The 10th Bonallack Trophy and the inaugural Patsy Hankins Trophy get underway this week at Vidago Palace Golf Course, Portugal. Both tournaments are highlights in the Amateur calendar and this year the events will see some of the top Amateur golfers in the world compete on a course not only famed for its beauty and its challenges but also for its commitment to nature, resource efficiency and community value.
Originally built in 1936 by Mackenzie Ross, Vidago Palace was renovated by Cameron & Powell in 2010 and in 2014 it became GEO Certified®, golf’s international eco-label. A highly coveted mark, GEO Certified® represents the club’s ongoing commitment to sustainability across its operations.
From the 16th – 18th March 2016 Vidago Palace will play host to The Bonallack Trophy, which sees two teams of twelve men representing Europe and Asia-Pacific play a series of foursomes, four-ball and single matches. Played every two years this will be the 10th tournament and the first time it has been hosted at Vidago Palace. Simultaneously the inaugural Patsy Hankins Trophy will take place, running on the same format with two teams of twelve women representing Europe and Asia-Pacific. Both events are organised by the European Golf Association (EGA), a partner of GEO (the Golf Environment Organization), the not-for-profit group dedicated to supporting sustainability in golf. GEO administer the independently verified GEO Certified® eco-label.
Amongst the distinctions in Vidago Palace’s independently verified GEO Certified® report was the club’s commitment to protect nature, including their work to minimize pesticide use on site and the maintenance of natural vegetation to increase biodiversity and support pollinator species. Resource efficiency is also important to the club with initiatives including the installation of a water-conserving irrigation system and the use of solar thermal panels for water heating for showers at both the maintenance facility and clubhouse. Providing community value is an area of sustainability for which Vidago Palace has gained particular notice and in 2014 the club won the IAGTO Sustainability Award for Community Engagement. The club’s owners, UNICER, have a volunteer group through which many staff choose to take part in volunteer programmes with local communities. Positive engagement with the local community is very important to the club, from the use of local suppliers and promotion of local businesses to guests to local employment opportunities and programmes to encourage junior golf participation. Hosting international tournaments such as the Bonallack and Patsy Hankins Trophies will also bring a wide range of benefits to the local community.