The Swedish Golf Federation (SGF) has taken to GEO Certification in a big way. Not simply content with boasting the first two GEO Certified golf clubs anywhere in the world – Ljunghusens GK and Forsgardens GK – the Federation’s environment and agronomy teams have successfully concluded a series of workshops that introduced over seventy greenkeepers, environmental committee members and club managers to the all-new GEO Certification programme.
With 150 member facilities currently participating in the SGF’s national environmental programme, endorsing and promoting GEO Certification as the mechanism for long-term recognition is viewed as the natural progression. It is also hoped that the credibility and efficiency of the programme will inspire some of the further 300 Swedish golf clubs to start structuring their environmental efforts and communicating the outcomes.
Setting green benchmarks has become somewhat habitual for the Scandinavian nations. The golf sector is enthusiastically maintaining its end of the bargain and both Danish and Norwegian delegations were in attendance at the Swedish workshops.
Maria Strandberg, Director of R&D at the SGF, is delighted by the turnout and positive feedback from delegates, “The SGF has been actively supporting the development of GEO Certification for a number of years. Formal endorsement of the programme is the logical conclusion to this process. It’s clear that both the federation, and the reputation of Swedish golf as a whole, stands to benefit a great deal from a strong base of participation across the country.”
“The transparency and objectivity of GEO certification is exactly what the golf federations needs to help drive and communicate credible environmental work. The SGF would like to see all 150 Swedish golf facilities that have achieved its own environmental award progress towards full GEO Certified status – thus encouraging continual improvement and communicating their environmental work widely.”
Since the launch of the programme at the BMW PGA Championship in May 2009, GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith is pleased to see steady uptake around Europe and beyond.
“Proactive golf federations are recognising the benefits of promoting GEO Certification to their member clubs,” he said. “For a cost / time investment as low as simply inviting interested member facilities to attend a half-day workshop, greenkeepers and club managers can reap the benefits of receiving a hands-on introduction to the programme.
“While the concept behind GEO Certification is simple, many of the individuals expected to work with the system will be publishing information on the Internet for the first time. Taking this leap into public representation of environmental work is a big step for many. GEO applauds the SGF for encouraging uptake among its members and supporting them as they drive on to achieve recognition.
Golf Environment Organisation www.golfenvironment.org
Swedish Golf Federation www.sgf.golf.se