STRI, the world’s leading sports turf consultancy, honoured the winners of the 2014 Golf Environment Awards at Hotel Du Vin in Harrogate on Wednesday night (22nd January).
This year welcomed a new format for the awards with three winning categories; Environmental Golf Course of the Year; Conservation Greenkeeper Award and Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year. Originally launched in 1997, the awards are managed and administered by STRI with support from Justin Rose, the US Open Championship 2013 winner and official ambassador of the Golf Environment Awards.
The STRI Golf Environment Awards highlight effective and sustainable projects being managed by individual golf courses across the UK and reward the individuals that are making real improvements to their local environment and quality of life for the future. The winners from the three awards categories were revealed during BTME, Europe’s leading showcase for turf professionals and buyers.
The 2014 winners are:
- Environmental Golf Course of the Year – Dundonald Links, near Troon in Ayrshire
- Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year – Richard Owens, Boston West, Boston in Lincolnshire
- Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year – Fairhaven Golf Club at Lytham in Lancashire
The three winners each receive the trip of a lifetime to Europe and the chance to visit some of the world’s leading golf facilities and sites of specific ecological interest.
The awards are supported by a group of sponsors committed to supporting and promoting proven sustainable projects within golf clubs – Syngenta, CountyTurf, Ransomes Jacobsen, Farmura, Greenkeeping, Golf Monthly, Operation Pollinator, BIGGA and Greenkeeper International.
Each award winner showcased how environmental sustainability can work with exceptional course design to provide the perfect playing experience. Winners were selected following a rigorous inspection of over 30 UK golf clubs by STRI’s team of experts. Each entry was independently judged on demonstrable environmental achievements and outcomes.
Bob Taylor, STRI’s Ecology & Environment Manager, said: “The standard this year was higher than ever and it is abundantly clear that, amongst the clubs we visited, environmental considerations are a top priority. Eco issues are certainly a key issue for club managers as they directly influence the quality and overall playing experience of the facility.
“It is encouraging to see just how many golf clubs are ensuring that ecology and wildlife management is now an integral part of the day to day maintenance being carried out on UK courses. With our new awards format in place, this year’s winners have all displayed an unrivalled level of commitment and energy in delivering first class courses whilst successfully enhancing their own local environment at the same time.”
Frank Clarkson of Dundonald Links said: “Dundonald Links is delighted to be the recipient of the prestigious Golf Environment Awards Course of the Year 2014. We are honoured and humbled to sit amongst some of the country’s finest examples of golf clubs who embrace best practice.
“The one thing which repeatedly echoed throughout the awards ceremony was the enthusiasm for sustainable golf, deriving from not only passion for land management, but also a good understanding of social responsibility and economics. By embracing all of these factors, golf club employees are effective contributors to the business of golf.”
Richard Owens of Boston West Golf Club said: “I was thrilled to be nominated for the award, but to wake up the following morning as the UK’s Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year is certainly the highlight of my career so far. To say I’m proud is an understatement! It is clear to see that our natural world can, and is thriving alongside the day to day activities of a golf club.”
James Hutchinson of Fairhaven Golf Club commented: “I was honoured to collect the Outstanding Environmental Project award on behalf of Fairhaven Golf Club and the greenkeeping team. The format was excellent and I thank STRI and the sponsors for what was a truly great event.”
The Golf Environment Awards will continue to be run with the new format and awards structure for the 2015 awards and future years.