Environmental Sustainability Takes Centre Stage at IAGTO Awards

Published on : Saturday, November 16, 2013

IAGTO-300x134Following the announcement of a strategic partnership between the world’s golf tourism trade organisation, IAGTO, and the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) exactly a year ago, sustainability took centre stage at the 14th annual IAGTO Awards in Costa Daurada, Spain, last night.

Since 2000, the IAGTO Awards have become the “Oscars” of the global golf tourism industry, rewarding the best-performing golf destinations and golf resorts. At the Tarragona Placa De Toros (Bull Ring), in Tarragona, on the final night of the 16th International Golf Travel Market, 1200 golf tourism professionals from 65 countries attended the 14th IAGTO Awards Gala Dinner.

For the first time, four awards were presented to golf courses for their achievements in sustainability. There were three category winners and one overall winner:

Nature Conservation – The Tryall Club, Jamaica
Outstanding, well-informed conservation and enhancement activities make the Tryall Club clear winners in the Nature category. Their knowledge of local biodiversity and habitats is first-rate, with a deep commitment shown to the protection of landscape and ecology.

As a National Heritage Site, the Tryall Club in Jamaica works alongside government agencies and stakeholders to maintain a bio-diverse 2,200-acre property. Formerly a sugar plantation, the site now combines the management of Caribbean Sea coastline, river basin, pond and other wetland ecosystems, and dense native forest reserves with a world-class golf resort.

Efficient use of Resources – LUMINE Golf Club, Spain
Diversifying water sources, recycling treated wastewater and utilising modern, ultra-efficient technology to operate the irrigation system are highlights of LUMINE Golf Club’s winning entry. A reduction of 34% of the total irrigated area, and a plan to extend diversification into renewable energy shows their commitment to resource management.

LUMINE Golf Club will shortly undergo the verification process for GEO Certified.

Community Engagement – La Paloma Country Club, Arizona, USA
La Paloma Country Club wins the Community category with a strong focus on employee well-being and outreach projects with many local groups and organisations. Highlights include the employee volunteer committee dedicated to establishing green practices and supporting local communities through volunteering and fundraising.

In the coming weeks an independent verifier will also visit La Paloma to evaluate the club for the GEO Certified ecolabel.

Overall Winner of the Environmental Sustainability Award – Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, Florida, USA
In 2012 Ritz-Carlton, Orlando demonstrated comprehensive high performance across all aspects of sustainability – Nature, Water, Energy, Supply Chain, Pollution Control, and Community – to achieve golf’s international ecolabel GEO Certified. This continues to be the case as the club strives to improve in these areas by updating management activities and projects, further benefitting the local environment and community. Ritz-Carlton, Orlando are worthy winners of the 2013 IAGTO Sustainability Awards, and a great example of golf’s contribution to people and planet

IAGTO Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said: “Our GEO-partnered Sustainability Awards represent such an important development for IAGTO because it allows us, for the first time, both to celebrate the outstanding achievements that so many of our member golf courses have made in terms of environmental sustainability and social responsibility and encourage every tourism-related course to do even more. I congratulate these first four recipients of the IAGTO Sustainability Award and I can see the benefits snowballing from now on in terms of recognition of the efforts of so many golf courses and the encouragement it gives to others to strive even further.”

Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of the Golf Environment Organization, said: “The results of our collaboration with IAGTO are already tangible, even within the span of 12 months. Sixty IAGTO golf courses have participated in the OnCourse™ programme this year, which makes it easier to record existing activities and plan practical steps forward.

“We were hugely impressed by the myriad efforts that IAGTO courses have been undertaking to look after the environment and engage with their local communities. These awards highlight some of the most significant achievements, and showcase a much wider commitment and contribution across the industry. We look forward to working closely with IAGTO and members to bring sustainability right to the heart of the future profitability and image of golf tourism in the future.

We look forward to welcoming all IAGTO clubs into the OnCourse programme and promoting their environmental and community initiatives with GEO Certified – the ecolabel dedicated solely to sustainable golf around the world.”

Quotes from Award Winners:
Nature Conservation – The Tryall Club, Jamaica
Gerald Giarla, Managing Director, Tryall Club
“The Tryall Club is an amazing place to live, work and play and it has been that way for more than 60 years. Here at Tryall, we have a wealth of natural beauty and a rich history which the staff and members are inspired to preserve; making it the ultimate vacation destination for discerning travellers. This award from IAGTO is definitive proof that we are attaining our goal of providing luxury without sacrificing the environment. Our world-renowned golf course has remained among the best in the Caribbean for generations and through sustainable practices and plans, this treasure will remain our legacy.”

Efficient use of Resources – LUMINE Golf Club, Spain
Calle Carlsson, General Manager, LUMINE Golf & Beach Club
“We are very pleased our focused efforts in sustainability at LUMINE Golf Club are being recognised by the inaugural Sustainability Awards. Throughout our operations, sustainability remains central to our management of people, the planet and profit. Specifically, diversifying water sources, recycling treated wastewater and utilising modern, ultra-efficient technology to operate the irrigation system highlights our achievements as a sustainable golf resort. We are proud recipients of one of the first-ever IAGTO sustainability awards, which are a ground-breaking development in golf resort management.”

Community Engagement – La Paloma Country Club, Arizona, USA
Patrick Galloway, General Manager of La Paloma Country Club
“We’re all on this planet together,” stated “It is up to us to protect our environment for future generations, and support our community in every way possible. Our Associates can be proud of La Paloma Country Club and The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa for their dedication to sustaining our environment for the future. Most importantly, the staff at La Paloma has certainly worked hard to ensure we are dedicated to protecting and preserving our environment. We want our members and guests to experience our natural desert landscape for many years to come!”

Overall Winner of the Environmental Sustainability Award – Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, Florida, USA
Nathan Stith, Director of Golf, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando Grande Lakes
“Being recognised as the IAGTO’s 2014 Overall Winner for Sustainability is a special honour for our ladies and gentlemen at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. It is a testament to the golf grounds team and their genuine care for being the very best stewards of the environment. Having been Audubon International Certified and recently GEO Certified, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando has made it a priority to enhance the surrounding ecosystem and promote the native wildlife. Being the host to the PNC Father Son Challenge, from December 12-15, we are also proud to welcome back the legends of the game and their families for a memorable PGA Challenge event.”

Source:- IAGTO


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