Image source: Bonterra Greens the Greens
Golf courses looking to go green can look no further than Audubon International. From now until the end of this PGA season, for the first 100 golf courses that sign up at Bonterra Greens the Greens, Bonterra will pay the $200 registration fee for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, an education and management plan to improve environmental health on golf courses. Individual golfers can also get involved by taking the Green Golfer Pledge - by agreeing to clean up golf tees and other garbage as you play your way through 18 holes. You can also take the Green Golfer Pledge and win prizes for yourself and your favorite course by encouraging other golfers to go green.
Valhalla Golf Course, home of the 2008 Ryder Cup, was the first to join the program. Registrants will get a management program developed specifically for their golf course, taking into account location, resources and any liabilities. Currently 13% of the 16,000 golf courses worldwide (over two dozen countries) are in the Audubon program. The Charlie Vettiner Golf Course in Louisville, KY, a member of the program, has reduced its pesticide use by 80% and sources 95% of the water for the course from rainwater.
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program focuses on Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, Outreach and Education. Note: The program is not open to courses in California or Tennessee.
Why is Management Important?
Improving golf courses is important to Audubon International as many double as wildlife habitat. Reducing the fertilizers and chemicals used keeps those toxins out of the water supply, not to mention reduces exposure. Better maintenance of the courses can improve water and energy efficiency, which saves money and resources. "No mow" areas on courses encourage wildlife like deer, foxes. Most plans take between one to three years to fully adopt, at which time Audubon certifies the course as a green golf course.
Bonterra, the largest producer of wine made from organic grapes, has a long history of environmentally-friendly practices at their facilities and has been a leader in educating other wineries in going green.