From a press release:
St Andrews Links has become the first Open Championship venue to achieve the prestigious GEO Certified ecolabel in recognition of its sustainability commitment and achievements.
St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the seven courses at the Home of Golf including the Old Course and The Castle Course, has operated a sustainability programme for many years and this approach was described by Mike Wood, the accredited verifier, as being “close to defining an ideal model for sustainable management.”
The Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) is an international non-profit organisation, supported by stakeholders across the golf community to help build awareness and understanding, provide practical programmes and reward achievements with the GEO Certified ecolabel.
In the GEO verification report the assessor praised the Trust’s commitment to social responsibility and community engagement as well as the eco-friendly manner in which the clubhouses, retail outlets and other facilities are operated. They said that not only was the Trust nurturing a 600 year heritage as the birthplace of the game, it was a “standard bearer for 21st Century good practice in golf management.”
A number of sustainability measures at the Links were highlighted by the assessor, including:
• The high quality of the golf courses’ playing surfaces which are maintained with minimal fertiliser, chemical and irrigation inputs.
• The restoration of the distinctive dune landscape between the New and Jubilee courses, recreating a natural habitat area.
• Managing the courses in such a way as to contribute to the management of the neighbouring SSSI at the Eden Estuary.
• The comprehensive range of energy efficiency measures in operation in the clubhouses and facilities.
• The re-use of organic materials and other recycling activities.
• Working in close partnership and co-operation with the local community.
• The transformation of intensively managed mixed farmland, into a new golf course (The Castle Course) with an extensive matrix of grassland habitats.
GEO has been dedicated to supporting and promoting sustainability in golf since 2006. In the space of two years, more than 250 golf clubs in 34 countries have started the GEO OnCourse programme to achieve the GEO Certified ecolabel. St Andrews Links becomes the 50th golf facility to achieve the distinction.