The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and The Golf Environment Organization (GEO) have established a partnership that will see the two bodies collaborate in promoting sustainability in golf facility management.
The partnership seeks to make sustainability easier for greenkeepers and course managers to understand, and provide support for their ongoing, continual improvement efforts. Through the promotion of GEO Certified™, the aim is also to enable golf facilities to attain credible and lasting recognition for ongoing environmental action and corporate responsibility.
GEO will be presented as BIGGA’s Sustainability Partner, and BIGGA will become a Golf Partner of GEO.
Speaking on behalf of BIGGA, outgoing Chairman Paul Worster said: “We want to further support our members in playing an active leadership role, productively with their management team colleagues, to make the most informed sustainability based decisions in the workplace.
“The BIGGA Board feels that GEO are extremely well placed to support our organisation and our members – strategically and practically. It gives BIGGA’s overall profile, reputation and connectivity a huge boost to partner with one of the world’s leading non-profit authorities on sustainable golf.
“In recent years we have seen GEO dedicate itself to bringing forward the kinds of solutions based guidance and programmes that will help every one of our members in the field. There’s a straightforward logic to what GEO presents, and they understand the needs and priorities of course managers extremely well.
Incoming Chairman, Andrew Mellon added: “There are number of reasons why BIGGA has decided to work with GEO. First of all, we recognize the importance of what they stand for and what they are trying to achieve as an organization in support of greenkeepers. We see real value in widespread participation by BIGGA members in GEO Certified™. In addition the partnership enables us all to draw on the educational, advisory and verification support of their emerging GEOSA Network of ‘golf ready’ sustainability professionals. Collaboration with like minded bodies brings more strength to golf’s efforts as we all move forward in an increasingly sustainability minded world.
“We know that many other companies and organisations are also critical to this effort, both current partners of BIGGA and GEO, and also potential partners. For that reason we have drafted an action plan which will enable all those who are interested to get involved and gain visibility in a cohesive approach to this important subject.”
Jonathan Smith, CEO of GEO added: “We are delighted to make this announcement after many months of discussion. BIGGA are one of the world’s largest and most respected greenkeeper associations, so their interest in, and endorsement of our work is incredibly valuable.
“Since the establishment of GEO five years ago we have worked hard to develop our flagship GEO Certified™ programme. Through years of consultation with numerous greenkeeping associations, individual course managers and other practitioners, we have created a programme that is non-bureaucratic, independently verified, cost effective, public facing and highly credible.
“We are excited by the prospect of working with BIGGA to support greenkeepers and course managers with up-to-date, common sense and practical sustainability solutions.
“We also want to move forward with positivity around this subject. Sustainability is the perfect fit for well run golf clubs – given that it’s fundamentally about resource efficiency, producing the best possible playing surfaces throughout the year, in stunning biodiverse golf landscapes, that are also clean and healthy environments – all contributing to well-known and highly regarded business in local communities. And as custodians of the great outdoors, greenkeepers have a fantastic role to play in continually helping to protect and enhance the environment that we all depend upon.”
Steve Isaac, The R&A’s Director of Golf Course Management supported the announcement: “The implementation of sustainable practices, and the benefits this brings, is made easier if organisations work in partnership. The coming together of BIGGA and GEO will produce a strong alliance and a tremendous boost to the sustainability cause. The R&A welcomes this development and looks forward to hearing more of the positive outcomes that are bound to follow.”
GEO and BIGGA will work together in the following areas:
- Communications – GEO and BIGGA will present new opinion and perspective through Greenkeeper International and via a new Sustainability Section at www.bigga.co.uk;
- Education – GEO and members of the GEOSA Network will contribute to national and regional seminars and workshops;
- Workplaced tools and programmes – BIGGA will promote GEO’s Self-Assessment and OnCourse™ guidance resources to help greenkeepers evaluate and forward plan their sustainability actions;
- Recognition for members – BIGGA and GEO will work together to encourage and incentivise participation in GEO Certified™. BIGGA will also promote the achievements of GEO Certified™ golf facilities, and especially the greenkeepers and course managers that contributed to those facilities all round high sustainability performance.