Old South Golf Links Celebrates Sustainable Golf Recognition
Famed amongst visitors for its natural beauty, towering oaks and abundant wildlife, Old South Golf Links, South Carolina, has become the second club in the Hilton Head area to gain the GEO Certified® ecolabel. This coveted mark not only recognizes the club’s work to protect the nature for which its known, but also its efficient use of resources and its strong community links.
“GEO Certified® clubs show a continuing and real commitment across the pillars of sustainable golf: nature, resources and community.” explains Teresa Wade, the independent verifier who carried out the third party GEO Certified® assessment of Old South. “Old South Golf Links is very deserving of this coveted accolade, it is clear that the staff is dedicated to embedding and improving sustainability on and off the course. The culture of family within the organization continues into their interaction with the local community and the team works hard every day to improve operational efficiencies, optimize resources and increase environmental stewardship.”
Recognized by Golf Digest as one the the “Top Ten New Public Courses” in 1992 Old South Golf Links is often referred to as the locals’ golf course: locally owned, locally designed and locally operated, and has a reputation for accessibility and friendliness.
“The Club’s commitment to providing value to the local community particularly stands out,” continues Ms. Wade, who is also founder of Experience Green, a Hilton Head Island not-for-profit organization with the mission to advance sustainability. “Local residents are offered reduced greens fees to play on the course, a rarity in the area. The facility also works closely with the Hilton Head Island Humane Society, and over the last 14 years has hosted annual events for Palmetto Electric to benefit the Bright Ideas program to support local schools. The club also hosts a local Junior Golf program and regularly has interns gaining valuable work experience.”
Further highlights in the club’s GEO Certified® report include decreasing their water use by over 1 million gallons per year since 2010,investing in energy efficient equipment, and daily monitoring of weather and resource consumption. Furthermore, the course was designed initially to optimize and harmonize with its many natural landscape variations, and hosts more than 100 acres of native woodlands, wetland and open water features, important habitats for local wildlife which are linked together across the site.
Scott Adams, General Manager, of Old South Golf Links said, “We are all very proud of our accomplishment in becoming a GEO Certified® club, the second club to do so in South Carolina . We take our responsibilities very seriously and truly love what we do. A couple of years back Experience Green hosted the Sustainability in Golf symposium at neighboring Sea Pines Resort, also a GEO Certified® club. At that conference I recognized that while we do a lot at Old South, we needed to find a way to keep score of what we are trying to accomplish. The free OnCourse program managed by GEO does just that in a format that makes you think, document, and look for ways to improve on sustainability. Becoming GEO Certified® has given us very valuable and credible recognition; it has been a great morale boost for the team and tool to enhance club image. The Hilton Head area golf business is very competitive, and we are all under increasing economic pressure; we saw the value of sustainability for our business and see it as an imperative in this market. We aim to be a role model for sustainable golf and are already working on new initiatives ahead of applying for recertification in three years. We see every day as an opportunity to improve.”
Old South Golf Link’s full GEO Certified® report can be found on www.golfenvironment.org and further information on the Sustainability in Golf initiative in the Hilton Head area can be found at www.sustainabilityingolf.org