The following article was written by guest blogger; Fraser Paterson

©Fraser Paterson, 
golf and Scottish History writer – often the two intertwine!

The United States is making great strides, enhancing sustainability levels, particularly on two of its’ main golf courses. Highlands Country Club in North Carolina and
Broken Sound Club in Florida are among the first to achieve golf’s international sustainability level, GEO Certified. This is a mark recognised by ISEAL, the worldwide association for credibility and effectiveness in this area.

Since achieving GEO Certified status in 2011 Highlands Country Club has undertaken several key projects. These include;

Renovation of the health spa with green building and water, plus water and energy conservation feature

Reduced water consumption and operational costs – by upgrading to a high efficiency variable frequency drive system and moisture meters from Toro, enabling more accurate irrigation

More cultivating of goods and materials on site, or local purchase thereof. This includes a new organic garden. This supplies the restaurant as well as utilising waste from the kitchen

Significant changes in mowing patterns. This increases natural spaces and enhances operational efficiency – including replacing some areas of maintained turf with more beehives, and wildflowers for pollinator species

Greater participation locally to increase awareness of environmental issues and efficiencies

Christian Drake, Assistant Superintendent at Highlands Country Club stated "that becoming GEO Certified has been a huge benefit in multiple aspects”.

Broken Sound Club in Florida have also increased their efforts, by taking on a leadership role in sharing the success of their sustainable operations with other municipalities and golf courses in Florida.

John Crean, General Manager said, “Attaining the prestigious … GEO Certified mark many years ago … (was a testament to their ability to) provide a (facility) that is in harmony with the natural environment and increase the habitat of indigenous species of plant and animal life".

Broken Sound Club is also the largest green space in Boca Raton City. They continue to take on an increasing number of projects to enhance the environment. New projects have included;

The planting of thousands of young trees, thereby varying the structure of the existing woodland

The introduction of more native marginal aquatic plants to enhance filtration   and improve wildlife habitats

An increase in nest boxes, built by the children of members. This has attracted 13 additional species, including painted buntings and barn owls

Collaboration with Florida State on a ten acre wildflower site with beehives.

GEO Certified is a recognised trademark of the Golf Environment Organisation which is recognised by the ISEAL Alliance, the global body for credibility in sustainability standards.


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