Four golf venues in Italy, Portugal, Oman and New Zealand have won accolades in the 2019 IAGTO Sustainability Awards.
The IAGTO Sustainability Awards represent the pinnacle of a strategic partnership between global golf tourism trade association IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) and nonprofit golf sustainability body, the GEO Foundation, and recognise excellence in environmental and social responsibility.
They were announced as part of the annual IAGTO Awards at a gala dinner attended by 1,200 international golf tourism delegates at the Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre at the end of the 21st International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana.
Northern Portugal’s Vidago Palace becomes only the second Special Award recipient.
The other three 2019 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners are:
IAGTO Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency: Gardagolf Country Club, Italy
IAGTO Sustainability Award for Community Value: Al Mouj Golf, Oman
IAGTO Sustainability Award for Nature Protection: Jack’s Point Golf Club, New Zealand
Jonathan Smith, GEO Foundation Chief Executive, said: “Once again we have found ourselves reviewing an outstanding and inspiring set of golf facilities dedicated to sustainability in and through golf. The winners this year highlight the fact that sustainability takes many forms within golf in different locations and has the potential to improve the land and the lives of people who come into contact with it. We would like to congratulate the winners and thank all the facilities which always make these awards such a difficult, but enjoyable decision-making process each year.”
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton added: “I am delighted with the impact that our Sustainability Awards have made over the five years since 2014. Our focus on resource efficiency, nature protection and community engagement is designed to both encourage best practice in these specific areas and also allow us to flag up some of the really tremendous achievements that so many of our member golf courses are making in all aspects of sustainability. Since we teamed up with the GEO Foundation back in 2012 more than 180 of our golf courses have enrolled in GEO’s new OnCourse® programme and we are committed to keeping environmental sustainability, economic viability and sustainable growth at the heart of the golf tourism industry.”
2019 IAGTO Sustainability Awards Winners GEO citations:
Vidago Palace: Special Award for Outstanding Commitment to Sustainable Golf
“This year for only the second time, in an occasional special discretionary award, Vidago Palace Golf Course, in Portugal, is celebrated as a club which has displayed an exemplary and ongoing commitment to sustainability, showcasing the exceptional contributions or actions which have resulted in the facility’s recently renewed GEO Certified® status among other media coverage, national and international recognition and awards participation. Vidago Palace has been selected due to its outstanding and inspiring work as a minimal impact golf course, in harmony with its natural environment. The facility’s commitment and practices to use resources efficiently, enhance the already sensitive landscape and provide positive community value are also highlighted through this award.”
Al Mouj Golf, Oman: IAGTO Sustainability Award for Community Value
“For its outstanding charitable work and social inclusivity programmes, Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman, wins this year’s Community category for demonstrating just how beneficial golf can be to local people and tourism, and how valuable the game is to businesses in the greening of the industry’s supply chain. Annual charity events for autism helps raise significant money and awareness; flexible golf days and membership categories make golf available to all; coaching and junior programmes encourage the next generation of players; multi-functional facilities place golf side by side with other healthy pursuits and lifestyles; and supporting local farmers with native vegetation waste for camel feed – all of which makes Al Mouj a clear leader and champion for sustainability in golf.”
Jack’s Point Golf, New Zealand: IAGTO Sustainability Award for Nature Protection
“Jack’s Point Golf, in New Zealand, wins the 2019 Nature category due to its extraordinary preservation of the breathtaking natural landscape. Completed in 2008, the course construction was so sensitive that only 5% of the entire 3,000-acre site will ever be touched. A range of natural materials were utilised, with recycled on-site materials incorporated as much as possible, including local wood and stone. Man-made structures were sited appropriately below sight lines and away from natural bluffs and elevated areas. Legislation was in place to ensure the open grassland habitat and rocky terrain (appropriately named ‘The Remarkables’ mountain range) will always be protected and the club is absolutely committed to the preservation of the environment. Wetland habitats were created and existing ones regenerated with improved water quality, previously degraded by pollution from livestock farming. The course has its own irrigation supply and waste water treatment system.”
Gardagolf Country Club, Italy: IAGTO Sustainability Award for Resource Efficiency
“Following a hugely successful Italian Open this year, where sustainability visibility was at the forefront, Gardagolf Country Club has been selected as the Resources category winner for 2019. A new ultra-modern irrigation system was recently installed for precise and minimal applications to the required playing surfaces only. Over the past year course management has been free of any pesticides, in preparation for an increasingly organic approach to turfgrass health. Energy consumption is closely monitored, which greatly assists in resource management decisions and future investments in technology. Course management also keeps a keen eye on increasing no/low maintenance out-of-play areas to boost the available space for habitats and biodiversity.”
Over 1,500 golf facilities worldwide have participated in GEO’s OnCourse® programme dedicated to sustainability, with 244 GEO Certified® facilities in 29 countries to date.
The 2019 IAGTO Sustainability Awards shortlist in full:
Mission Hills Haikou, China
Prince's Golf Club, England
Le Golf National, France
Golf de la Sainte Baume, France
Golf du Rhin, France
Terre Blanche Golf, France
Golf de Servanes, France
Golf d'Hardelot, France
Is Arenas Golf & Country Club, Italy
Terme di Saturnia Golf Club, Italy
Golf Club Varese, Italy
Golf della Montecchia, Italy
Golf Club La Pinetina, Italy
Golf Club Carimate, Italy
Gardagolf Country Club, Italy
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, Mexico
Remuera Golf Club, New Zealand
Royal Wellington Golf Club, New Zealand
Jack's Point Golf, New Zealand
Al Mouj Golf, Oman
Belas Clube de Campo, Portugal
Vidago Palace Golf Course, Portugal
Castle Stuart Golf Links, Scotland
Machrihanish Dunes Golf Club, Scotland
Dundonald Links, Scotland
Lumine Golf Club, Spain
Oliva Nova, Spain
La Galiana, Spain
Club Golf d'Aro Mas Nou, Spain
PGA Catalunya Resort, Spain
Emirates Golf Club, Dubai
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai
PGA National, Florida
For comments and press releases from 2019 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners and the overall 2019 IAGTO Awards press release, click on www.iagto.com/awards.
Notes for Editors
The IAGTO Sustainability Awards are open to all IAGTO members, from single course facilities such as Dundonald Links in Scotland, to the largest scale multi-functional resorts such as Mission Hills in China, and from professional tournament venues such as Emirates Golf Club in the UAE, to member and guest facilities such as Hardelot Golf Club, in France. Showing the depth and breadth of entries to the awards, previous winners have included: Pebble Beach, host of numerous US Open major championships; Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort, in Kenya, a quickly developing golf destination; Laguna Golf Phuket, in Thailand; and Machrihanish Dunes, in Scotland, a rugged traditional links at the heart of the local community and ecology. 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.
Established in 1997, IAGTO is the global trade organisation of the golf tourism industry, and has over 2700 members in 105 countries including more than 690 golf tour operator members in 64 countries, which control more than 87% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and which collectively have annual sales of over €2.1 billion. IAGTO runs annual Asia and North America Golf Tourism Conventions, along with regular Destination Conventions. IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Market, now owned and operated by Reed Travel Exhibitions, in 1997 and the International Golf Travel Writers Association in 2000. IAGTO also runs the prestigious annual IAGTO Awards.
About GEO Foundation, GEO Certified® and OnCourse®:
GEO is an international non-profit foundation, based in Scotland. Entirely dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf, GEO works collaboratively to develop programmes and solutions that support industry performance and provide credible recognition across facility management, new developments and tournaments. To date 1500 golf facilities in over 100 countries have participated in GEO’s OnCourse® programme – golf’s easy to use, practical platform for sustainability. 244 facilities in 29 countries are GEO Certified® – demonstrating outstanding stewardship of nature, efficient use of resources and value to the community. A growing number of international and national golf associations are now partnering to regionalise and promote OnCourse® as a support programme to their member clubs, gathering important industry metrics across nature, resources and community in the process.
Photos & logos can be downloaded from: www.iagto.com/awards
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