The 2021 American Society of Golf Course Architects Environmental Excellence Awards honorees have been named. Projects from three golf facilities have been cited for their work with ASGCA members in addressing unique environmental challenges. The program is presented by Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.
The Environmental Excellence Awards program was introduced in 2019 to recognize innovative work being done at golf facilities to address their environmental needs. Golf course architects work with course owners, operators and managers to positively impact the game and each facility’s host community.
The submissions were reviewed by a panel of golf industry and environmental leaders, including representatives of GEO Foundation, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and National Golf Course Owners Association.
The recognized courses are:
- Anchorage Golf Course, Anchorage, Alaska/Forrest Richardson, ASGCA and Jeff Danner, ASGCA
- Crystal Mountain Resort – Betsie Valley Course, Thompsonville, Michigan/A. John Harvey, ASGCA
- Sailfish Sands Golf Course, Stuart, Florida/John Sanford, ASGCA
“It’s great to see the unique projects recognized through the Environmental Excellence program each year,” ASGCA President Jason Straka said. “I congratulate these facilities and the cooperative efforts from operators and golf course architects to improve the environmental landscape. The long-term prospects for each to remain sustainable and profitable is increased by this work. Thanks, also, to Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply for their continued support.”
- Anchorage Golf Course, Anchorage, Alaska – Forrest Richardson, ASGCA and Jeff Danner, ASGCA
Preparing Anchorage Golf Course to host the 2022 USGA Women’s Senior Amateur Championship included a non-traditional construction plan resulting in less carbon emissions. Using local equipment, available supplies and regional labor, the Municipality of Anchorage, in cooperation with their operating lessee, completed a bunker renovation program, turf reduction and drainage plan designed to conform to the Anchorage Climate Action Plan. The combined efforts are resulting in a recharged aquifer, reduced turf footprint and carbon emissions, habitat restoration, and improved drainage.
- Crystal Mountain Resort – Betsie Valley Course, Thompsonville, Michigan – A. John Harvey, ASGCA
Course owners initiated a forestry management program on the 1,400-acre property using a local forestry contractor to open up play corridors and encourage healthy forest development. A course improvement master plan was the first step in a project that included protecting and encouraging healthy tree growth considering species desirability, health and vigor, balancing and recouping costs for vegetation management and renovations with logging monetary values, and managing golf and property impacts and constrains. The team also put forward imaginative visual and strategic treatment of the ground plain by creating sand waste areas and reshaping several tee complexes. Planning and implementation of the renovations capitalized on making the course more enjoyable for all players with new aesthetic, strategic and functional features.
- Sailfish Sands Golf Course, Stuart, Florida – John Sanford, ASGCA
Martin County sought to reduce the 18-hole footprint, remove golf holes from the adjacent airport’s Runway Protection Zone and reduce inputs required to maintain the course. The solution was a nine-hole reversible course that has 18 unique holes. Native trees and palms were preserved while nuisance vegetation was eradicated. The new reversible nine-hole course reduced overall area requiring maintenance inputs (fertilizers, chemicals, mowing, etc.) by 40 percent. Site drainage was improved by raising low areas and removing nuisance vegetation that was preventing runoff from reaching critical outfall points. Twenty acres of unirrigated native areas were preserved to further reduce the actively maintained area.