2009 Donald Ross Award recipient Ron Dodson made an eloquent case for golf to embrace sustainable design during his Ross Award acceptance speech at the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) 63rd Annual Meeting in Seattle.
Dodson is President of Audubon International, a group whose Golf and the Environment initiative is dedicated to “assisting golf courses become a valuable part of our conservation landscape, while building support for more eco-friendly golf throughout the industry.”
“Golf is among the best forms of sustainable development,” said Dodson. “Sustainable projects need to be as profitable as possible so that they are economically viable. Add to that environmentally sensible and socially positive and you have a very good definition of sustainability. Well-designed and well-maintained golf courses fit that definition.”
Also included in the sustainability definition is the responsible stewardship of water. Dodson said that golf should be promoted as part of the infrastructure of the watershed and that when water supplies become even more restrictive that golf courses will “stand out like a sore thumb.” He encouraged golf to be more proactive in positioning itself as the good steward it is so that it can get its fair share of water.
“Golf can be a catalyst for sustainable communities,” Dodson explained. “I think golf course architects have a great opportunity to further the golf industry as courses seek ways to become more sustainable. When the focus of golf is beyond the game and people understand the ways it can positively impact the environment and economy, it will help the game with the challenges it is currently facing.”
The Donald Ross Award is given annually by ASGCA to a person who has positively influenced the game of golf and golf course architecture. Dodson is the 34th recipient of the award, which was given for the first time in 1976 to Robert Trent Jones.