2020 Australian Golf Course Sustainability Project

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association are launching a one year project to a range of Golf Courses in Australia, in conjunction with the GEO to review and tailor the OnCourse® sustainability platform for the Australian environment.  


Overview of the Sustainability Pilot Project

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association Sustainability Project, supported by both the R&A and Golf Australia, has been developed to work with 20 Golf Clubs in Australia, to understand and trial the OnCourse platform and to gather feedback from Members over the course of a year on the existing platform functions, outputs and benefits.  

Golf Clubs from around Australia are invited to express their interest in being involved in the Sustainability Project by completing the application form on the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association website.

The feedback from members and clubs involved will be used to develop an OnCourse platform tailored for Australia, and specific to Australian conditions and improving the available information relating to sustainability activities and benefits of golf courses in Australia.  

The Project will inform areas of development required to tailor the OnCourse® dashboard, data entry requirements and outputs to Australian courses, and feed a national roll out of a tailored and tested  ‘OnCourse® Australia’, as the leading support program for sustainable club and course management, and forms a critical pillar to the development of the Golf Course 2030 Program for Australia.  

 

 

The 2020 Australian Golf Course Sustainability Project is a joint program between the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association and GEO, endorsed and supported by the R&A and Golf Australia
 

As the Course Manager/Course Superintendent is the key stakeholder in many areas of sustainability and Environmental Management at a Golf Club, it is deemed critical to ensure Superintendents are leading the project at involved courses, are actively engaged and supported throughout the program to achieve the objectives.

In addition, the Sustainability Project will see a subset of the OnCourse® clubs complete the optional GEO Certified® certification process – enabling testing of the international criteria, identification of potential need for Australian criteria to be added, the approaches to verification (including on site and remote options), pricing and value proposition to clubs, and thereby tailor the GEO certification process to Australia.  All Clubs will have the ability to undertake Certification at a reduced rate, however a small number of Clubs identified throughout the Program will also be asked to undertake the Certification process to test and assess the GEO remote validation process during the Pilot at no cost. 


Sustainability as a Key Initiative

Almost all governing bodies, including Golf Australia and the R&A, consider sustainability to be a key priority for golf, and an important element of the sport’s contribution to wider society and the effect the game has on nature and resources.  Sustainability for golf is relevant to where we play and what we play on, and golf can also offer much to people who don’t play the sport. Building and managing the courses on which we play golf and on which we host golf tournaments impacts on nature, communities and resources. 

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association strongly advocates sustainability across nature, environments and vegetation, communities and resources.  Therefore in parallel, the Project will establish parameters to better understand the needs and opportunities for sustainability communications and reporting for golf in Australia, including gathering, analysis and representation of data and case studies that will demonstrate the whole value of the sport, and demonstrate productive use of land by Golf and develop resources for our continued advocacy work.  

The Project, between the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association, GEO Foundation and Golf Australia, will develop key elements of a National Sustainability Strategy for Golf in Australia, integral to the Golf Course 2030 Program, including the vision, approach and means to communicate measurable sustainability outcomes.

 

Overview of the OnCourse Program

A credible sustainability system must include Monitoring and Evaluation.  After collaborating to develop a suite of Voluntary Standards for Sustainable Golf across course, facilities and tournaments, GEO developed OnCourse® - a programme designed to tie together the Standards with a method to measure and report the progress being made by Golf toward sustainability.  

OnCourse® captures best practices, key data, and examples and can be used by golf facilities to report and develop case studies and information for members, Boards and communities.  Information is also reported by facilities who have taken the additional step to become GEO Certified®, after an independent verification. With this system for reliable, up-to-date information directly connected to the Standards, the sport can individually and collectively measure and represent golf’s progress and value at all levels.  Once developed for Australia, the tailored

OnCourse system will have the power to:

  • Identify priorities for improving performance
  • Bring a new era of transparency to the sport
  • Earn confidence from public and government groups
  • Improve golf’s image at local and global levels
  • Become an inspirational, community-engaged and high profile leader of sustainability

Additionally, GEO measures the reach of the sustainability system and strategies through monthly monitoring activities and country or region detailed reporting and analysis is established.  Real-world examples around sustainability topics, successes and improvements from facilities who are OnCourse® or GEO Certified® are collected and shared.  

 

About the GEO

GEO believe that Golf can be a leader in sustainable sport and business, universally valued for its positive role for nature and people.  For centuries, golf has been providing environmental and social value... protection of coastal zones and urban green space, air and water quality, employment, and a healthy, inter-generational sport set in ecologically-rich living landscapes.  Now, as sustainability concerns and expectations rise across all aspects of life, the golf community is well positioned to contribute more, for the welfare of nature and communities… and for the good of the game.

GEO Foundation is dedicated to delivering programmes that help people on the ground to evaluate, improve and credibly communicate their work across the agenda of nature, resources and community. 

An international golf community and industry that is:   

  • Protecting and fostering biodiversity and natural landscapes
  • Using natural resources responsibly
  • Generating positive social and economic value
  • Earning recognition and trust as a sustainable sport and leader
  • Using its reach to raise awareness for sustainability in wider world

 

How To Get Involved in the Sustainability Project

The Australian Sports Turf Managers Association is seeking expressions of Interest from Clubs looking to be involved with the Program to trial the OnCourse platform and to gather feedback from Members over the course of a year on the existing platform functions, outputs and benefits.  

Clubs looking to be involved in the Program, are encouraged to complete the Expression of Interest form below.  

For Clubs and Course Managers looking to be involved, the Project will:

  • Provide access to OnCourse Platorm free of charge
  • Host a series of “on-boarding” webinars with Clubs introducing and discussing the OnCourse platform 
  • Gather and analyse feedback, and develop sustainability scorecards for each pilot club
  • Provide support through AGCSATech Agronomists, GEO staff and Golf Australia Regional Development Officers (RDO’s) to assist clubs with the development and management of inputs
  • Provide Templates for Sustainability and Environmental initiatives and action plans 
  • Provide technical support for system requirements and issues
  • Provide Best practice checklists for course sustainability activities
  • Support the delivery of a number of OnCourse educational webinars
  • Preparation and revision of materials and feedback to develop national content to create OnCourse® Australia 

The feedback from members and clubs involved will be used to develop an OnCourse platform tailored for Australia, and develop key elements of a National Sustainability Strategy for golf in Australia, including the vision, approach and means to communicate measurable sustainability outcomes for the sport. 

Clubs looking to be involved in the Program, are encouraged to complete the Expression of Interest form below.  

Clubs will be reviewed and assessed by GEO Foundation against the pilot criteria to ensure an appropriate mix of facilities (State, Region, Size, Staff) are involved in the Project to provide a range of views, input and feedback.  

With the number of Clubs wanting to be involved forecasted to be large, there are no guarantees that all Clubs that nominate will be selected to partake in the Sustainability Project.  Expressions of Interest for involvement are required by 31st July, with successful clubs to be advised in early August. 

 

Expression of Interest Form - 2020 Australian Golf Course Sustainability Project