South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island has been named as the first-ever Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year in the 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards.
This capped a remarkable double for the island, following on from it winning the North America Golf Destination of the Year honour in the 2016 IAGTO Awards.
The latest accolade came during the fifth IAGTO Sustainability Awards, held as part of the annual IAGTO Awards at a gala dinner attended by over 1,000 golf tourism industry professionals at the Son Amar show venue in Palma, Mallorca, on the final night of the International Golf Travel Market.
Golf courses in the USA, Kenya, Thailand and Scotland were also honoured for their efforts in the fields of nature protection, resource efficiency, community value and outstanding commitment to sustainable golf.
The IAGTO Sustainability Awards are the culmination of a strategic partnership between global golf tourism trade organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), and GEO (Golf Environment Organization), and recognise excellence in environmental and social responsibility.
The 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners are:
Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Nature Protection: Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort, Kenya
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Community Value: Laguna Golf Phuket, Thailand
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Resource Efficiency: Pebble Beach Resorts, California, USA
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year – Outstanding Commitment to Sustainable Golf: Machrihanish Dunes, Scotland
Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive, said: “Once again we see an outstanding response to the IAGTO Sustainability Awards. The standard of entries gets stronger and stronger – exemplifying the commitment and positive value of golf across all corners of the globe.
“While all the entrants and shortlisted clubs deserve praise, the winners of the three regional venue awards, Great Rift Valley, Pebble Beach and Laguna Phuket, stand out for their commitment and positive impact across the three core themes of sustainable golf – nature, resources and community.
“Machrihanish Dunes, the winner of this year’s inaugural Outstanding Commitment Award, have, from the course’s inception through to today, worked in harmony with the natural environment. In many ways, the Machrihanish Dunes project represents golf’s turning point back towards stunning, highly naturalised courses.”
“This year, the celebration of the first-ever Sustainable Golf Destination Award is a genuine landmark for golf and golf tourism,” Smith continued. “This award encourages golf tourism destinations around the world to find ways to increase and promote the positive social and environmental value the sport brings to their region.
“In this first year, Hilton Head Island are well deserved winners, delivering so many individual and collective actions across the destination. Our huge congratulations to them and to Teresa Wade and her team who did so much to coordinate the initiative there.
“Kudos to all of this year’s participants and winners, and to IAGTO for their continuing leadership to spotlight and encourage sustainability in and through golf.”
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “The addition of our new Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year Award, announced last year, has already had a terrific impact around the world by giving destinations the tools and incentive to look at sustainability across an entire region, levelling up the existing best practices in sustainability. Within only five years our Sustainability Awards have made a real difference across the globe, which is great to see.”
IAGTO Awards on www.iagto.com/awards