Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Growing the Game Through Environmental Stewardship

Believe it or not it is possible to help grow the game of golf by practicing environmental stewardship on your golf course. Check out Rick's latest article at

Friday, September 4, 2009

Arbutus Ridge Growing Green

I have recently finished conducting a site assessment for Arbutus Ridge Golf Club (a member of Golf BC) located in Cobble Hill, BC. and was very pleased to see the commitment towards environmental sustainabilty being put forward by the management and staff of the golf club.

Arbutus Ridge is a beautiful golf course with some great golf holes and most importantly a team of professional who recognize the importance of sustainability in the golf industry. The purpose of my work was to help General Manager Jason Lowe and Course Superintendent Ron Olaussen with certification in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Currently, Arbutus Ridge is certified in Environmental Planning and Wildlife and Habitat Management with other certifications too follow shortly.

Jason Lowe and Assistant Superintendent Trevor Jones have formed a Greening Committee to help with not only Audubon Certification but also to develop and grow an environmental plan. The committee consists of staff members from each department of the golf course as well as interested members of the course and community. The management at Arbutus Ridge is certainly on the top of their game when it comes to environmental responsibility.

I am not saying that they do not have some work to do. What I am saying is that they are certainly headed in the right direction and should be regarded as leaders in the golf industry in BC, due to their drive to become more environmentally friendly.

While the Audubon program is designed to recognize maintenance practices for their environmental due diligence, Lowe has taken it one step further and is working towards environmental sustainability for all departments at Arbutus Ridge.

Olaussen and Lowe certainly face some challenges at Arbutus Ridge before they can be designated as a Certified Audubon Sanctuary. The main challenge before them is convincing members that part of maintaining an environmentally friendly golf facility is allowing out-of-play areas to naturalize. These areas receive very little play and it costs a considerable amount of money to keep them maintained. Letting these areas naturalize will not only save money but is also good for the environment.

The same goes for buffer zones around water bodies. Ideally, any areas within 25 feet of water should be left to grow to a minimum of 3 inches. This height of cut has proven to reduce the amount of runoff carrying contaminants that will enter the water.

I am certain that within the next 12 months Lowe, Olaussen and Jones will see to it that Arbutus Ridge Golf Club becomes fully certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctary Program for Golf Courses, which will make them the first of the Golf BC courses to do so.