This is the first time that the daily practitioners of golf’s grassroots movement agree on a strategy for such an important aspect of our industry’s future”.

FEGGA has released a document showing how progress will be monitored and how awareness of the strategy will be raised.

Steve Isaac, Director of Sustainability at R&A, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see the greenkeeping profession in Europe, through FEGGA, promoting sustainability for golf course management…The R&A has led this cause, but only the implementation of accepted best practice by the professionals who care for our golf courses, and transparent reporting through systems such as OnCourse, will convince everyone that the sport can bring economic, environmental and social benefits.”

In addition, the R&A will host two Sustainability in Golf seminars in Japan and Korea, exploring sustainable practice to encourage responsible and practical golf facility development, renovation and course management and a wide range of issues including the social and environmental opportunities and threats facing the development and management of golf facilities.

Elsewhere in the golf community, San Francisco’s Olympic Club has become the first club in North America to release a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, detailing transparency in operations related to the environment, community, and economy as well as showing the aesthetics, performance, and playability of a top 100 course.

Read the full article here.

Waste Management Phoenix Open Named “Inspire” Event by Council for Responsible Sport

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The Council for Responsible Sport, an Oregon-based non-profit promoting sustainability in sports, has named the Waste Management Phoenix Open as an Inspire event following four-consecutive zero waste tournaments. Inspire event status is given after achieving multiple certifications to recognize the legacy that sporting events committed to sustainability and thoughtful resource management provide to their audiences and communities.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the first PGA TOUR tournament and the largest sporting event in the world to achieve Inspire status. Only two other events have achieved Inspire status, including the Eversource Hartford Marathon in Connecticut and Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Both events gained Inspire status in 2016.

“The Waste Management Phoenix Open has demonstrated true leadership in producing responsible sporting events and in the process, is inspiring other events to improve their social and environmental performance,” said Shelley Villalobos, Managing Director of the Council for Responsible Sport.

Inspire events provide important sustainability metrics and are expected to share their story with fellow event organizers. Inspire event organizers are also asked to mentor other Council-affiliated events on aspects of their responsible sport program. This year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is providing mentorship to the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) to pilot a new sustainable golf tournament certification, GEO Certified, which builds on the Council for Responsible Sport’s framework. Through this project, the Waste Management Phoenix Open strives to support other golf tournaments in their pursuit of sustainable best practices and inspire other golf tournaments around the world to become GEO Certified. Inspire events have earned the right to be recognized industry-wide as leaders in responsible sport through their commitment to continuous improvement and transparency and are ready to share what they have learned as champions for a healthier world.

Read the full press release here.

The Olympic Club Becomes First Golf Club in North America to Publish a Corporate Social Responsibility Report

One of America’s oldest private athletic clubs redefines what it means to be a top 100 club

Demonstrates 89% recycled water use, 76% waste diversion rate, and more than $600,000 in corporate giving in 2015


SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 4, 2017) The Olympic Club, based in San Francisco, host of five U.S. Opens and one of America’s oldest athletic clubs, released its 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report today, sharing its progress toward environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The report, developed in collaboration with IMPACT360 Sports, a women-owned independent third party, marks the first comprehensive CSR report in North America within the golf industry, redefining what it means to be a top 100 course and athletic club.

The Olympic Club ranked 33rd on Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Courses” list in 2015 and has attained ranking every year since 1966. With today’s announcement, The Club elevates its status as the first U.S. course to publish a CSR report showing transparency in operations related to the environment, community, and economy – while exhibiting the aesthetics, performance, and playability of a top 100 course.

“We hope to display leadership in the sports industry, and golf industry in particular, to be good stewards of the environment, while promoting community engagement, and making a positive economic impact,” said The Olympic Club General Manager Pat Finlen. “We want to grow the game of golf and our 17 other sports within the Club; and we are committed to doing it in a sustainable manner.”

According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association, recycled water accounts for 25 percent of all water used on golf courses in the United States. The Olympic Club reports that recycled water accounts for 89 percent of water used at its athletic club and golf courses combined, with recycled water accounting for 97 percent of water used at its golf course alone.

“Our Board is proud of the connected culture we have at The Olympic Club, which includes our 10,440 members, 450 employees, and partners,” said The Olympic Club Board President John A. Espiritu. “It takes all of us working together to achieve 89 percent recycled water use and a 76 percent waste diversion rate, while helping more than 100,000 children in our communities.”

With golf re-entering the Olympics in 2016 and a growing opportunity to engage the millennial market segment, there is a heightened focus on the environment and increasing diversity within the sport worldwide.

“With more than 15,000 courses in the United States, The Olympic Club is elevating its commitment to the environment, diversity, and community within an industry that needs to embrace sustainability to grow the game,” said IMPACT360 Sports Co-Founder Aubrey McCormick. “As a former professional golfer, I am particularly proud of The Olympic Club. Fans and future golfers are going to align with athletes and courses that share their values. CSR reporting and sustainability will be increasingly important.”

Read the full press release here.