A collaboration between GEO Foundation and Scottish Golf, supported by The R&A and BIGGA, culminated in the launch of a new online sustainability platform for Scotland’s golf facilities this week.
Developed with considerable input from course and club managers, OnCourse® Scotland is now available to help club decision-makers record, monitor, and promote the work they do to foster nature, conserve resources and support the community.
Spanning all key issues including habitat and biodiversity, water, energy and materials, turfgrass, pollution prevention and community outreach, and covering course, maintenance facility and clubhouse, OnCourse enables staff, volunteers and external advisors to work collaboratively to:
Carolyn Hedley, Environment Manager at Scottish Golf said: “Having worked closely with GEO, we are pleased to now be able to launch this new platform to clubs of all sizes and types. Full of links to Scottish best practice guidance and resources that cover legislative requirements and voluntary initiatives, OnCourse fits well with the guidance and advisory support offered by Scottish Golf. We believe OnCourse will help club and course managers ensure that good sustainability decisions become even more integral to the success and profitability of the club.”
We are also excited by the ability to promote, across Scotland and internationally, a growing number of OnCourse Highlights, to show the great things that Scotland’s golf clubs already do for the environment and communities, and to use some of the anonymous data to help represent the industry’s performance and value to government, NGO’s and other strategic partners.”
OnCourse is designed to help empower golf club decision-makers to make the most of being an environmental leader in their communities, and for some, also on the international stage. With GEO Certified® as an optional step for highly credible recognition, and with a new structure and format for programme costs, golf clubs in Scotland are being offered a full suite of custom built sustainability solutions.
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of added: “We have worked hard to design a programme that brings a wide range of tangible business benefits to golf clubs. These range from education and professional development of staff; immediate cost savings; wise long-term investments; greater positive PR and community engagement; and new opportunities for local business to business sponsorships, grants and awards.
“We know from the emerging evidence that these benefits greatly outweigh the modest annual subscription fee – reduced by 25% thanks to our partnership with Scottish Golf – and which is recycled directly back into further programme development, club support, communications and relevant projects.”
Steve Isaac, Director of Sustainability at The R&A supported the launch, adding: “The R&A has been a long-term advocate of, and investor in, the international version of OnCourse. We see this as highly valuable for clubs, but also essential for the long-term image and vitality of the sport. With new and often significant challenges being posed by regulation, climate change and resource availability, golf needs a means to gather credible evidence of its performance and value, something OnCourse has been very carefully designed to do. We’d encourage clubs to use the platform, to the benefit of their course and facility, as well as to play a part in the sport’s wider success.”
James Hutchinson, Sustainability Executive at BIGGA added: “BIGGA is pleased to help guide the ongoing development of OnCourse as a member of the OnCourse Steering Group. We are excited about its potential to support course managers and their assistants, in particular, to help demonstrate just how much greenkeepers do as stewards of the environment and leaders in their communities.”
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