The noble issue of sustainability is not new to Royal Portrush that situated on the edge of the town of Portrush on the North Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland.
Royal Portrush Golf Club achieved for the first time the GEO Certified recognition in 2015.
Would you believe that all 10 host venues for The Open have achieved golf’s coveted global eco-label, GEO Certified?
If I were the organizer of The Open / PGA Tour / Ryder Cup /etc., I would make GEO Certified recognition as one of the preconditions.
This is something similar to what the R&A is trying to achieve by implementing its GreenLinks initiative.
It was set up with the assistance of GEO Foundation’s OnCourse® Tournaments program.
The R&A‘s GreenLinks initiative addresses a broad scope of issues across the staging of the Championship related to nature, communities, and resources.
It also addresses sustainability issues in catering, waste management, and community engagement.
Royal Portrush & GEO Certified
These sustainability initiatives of Royal Portrush really impressed me:
- Focus on Fairtrade, local and ethically sourced produce, waste management efforts. The Royal Troon Golf Club is also supporting Fairtrade.
- The Open Water Initiative: the organizers will leverage Bluewater’s unique water stations and unique reusable stainless steel bottles to enable hundreds of thousands of visitors, players, staff, and officials to enjoy on-demand freshwater without needing a plastic bottle. Some 5,000 special edition BPA-free refillable stainless steel Bluewater water bottles will be given to fans free of charge during the week of The Open. This initiative is supported by the UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign.
- An Ecological Management Plan for the ongoing management of the habitats associated with the course and its surrounds. E.g. eradication of invasive non-native species (e.g. Japanese Rose) from the two courses.
- The publication of “Royal Portrush Golf Club: A Wild Year”. It provides a visible record of the work the club, the successful outcomes in terms of biodiversity and a very engaging seasonal record of the habitats, flora and fauna present.
- Minimizing the use of chemicals and hazardous materials. Their new greenkeeping facility enables the safe storage of such materials as well as maintenance of equipment.
- All staff is trained in pollution prevention and spill kits and pollution response procedures have been prepared. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency monitors water quality in the local area and no notices of pollution or poor water quality from the club have arisen in the last 3 years.
- Golf carts have been changed to electric variants.
- All members are key up to date on GEO initiatives and sustainability measures across the club via a blog, the club website, emails, information board and meetings.