2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards honours first Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year

17 November 2016
2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards honours first Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year

South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island has been named as the first-ever Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year in the 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards.

This capped a remarkable double for the island, following on from it winning the North America Golf Destination of the Year honour in the 2016 IAGTO Awards.

The latest accolade came during the fifth IAGTO Sustainability Awards, held as part of the annual IAGTO Awards at a gala dinner attended by over 1,000 golf tourism industry professionals at the Son Amar show venue in Palma, Mallorca, on the final night of the International Golf Travel Market.

Golf courses in the USA, Kenya, Thailand and Scotland were also honoured for their efforts in the fields of nature protection, resource efficiency, community value and outstanding commitment to sustainable golf. 

The IAGTO Sustainability Awards are the culmination of a strategic partnership between global golf tourism trade organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), and GEO (Golf Environment Organization), and recognise excellence in environmental and social responsibility.

The 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners are:
Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Nature Protection: Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort, Kenya
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Community Value: Laguna Golf Phuket, Thailand
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Resource Efficiency: Pebble Beach Resorts, California, USA
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Outstanding Commitment to Sustainable Golf: Machrihanish Dunes, Scotland

Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive, said: "Once again we see an outstanding response to the IAGTO Sustainability Awards. The standard of entries gets stronger and stronger – exemplifying the commitment and positive value of golf across all corners of the globe.

“While all the entrants and shortlisted clubs deserve praise, the winners of the three regional venue awards, Great Rift Valley, Pebble Beach and Laguna Phuket, stand out for their commitment and positive impact across the three core themes of sustainable golf – nature, resources and community.

“Machrihanish Dunes, the winner of this year's inaugural Outstanding Commitment Award, have, from the course's inception through to today, worked in harmony with the natural environment.  In many ways, the Machrihanish Dunes project represents golf's turning point back towards stunning, highly naturalised courses.”

“This year, the celebration of the first-ever Sustainable Golf Destination Award is a genuine landmark for golf and golf tourism,” Smith continued.

“This award encourages golf tourism destinations around the world to find ways to increase and promote the positive social and environmental value the sport brings to their region.

“In this first year, Hilton Head Island are well deserved winners, delivering so many individual and collective actions across the destination. Our huge congratulations to them and to Teresa Wade and her team who did so much to coordinate the initiative there.

“Kudos to all of this years participants and winners, and to IAGTO for their continuing leadership to spotlight and encourage sustainability in and through golf."

IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “The addition of our new Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year Award, announced last year, has already had a terrific impact around the world by giving destinations the tools and incentive to look at sustainability across an entire region, levelling up the existing best practices in sustainability. Within only five years our Sustainability Awards have made a real difference across the globe, which is great to see.”

2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards Winners GEO citations:

Hilton Head island: Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year
“Winner of the Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year, Hilton Head Island was an outstanding entry due to both individual club and collaborative destination efforts. They demonstrated holistic sustainability through a combination of practical action and a continual commitment to future improvements and showed community partnerships to be at the heart of their work.”

Machrihanish Dunes: Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Outstanding Commitment to Sustainable Golf
“This year, in a special discretionary award, Machrihanish Dunes, in Scotland, is celebrated as a club which has shown an exemplary and ongoing commitment to sustainability and highlights the exceptional contributions or actions which have been brought to GEO’s attention through certification, media coverage and other award entries.
“Machrihanish Dunes has been selected due to its outstanding and inspiring work as a minimal impact golf course, in harmony with its natural environment. The club’s commitment and practices to use resources efficiently and provide positive community value are also showcased through this award.”

Pebble Beach Resorts: Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Resource Efficiency
“World-renowned Pebble Beach wins the Resource Efficiency category for its collaboration with seven neighbouring courses using reclaimed waste water. This project has greatly reduced the amount of waste water that previously had been discharged into Carmel Bay, contributing to the improvement of ocean water quality in this area. Furthermore, the reclaimed water meets 100% of the irrigation needs of all the golf courses in the Del Monte Forest (Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay, Peter Hay Golf Course, Cypress Point, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Poppy Hills), thus eliminating potable water usage and saving over four billion gallons of potable water for the community to date.

“In addition to this, a solar PV renewable energy project at the maintenance facility has offset 99% of the building’s annual electricity bill. The 25-year cost saving is projected to be over $900,000. The project provides a 25-year carbon footprint reduction, equivalent to planting 59,000 new trees to soak up harmful greenhouse gases; removing 335 cars from the road in greenhouse gas exhaust emissions; the elimination of trash pick-up from 81,000 homes by not sending 571 tons of waste to landfill; and the elimination of 12,000 15-gallon fill-ups by not burning 179,211 gallons of gasoline.

“Pebble Beach has also developed a recycling programme to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste in all operations, from offices and retail to the golf courses, special events, 17-Mile Drive scenic turnouts, and post-guest room recycling. These efforts annually divert over 6.46 million pounds of green waste, plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, paper, batteries, tires, paints, paint thinners, used carpets, oil filters, oil, chemicals, and more from area landfills, and reduce impact at the resort level, including biodegradable containers and use of non-toxic chemicals in housekeeping.”

Laguna Golf Phuket: Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Community Value
“Laguna Golf Phuket has been dedicated to community relations and corporate social responsibility since its establishment in 1984 within the grounds of a disused tin mine. By turning profits back into key ethically motivated purposes – cultural diversity, social equity, educational empowerment, promotion of health and sports, and environmental preservation – the resort is able to function as a community within a community, safeguarding its ecological and cultural heritage and promoting a shared prosperity.

“For this reason and the wider value it provides, Laguna Golf Phuket wins the Community Value category.”

Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort: Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Nature Protection
Driving positive ecological impacts on a large scale, Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort, in Kenya, wins the Nature Protection category for its reforestation programme alongside the Kenya Wildlife Service and Rafiki Foundation in the local Eburru community. One thousand acres of native forest will be restored this year providing valuable habitat for local wildlife, encouraging biodiversity and protecting watersheds and soil from erosion. The introduction of zebras, impalas, antelopes and reedbucks will also return a balance to the ecosystem and a more natural food-chain cycle.

• For quotes from IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners and the overall 2016 IAGTO Awards press release, click on www.iagto.com/awards.


Notes for Editors
The 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards were open to all GEO Certified® IAGTO member courses, from single course facilities to large-scale multi-functional resorts. Previous winners have included PGA National Florida, home of the PGA of America; Lumine Golf Club and La Galiana, both in Spain; Vidago Palace, in Portugal; Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico; and the Tryall Club in Jamaica. The awards have been designed so that achievements and results from the past 12 months are taken into strongest consideration, with three key areas of sustainability recognised each year – Nature, Resources and Community. Entries to the awards have grown by almost 35% since they were introduced in 2013.

IAGTO is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry, comprising more than 2,500 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, receptive operators, airlines, tourist boards, approved media and business partners in 96 countries. IAGTO operators control 87% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and their combined annual turnover exceed €2.1 billion each year.

About GEO

GEO is an international non-profit organisation, entirely dedicated to the advancement of sustainability in and through golf. Some 1,500 golf courses, clubs and resorts in 70 countries around the world now use GEO’s OnCourse® programme while golf’s global eco-label, GEO Certified® is held by 178 golf facilities. For more information, go to
www.golfenvironment.org and contact info@golfenvironment.org

Photos & logos: Photos and logos can be downloaded from: www.iagto.com/awards

Guillaume post - Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8906 3377
Website: www.iagto.com