Links to Sustainability - The Sustainable Golf Campaign

SGD and AL believes that now is the time for the golf course industry to embrace the leadership opportunities associated with both insuring a sustainable future for the game of golf, and also for our planet.

College Park, MD, April 24, 2010 --( Audubon Lifestyles (AL) a not-for-profit sustainability organization announced today the launch of Links to Sustainability - The Sustainable Golf Campaign. The effort is aimed at both promoting and positioning golf as an important part of the movement toward a more sustainable society, but to encourage the golf course industry to become more proactively engaged in the sustainability movement.

W.R. (Bill) Love, long-time Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the American Society of Golf Course Architects and a Principal of SGD also announced today that SGD is joining AL as a strategic partner in the Campaign.

Love said, “A sustainable golf facility is an economically sound business that provides safe, healthy and enjoyable environments for all employees, members, visitors, and guests. A sustainable golf facility is sited, designed, and constructed in ways that enhances the local community, and reduces or eliminates its impact on natural resources. It is managed in ways that provides a balance between optimum playing conditions for golfers, and good stewardship of the environment. Management strategies are based upon scientifically sound site specific best practices that improves the quality of all life on the site, regionally, and beyond. Through outreach and education a sustainable golf facility is a champion and advocate of sustainability.”

The issues faced by the golf course industry today are wide and varied. Economic conditions are a driving force for the future of the industry. While many factors that drive economic conditions are beyond the scope of an individual course manager, those economic factors nevertheless go hand-in-hand with environmental management opportunities that are available and accessible to course management. R. Eric Dodson, President and CEO of Audubon Lifestyles said, “The relationship between economic, environmental and social concerns is not always intuitively obvious, but the three issues are nevertheless intimately connected.”

Science states that sustainability is a characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a certain level indefinitely. The term, in its environmental usage, refers to the potential longevity of vital human ecological support systems, such as the planet's climatic system, systems of agriculture, industry, forestry, and fisheries, and human communities in general and the various systems on which they depend.

In recent years an academic and public discussion has led to the use of the word sustainability in reference to how long human ecological systems can be expected to be usefully productive. Observers point out that in the past, complex human societies have died out, sometimes as a result of their own growth and associated impacts on ecological support systems. The implication is that modern industrial society, which continues to grow in scale and complexity, might also collapse. The implied preference would be for systems to be productive indefinitely, or be sustainable.

Love and Dodson both agree that the golf industry is at a crossroads. “While much has been accomplished during the past 2 decades concerning golf course, planning, design and management regarding environmental quality, the industry like everyone else is gripped by economic uncertainty. In many regards it is past unsustainable business practices that have led us to the present state of the global economy. But in the face of this economically uncertain time, there is opportunity for the golf course industry to build upon our previous environmental improvements and become leaders in the more recent movement connected with sustainability,” said Love. Sustainability is focused on the “triple-bottom line” of people, profit and planet. Plainly spoken that means we must focus on social issues, monetary issues and environmental issues both locally and globally.

“While we must use natural resources for the benefit of the present generation, we must be stewards of the environment so that future generations also have the necessary resources to live. This stewardship must also be undertaken with the knowledge that there is a growing population on a global basis. It also means that we absolutely must put economic value on ecological services. We can no longer act as if clean air and water is free,” according to Dodson. The ecological services of Planet Earth are worth billions and billions of dollars. If people try to replicate what an ecosystem does, just to get clean water for example, the costs would be staggering.

SGD and AL believes that now is the time for the golf course industry to embrace the leadership opportunities associated with both insuring a sustainable future for the game of golf, and also for our planet. The first step in Links to Sustainability will be to promote adoption of the Sustainable Golf Facilities Pledge, which Audubon Lifestyles will be distributing throughout the golf industry. SDG and AL have also prepared a 14 page White Paper on the Sustainable Golf Campaign which is available as a download on the SGD and AL websites.

Audubon Lifestyles
R. Eric Dodson
35246 US Hwy 19 #299
Palm Harbor, FL 34683