BOCA RATON Success in golf tournaments center on the greens, and golf courses depend on maintaining a lush, green landscape.
To do so stresses the enviroment. So the sport hasn’t been able to claim to be all that green in the that regard.
Broken Sound Club and the Allianz Championship have undertaken an admirable effort to do something about that through various recycling energy conservation initiatives. The tournament and the club were lauded Saturday with a citation from the Golf Environment Council and a Florida state Senate proclamation praising their green energy initiatives.
Broken Sound last year became the first among more then 1,100 Florida golf courses and the second in the United States to earn GEO certification, part of an effort that also includes this week's tournament. The club has also earned certification by the Audobon Cooperative Sanctuary.
The Allianz has set a goal of reducing waste from 50 tons last year to zero.
“We are striving to be the greenest golf tournament on the Champions Tour,” said tournament director Ryan Dillon. “This is not a light undertaking at all. We’re not just doing this to get P.R. out of it.
“What we’re trying to do here is teach the golf world that you can do this without having raised costs that are going to take away from our charity. It can be done. We can streamline operations. It’s now becoming economically viable to be more efficient and more green without taking away from the golf tournament or the charity dollars.”
To that end the tournament partnered with the Smart Group, an organization of ecologists, scientists, educators, and academic researchers who help clients make sound decisions about environmental management.
To keep The Old Course green, an environmentally “green,” all irrigation is done with reclaimed waste water.
“It is performing a community and environmental service because this final treament of waste water is happening on the golf course. There is nothing nasty in the water that we’re irrigating with. It just that it has some elevated nutrients, which of course the grass does very well with” said Russ Bodie, a scientist with the Smart Group.
Broken Sound composts all clippings and food waste, and uses it as fertilizer on the course.
“I talked to the superintendent, and it looks like they’re going to be able to reduce their fertilizer budget and fertilizer use by about 30 percent,” Bodie said. “Not only are they taking something normally sent to the landfill, they’re using as fertilizer on the golf course.
“A lot of the power for the generators is bio diesel which is generated from used cooking oil from restaurants in the area.”
About 65 percent of the food served at the Allianz was produced in South Florida. All of the plates and utensils are plant-based and recyclable. Even the signs are made from recycled material and will be recycled.
Dillon said the goal is to send no waste from the tournament to the landfill, and to expand the effort in future years.
“Everything looks pretty much the same. Underneath the skin of everything it is compeletly different, from the plates to the forks and knives and napkins. Everything was made from recycled material and is going to be re-recycled,” Dillon said.
“We’re minimizing our carbon footprint as an event, because it is very vast. But we’re working with our vendors to try to minimize that.”
A notable first step for a South Florida club and tournament, the hope is it will fit in with a greater effort around the world. The Golf Environment Organization is attempting to mobilize 50 million golfers and 35,000 golf courses around the world to make the sport environmentally sustainable by 2020.
“Golf must take advantage of its popularity to be a catalyst for re-educating its spectator following about the importance of good environmental stewardship,” said Ralph Avallone, president of the Green Energy Council. “More courses across the land must follow suit.”