For the second year in a row, several Hilton Head Island golf facilities – including two designed by ASGCA Past President Clyde Johnston (Clyde Johnston Designs) – have received recognition from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). These facilities are part of the first International Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year honorees.

old-southThe award recognizes high performance and commitment across three core areas of sustainability – nature, resources and people. Two of three facilities to achieve the highest designation, Old South Golf Links and The Legends at Parris Island, were designed by Johnston.

A community collaboration for Sustainability in Golf was led by Hilton Head Island based nonprofit organization, Experience Green. “We have engaged 15 area golf facilities – the equivalent of 23 1/2 golf course – to date,” said Johnston, who serves on the Experience Green board of directors. “The initiative builds on the area’s work for sustainability, offering education, networking and support to facilities committed to advancing sustainable practices through the international eco-label for golf, GEO.”

Successes at courses include irrigation with reclaimed or surface water, wildflower plantings to support the pollinator population, and efforts to naturalize turf areas for decreased resource consumption. There is an ongoing increase in reuse of debris and materials, as well as projects that include herb gardens, vermi-culture, expansion of wildlife habitat, integration of electric powered equipment and increased engagement with the local community to grow the game of golf and host fundraising outings for local charities.

“While we do a lot for sustainability, we needed to find a way to keep score of what we are trying to accomplish. We saw the value of sustainability for our business, and we are working now on new initiatives ahead of applying for recertification in three years. We see every day as an opportunity to improve.” said Scott Adams, general manager, Old South Golf Link.