The Venice Golf And Country Club

GEO Certified® 01/2012 GEO Re-Certified 03/2016
Venice,
Florida, United States
Telephone: 941 492-9600
Vgcc_photo_3_club_image

The Venice Golf and Country Club is alongside and connected by water to Florida’s 10,000-acre Myakka River preserve. The Club has restored native wetlands and riparian vegetation to the 60+ acres of natural habitats on the property. The staff work closely with local, regional, and state agencies on innovative water and land use and have achieved mutually beneficial successes. Turfgrass cultivars are well selected and a recent renovation with technological improvements allow very precise monitoring and management of soil conditions and turf heal…

J. Russell Bodie, M.A., GEOSA, Accredited Verifier Read verifier report.

GEO Certified® Report

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Click below to read about the activities undertaken by this golf facility to operate sustainably.

Facility details

Golf Courses
Venice Golf and Country Club (18 holes, 6747 yards, year opened 1991)
1 Clubhouse(s)
1 Maintenance Facility/Facilities
1 Pro Shop
1 Practice Facility/Facilities
1 Other

Nature

The Venice Golf and Country Club is a residential community with an 18 hole golf course, clubhouse facilities, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness center and driving range. The entire property is approximately 500 acres and was developed with many natural elements in place. We have 13 wetland preserves consisting of approximately 52 acres and nearly 12 acres of deciduous and mixed forest upland preserves with varies degrees of understory. Each wetland is surrounded by a buffer area. Sarasota County is the enforcement agency for the buffers and Southwest Florida Water Management District is the enforcement agency for the wetlands. These preserves are designated by Sarasota County and Southwest Florida Water Management District. We have a third party environmental maintenance company monitoring these areas for invasive plants. Several years ago we undertook a massive project with a cost of several hundred thousand dollars to restore these areas to their natural state. That was an interesting project to get approval for since we had to get approval from two different governmental entities. Of course we were not required to do this work so it was looked on very favorably by both and ultimately approved. Since the community was developed the wetlands were overrun with invasive exotic plants which negatively impacted the local flora and fauna communities along with negatively impacting the enjoyment of golf. Brazilian Pepper Trees crowded out the native vegetation and created a nuisance for golfers. Malalueca trees were proliferating in the wetlands and drying them out. We contracted Earth Balance Environmental company to remove the exotics and plant native species. This project was completed in 2005. Since that time we have seen dramatic improvement in the diversity of wildlife and plant communities. The native plants that we installed were wax myrtle, beauty berry, wild coffee, sable palm, slash pine, Florida maple, sand cord grass, fakahatchee grass, live oak, and native seed mix. We also installed wetland plants such as pickerel weed, canna and others.

We provided a smooth transition between the finely groomed golf course and the adjacent wetland preserves by lining the edge of the preserve with clump grasses. This connected the golf course and the wetland into a cohesive interdependent unit. The golf course conditions are impeccable and the native systems look neat and orderly on the edges and wild and native beyond. Keeping golfers out of the preserves is a challenge. However, a strategically placed beware of poisonous snake sign will do wonders in keeping the unwanted human golf ball hunters out of the preserves.

We continue to utilize the services of several outside contractors that specialize in wetland management and lake management. Sarasota County Environmental Services is also our partner in developing action plans that will perpetuate the health of these native areas. Recently we signed a lease agreement with Sarasota County Solid Waste to utilize the closed landfill site for a nature trail. We have developed a five-year plan for the restoration of the upland areas to a native state. This will be a key wildlife corridor that will directly connect our internal preserves with the Myakka River. This river is lined with thousands of acres of land that is protected from any development. An environmental specialist from Sarasota County is assisting us in the development and implementation of this restoration plan. The county has agreed to lease the use of the property to the Club and we are paying for the restoration efforts. Our members love the environment and are willing to pay for the restoration and maintenance. That amazes me especially in today’s economy.

The turfgrass that is utilized on our tees, fairways is celebration and rough is Tifway 419 Bermuda. Our greens are Tif Eagle Bermuda. There are several shaded locations were Celebration Bermuda is used because of shade.

Consultation & Surveys

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding landscape heritage conservation:

  • Southwest Florida Water Management District
  • Sarasota County - Solid Waste
  • Sarasota County - Environmental Services

The following landscape assessments and surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Master Clubhouse Landscape Plan Dennis Barth, Landscape Architect, Hazeltine Nurseries 2009/06/02

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding ecosystem protection and enhancement:

  • EarthBalance
  • Entrex Water Solutions
  • Aquatic Consulting
  • Sarasota County - Environmental Services

The following ecological surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
EarthBalance Mitchell Moore 2003/10/27

Rare, protected and notable species occurring at this golf facility:

Local name Scientific name
Sand Hill Crane Grus canadensis
American Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Green Heron Butorides virescens
Great Egret Ardea alba
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Whte Ibis Eudocimus albus

This golf facility does not monitor any species as indicators of environmental quality.

Habitats & Designations

This golf facility does not feature any landscape designations.

Area of habitats / vegetation types, and associated designations at this golf facility:

Title Estimated Area (Acres) Designation
Native Woodland 12 Local Government
Wetlands 52 Local Government

Turfgrass

Size and estimated species composition of amenity turfgrass maintained at this golf facility.

Estimated Area (Acres) Turfgrass Species Sward Composition (%)
Greens 3.0 Acres Cynodon transvaalensis 100%
Tees 3.5 Acres Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis 100%
Fairways 25.0 Acres Cynodon dactylon x C. transvaalensis 100%

These turfgrasses are optimal for the circumstances at this club because:
The brutal summer heat and humidity requires us to use hot season grasses. They are resistent to many pests and the heat. We utilize Celebration Bermuda in more shaded areas of the golf course to provide more turf coverage. The TifEagle greens are conducive to high greens speeds, which are maintained at 10-10.5 on the stimp meter. The TifEagle tolerates much lower mowing heights. Nitrogen needs are less than Tifdwarf due to increased density making it a better choice for VGCC. Heavy infrequent irrigation is preferable to frequent light irrigation to encourage deep rooting. The TifEagle root-zone can become hydrophobic because of its density so staff use periodic applications of wetting agents to help lessen these hydrophobic conditions.

Bermuda grass has dense turf with thin blades that can be cut down to as low as two centimetres, which makes it perfectly suited for golf courses. Bermuda grass stands up to traffic very well as long as it is kept in full sunlight.

This golf facility assesses mowing patterns every: 2 months

This golf facility consults the following individuals / organizations regarding its grassing plan:

  • Gordon Lewis, golf course architect

This golf facility is making the following efforts to manage the playing quality expectations of customers:

Activity Description
Establishing clear internal policies for irrigation, fertilization, colour, cutting heights, overseeding etc Staff have come to a comfortable level of mowing heights that considers the turfgrass needs and golfers needs. Rough is mown at 1.5", Fairways are mown at 1/2-3/4'', Tees at 1/2" and Greens are between 110-130.

The club utilizes a computerized irrigation system to maximize the coverage of irrigation and to minimize the amount of water used. The club encourages all common areas of the club to integrate into the course’s computerized irrigation system. The club operates within the consumptive use permit issued by Southwest Florida Water Management District
Promoting the playing quality values of more naturalized turf, particularly fairways and semi-rough Staff do speak with members about management style of the playing surface vs the out-of play zones and how each have certain maintenance requirements. Staff try to spread traffic broadly across fairways and roughs and are able to decrease inputs accordingly. Tees and Greens receive far more traffic in a much denser area and although staff do try to reduce inputs, these areas do require some preventative measures when scouting dictates.
Promoting the financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces The GM and Superintendent agree that sustainable turfgrass maintenance is financially beneficial to the club. The more staff can develop and implement ways to reduce costs, reduce environmental risk, the better it is for the club financially, for the local environment and community.
Demonstrating the direct relationship between environmental best practice and year round high quality playing surfaces The GM, Jim Schell, regularly speaks with members and staff about the relationship between golf course inputs and environmental performance. It is a source of pride for Venice GCC and will continue to drive the clubs policy in the future.

Conservation & Enhancement

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve landscape character:

Activity Description
Allowing seasonal variation of course coloration and texture It's natural for turf surfaces to experience some seasonal discolouration. Although fertilizer applications do consider the aesthetics to a certain point, staff do not over apply for any reason. Frost can damage turf, so the course does have a no=play policy during these times. In the winter turfgrass is allowed to naturally change colour and slow in growth rate.

Summer months grass is allowed to brown in select areas. The course has very little natural topography so mounds were created to help add character, frame the direction of play and direct golf balls away from neighbouring properties
Appropriately matching mowing lines to contours Fairways are cut on contour and do not have any extreme topography changes causing decreased holding capacity. There are some low areas where irrigation heads are “capped” to prevent saturation and create a uniformed growth of turfgrass.
Discreet on-course signage and furniture We go to great lengths to minimize the use of signage on the golf course. We feel that signages detracts from the natural beauty of the property. Our signage consists of granite markers at the tees and granite yardage markers in the fairways that are flush with the ground. We do have signage to remimd our golfers to stay out of the wetland preserves.
Conservation of specimen trees We have a great number of heritage trees on the property. We take good care of them and trim and thin them out to keep them healthy. Sarasota County has a very strict tree ordinance in place that protects native specimen trees. We also have a number of non native specimen trees that we are very proud of.
Screening and softening unsightly man-made features We have a passion for creating the most natural setting possible. If it is possible to hide a building, road, utility or other manmade structure we try to do it. We use bamboo very effectively throughout the property to hide buildings from view of the golf course and residents. When we scan the horizon we look for methods to minimize the presence of man. We are very effective.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the landscape ecology of the golf course:

Activity Description
Minimizing the amount of amenity grass There are not many further opportunities to "naturalize" the VGCC property. Most areas have been designated as a preserve, tied into preserve corridors by replacing turfgrass with native plantings.

Increasing the size of habitat patches Wildflowers have been planted on hole 16 with a gulf coast wildflower mix and there are buffers around the preserve areas. We recently expanded this effort in wetland buffer areas on holes 5 and 9.


Connection of internal habitat patches The entire property is approximately 500 acres and was developed with many natural elements in place. We have 13 wetland preserves consisting of approximately 52 acres and nearly 12 acres of deciduous and mixed forest upland preserves with varies degrees of understory. Each wetland is surrounded by a buffer area. Sarasota County is the enforcement agency for the buffers and Southwest Florida Water Management District is the enforcement agency for the wetlands. These preserves are designated by Sarasota County and Southwest Florida Water Management District. We have a third party environme
Connection of patches with external habitats The nature of preserves are that they tend to be self contained and have very slow outflow rates, if any. These have been built around with residential units. The club maintains buffers and ties these buffers in to newly naturalized areas and even other preserves wherever possible.

We make the transition from maintained turf to natural area with a combination of clump grasses and other native vegetation. About 6 years ago we cleared our wetland preserves of invasive species and planted natives to rejuvenate the native flora.
Creation of habitat corridors Small corridors leaving the property in the south-East section have been preserved and only a bridged cart path goes through them.
Avoidance of habitat fragmentation This is difficult as we are a planned community and every inch of the property was designed years ago. However with the addition of newly leased land to the north we have successfully tied in to the naturalized dump site and property fences and edges.
Improving and diversifying habitat edges The habitat edges on this property are primarily defined by our wetland buffers. We have removed all invasive plants from these areas and planted native species. Brazilian Pepper Trees crowded out the native vegetation and created a nuisance for golfers. Malalueca trees were proliferating in the wetlands and drying them out.

Along the edge of the golf course at the preserves edges we install many clump grasses to provide continuity from the golf course to the preserves and to provide cover for wildlife. We also installed many native shrubs and trees as room allows.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the quality of habitats on the golf course:

Activity Description
Ecologically informed management of scrub vegetation Sandhill Cranes are primarily birds of open fresh water wetlands, but the different subspecies utilize habitats that range from bogs, sedge meadows, and fens to open grasslands, pine savannas, and cultivated lands. Nests of Sandhill Cranes are usually low mounds built out of dominant vegetation in the nesting area. Typically nests are located in wetlands, which is why Venice GCC has attracted mating pairs in the past. These areas are maintenance free except for the control of invasive weeds. These weeds are not treated in areas of nesting birds as this could pose a health risk to them.
Establishment of littoral shelves and marginal vegetation in wetland areas All wetlands were restored with marginal vegetation and wetland plants. The lakes have a variety of rush, pickerel weed, arrowhead, and a variety of lilies and submergent plant species
Maintenance of an appropriate balance of open water and aquatic vegetation The maintenace of all of our lakes are done to comply with Sarasota County Environmental Services requirements. They have a very specific formula for the balance of open water and aquatic vegetation. All of our lakes meet these requirements except for one. The one exception is due to the lack of a littoral shelf on the lake bottom that can be planted.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity on the golf course:

Activity Description
Provision of nesting and nectar for pollinators Native pollinating plants were chosen for gardens as well naturalisation plantings.
Installation of nest boxes We have dozens of birds houses, purple martin houses and bat houses located throughout the property.
Control / management of alien species We are aggressive in keeping invasive exotics out of our naturalized areas. We contract a maintenance company to monitor the plant populations (Brazilian Pepper Trees and Malalueca Trees) and take corrective action when necessary. This maintenance is for both the lakes and preserves.

The main species of fish in our water ways is the invasive Blue Tilapia which have spread throughout Florida, in both freshwater and brackish environments. They create large nest craters in shallow waters about 2 feet (0.61 m) wide, visibly altering native flora and fauna communities
Creation of micro-habitats (eg log and stone piles) As part of of exotic plant removal we created many wood piles in the wetlands for wildlife cover. This was more economical than removing all of the bad trees and helped the native wildlife.

Water

Florida has plenty of water resources, but the main problem with that statement is that it is not the correct type of water that can be utilized for the needs of mankind. The Club established a long term source for irrigation water in 2003. At that time we were utilizing primarily effluent water from the Venice plant, which was the lowest quality of water available to us at the time. We have a water consumptive use permit that is issued by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. This requires monthly reporting of water use for irrigation purposes. We also abide by the restrictions that are mandated during drought conditions.

The Club is entirely situated at the top of the Myakka River watershed in Sarasota County, Florida. The borders of the Club are adjacent to three other distinctive watersheds. We have no water entering the property from outside the community. Our property is approximately 500 acres consisting of a carefully planned storm water system consisting of 26 detention ponds at various elevations. This was designed to increase the resident time of storm water in each series of lakes to maximize the nutrient and contaminant uptake by the plants. The lakes are monitored on a monthly basis for invasive plants, algae and water quality tests are performed. The littoral shelves are properly maintained which provides great cover for our bird populations. These lakes were carefully planned to protect the 13 wetlands that are located on the property. We practice watershed management and incorporate it into our maintenance practices.

Our secondary source is effluent and tertiary source is a well. The nutrients and contaminants are distributed to the turf grass which uptakes these elements thus preventing them from being discharged into the Myakka River watershed, Charlotte Harbor and ultimately into the Gulf of Mexico. Through water testing and analysis of gallons pumped our consultant determined that approximately 4000 pounds of nitrogen is removed from the storm water on an annual basis by our turf grass. We have eliminated the dependence on well water and have reduced our dependence on effluent water to only the most extreme drought conditions. This has made more effluent water available to other customers in the area which has also reduced their dependence on ground water. Over 99% of all of the irrigation water that we use today is storm water runoff.

In 2015 the club invested in a significant renovation and upgrade to the course. The three major improvements of the renovation will have the biggest sustainability impacts. Each sprinkler head in the irrigation system now has a coded address in the master control system. This will allow surgical precision in watering and is expected to reduce watering use by at least 35%. The club also installed an on-field weather station including temperature, humidity, solar light, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction to help micro manage the course. For example, this system recorded a 42% reduction in average sunlight during July-September last year. The course also now subscribes to a satellite service that collects ultraviolet light outputs from each hole on the course to indicate and monitor turfgrass stress. The synergy of these renovation improvements will allow more overall efficiency in management of water and other inputs and ultimately in financial savings. We currently irrigate 130 acres of maintained turf.

Sources & Consumption

No water audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

The water used at this golf facility is drawn from the following sources:

2014 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 1,156,000 Gallons
Golf Course Surface 100% 122,859,600 Gallons
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 64,000 Gallons
Other Public / Potable 0% 0 Gallons
2013 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Surface 100% 7,750,857 Gallons
Golf Course Surface 100% 121,430,096 Gallons
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 62,000 Gallons
Other Public / Potable 0% 0 Gallons

Irrigation & Efficiency

The following areas receive irrigation at this golf facility:

Greens 2-3 days per week
Tees 2-3 days per week
Fairways 2-3 days per week
Semi-Rough 2-3 days per week
Rough 2-3 days per week
Other Weekly
Other Weekly

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:
Fully computer controlled

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:

Serviced every 1 years

Upgraded every 1 months

Re-calibrated and checked for efficient application every 1 months

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to maximize irrigation efficiency:

Activity Description
Selection of grass species We utilize warm season grasses that can tolerate the tempurature, drought, flood, cart stress and pest stress. Specifically, Bermuda Tifway 419, TifEagle, and Celebration Bermuda.
Soil decompaction and thatch management The entire golf course is hole tine aerified three times a year. The Greens are aerfied additional times using small diameter solid tines. The greens are groomed and verticut regularly followed with top dressing. The fairways are circle cut three times annually and verticut annually.
Timing and dose of water application Most of our irrigation takes place in the early morning after midnight. We time of the runs and the frequency is determined in advance of the scheduled run by the superintendent after he evaluates soil moisture content and the immediate weather forecasts. Water is applied following soil Volumetric Water Content measurements.
Analysis of soil moisture The old fashion way to look at stressed areas and physically check the moisture content, which we do. We are investigating a new wireless device that is placed into the soil and will report this the remote website. I suspect we will most likely place about 5-10 devices in specific locations on the golf course.
Incorporation of evapotranspiration rates and weather data Weather conditions are a prime driver in our cultural practices. Florida weather can be brutal especially in the dry season. The evapotranspiration rate is observed each day to help establish the run times for irrigation in that particular week. We have an weather monitoring system that logs this data for us. We also use this weather system as an early warning system for lightning strikes. If we are expecting rain, we don't irrigate.
Use of wetting agents Wetting agents are utilized during certain times of years to provide the best possible absorbtion into the soil. We typically target areas that experience unneccessary runoff.
Overall reduction in irrigated area We have installed a state of the art HDPE irrigation system and have seen a considerable reduction in water through the implementation of technological advances that include weather station, infer reds radars and the use of rain cans/censors.
Targeting of sprinkler heads We have a large number of sprinkler heads that are located on property lines, preserve lines and lake banks. We constantly monitor the direction of the water throw and make adjustments as neccessary. We are maximizing the water used by putting it only where we want it. The heads are also programmed individually to the specific microclimate conditions to provide the optimum moisture content in the soil. We have also installed a state of the art irrigation system that is anticipated to reduce water and energy use.
Optimizing system pressure We have three 75 HP Variable Frequency Drive pumps in place that creates a steady line pressure. The line pressure is maintained at 110 PSI. The VFDs have prolonged the life of our irrigation piping. This also greatly reduces the electrical consumption. The ramping up of the motors has eliminated the shock effect on the piping that occured previously when all three pumps were activated at 100%.
Adoption of cutting edge nozzle technology We are currently converting our sprinkler heads for better and more consitent cover throughout the spray pattern. Thus far we have converted a bout 10% of our Toro 690 heads to the modern spray pattern heads. The results have been an immediate improvement in the coverage areas. The grass is recieving enough water and the actual amount of water used is less.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve / reduce / minimize water consumption:

Activity Description
Low-flow urinals and toilets Low flow urinals and toilets and will be installed.
Use of efficient shower technology The best shower technology is NO showers. We eliminated all of our showers in the clubhouse and built a libary in place of the locker rooms and showers.
Repairing leaks We employ a full time irrigation technition that addresses all leaks immediately and repairs any breaks with the new state of the art HDPE pipe .
Water awareness signage Water signage is visible to members and guests to show usable and non usable areas.

Energy

This has been a focus for several years at this Club. Our primary area of interest is how can we reduce our electrical consumption and thus lower our electrical bills. A significant practice is that capital investments are being made to reduce operational expenses. The first few years we picked the lowest fruit that had the shortest payback of the initial investment in the form of reduced operating expenses. Each capital purchase for the replacement of a current asset is thoroughly investigated to make sure the most economical and sustainable replacement is made. The most economical doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest purchase price. The savings in energy inputs over the next ten years are considered in the purchasing decisions.

The swimming pool and spa originally had heat pumps that drew the heat from the air and transferred it into the pools. These were very inefficient and were not capable of providing enough BTUs in cold temperatures. When it came time to replace these heat pumps we converted the heating system to a series of geothermal heat pumps. Our ground water is 77 degrees year round even when the air temperatures are very low. The result was a significant improvement in the temperature range of the pool water even in the coldest of conditions. It is rare that our pools deviate more than three degrees at any given time. A geothermal heat pump actually takes the heat from the pool water and transfers it to the spa. In the summer months this does help cool the pool water to a more comfortable temperature while providing the spa with the desired temperature of 104 degrees. It is difficult to determine the exact savings in electrical costs because the meters control many other areas. However, when these geothermal heat pumps were installed we immediately experienced a $200 a month decrease in our electrical bill in that particular area.

The Club was built in the early 1990s and many of the mechanic components are nearing the end of their useful lives. Examples of this are the hot water heaters in the Clubhouse. A few years ago we remodeled our Clubhouse and removed the locker room and the showers in both the ladies and men’s bathrooms to make room for other functional space. We needed to replace our hot water heater and our plumber suggested the exact size that was originally in place. I suggested that we re-evaluate the load which was done and the heater was downsized significantly. The kitchen hot water was supplied by a 500,000 BTU propane boiler and was in need of replacement. Again the plumbing companies recommended simply replacing it with a more current model with the same specifications. Upon thorough review we decided to take advantage of old technology used in a different manner. We have many air conditioning units and refrigeration units that utilize compressors that must get rid of heat. We captured this heat by running the hot gasses generated by the compressors through a series of five Zero Energy Hot Water Generators. The generators have no moving parts and require no maintenance. The hot gas pipes are wrapped around the water pipes which enables heat to transfer into the water from the air conditioning and freezer units. The end result is that we have water heated to 170 degrees for free. This process has worked so well it necessitated that we install tempering valves on all sinks. During cold weather the freezers still generate heat however; we do have a 100,000 BTU water heater to meet our needs in the kitchen. The savings in energy usage has resulted in a reduction of propane costs by approximately $200 per month during the cooling months. In 2004 we built a fitness center for our members and realized that a hot water heater was not the best alternative to heat water for three hand sinks. We installed electrical instant heat devices under the sinks. Although more expensive upfront, we have saved plenty of energy over the last 7 years.

Sources & Consumption

The following energy surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Florida Power and Light Business Energy Evaluation Dawn McIntyre 2014/10/06

Consumption of renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2015 2014 2013
Biogas (Gallons) 0 0
Biomass 0 0
First Generation Bio-Fuels (Gallons) 0 0
Hydrogen (Gallons) 0 0
On-site Hydro (kWh) 0 0
On-site Solar (kWh) 0 0
On-site Wind (kWh) 0 0
Renewable Grid Electricity (kWh) 0 0
Second Generation Bio-Fuels (Gallons) 0 0
Wood from sustainable sources 0 0

Consumption of non-renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2015 2014 2013
Coal 0 0
Diesel (Gallons) 2860 2700
Heating Oil (Gallons) 125 115
Hydraulic Oil (Gallons) 50 75
LPG (Gallons) 0 0
Natural Gas (Gallons) 0 0
Non-renewable Grid (kWh) 720840 793080
Petrol (Gallons) 3664 3800
Propane / Butane (Gallons) 12452 11530
Wood from unsustainable sources 0 0

Energy Efficiency

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to diversify energy and fuel supply:

Activity Description
Adoption of green tariff grid supply Working to incorporate lithium battery machines to equipment fleet and hybrid mowers to reduce fuel consumption.
Installation of photovoltaic and / or solar panels We utilize small solar panels to power our lightning prediction emergency horns and strobes located on the golf course. Since we are in the lightning prone area we warn the members to head to safety before a strike occurs.
Use of geothermal and / or ground sources We have a junior Olympic size swimming pool and an 11 person spa. We heat this bodies of water with geothermal heat pumps. Our ground water temperature is a balmy 77 degrees year round. The geothermal heat pumps transfer the heat from the groundwater into the main pool's water. The spa has a geothermal heat pump that transfers heat from the main swimming pool water to the spa. This is a rise of 15 degrees. The water temperature is very consistent even in the coldest months. The electric consumption dropped significantly and the equipment breakdowns were dramatically reduced.
Use of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) The kitchen appliances are fueled by propane gas. The hot water heater is a propane heater however, the burners are seldom used because of our zero energy hot water generators preheat all water coming into the heater. The thermostat is set lower than the incoming water.
Use of electric hybrid vehicles We are considering a change to electric walk behind greens mowers when our current equipment leases expires in 2015. We will be trying our demonstration units this spring.
Use of recycled oils All of our engine oils are recycled.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to reduce energy consumption:

Activity Description
Investment in low-energy heating and air conditioning systems Our capital planning recognizes the need to replace our physical assets on a regular basis. The HVAC systems are routinely upgraded. All systems have made the change to the new coolants. Additionally, all units are replaced with equipment with higher SEER ratings. Typically, we don't realize the higher efficiency until both the condenser and air handlers are replaced however, we are positioned for the higher efficiency when they are.
Optimizing thermostat levels for heating and refrigeration WE have a computer program that schedules our room tempuratures to coincide with member occupancy. Additionally, the clubhouse has carbon dioxide sensors installed to determine occupancy. If the room is not occupied the fresh air damper is closed to 10%. This keeps more conditioned air inside and greatly reduces the load on the HVAC systems. As members come into the room and the CO2 levels rise then the damper opens to allow more make up air into air handler. Demand Control Ventilation reduced the HVAC electrical loads by approximately 15%.
Enhancement of natural ventilation opportunities We added a screened porch for dining that will accommodate approximately 30 people. We have also expanded outdoor dining opportunities near our pool.
Upgrading of building insulation The insulation was upgraded 12 years ago. Recently, we installed large triple pane hurricane, tinted, glass windows in all our dining rooms. The room was noticeably cooler with the larger windows which allowed more light into the space.
Use of natural light (e.g. sunlight pipes) We have used passive cooling techniques wherever possible. Our cart paths and parking lots are concrete which reflects the suns heat vs absorbing it. This keeps our adjacent clubhouse and facilities cooler during the summer months.

Parking lots, clubhouse and pool area are well shaded, preventing direct solar radiation. South windows are mostly shaded, while north windows offer great views and do not let in much direct sunlight.
Installation of low-energy lighting The Club has converted all of it metal halide lights to LED fixtures. This includes all parking lot lighting and all street lighting throughout the entire neighborhood. All new landscape lighting is LED. We have converted all dining rooms to LED and the offices are now LED. The interior light was 120 watt incandescent and was replaced with 12 - 18 watt LED depending upon the application. The office application was consuming 1280 watts and now it is 118 watts. The quality of lighting is improved. The Kitchen is LED, and all other areas are being phased to LED.
Use of motion sensor lighting We utilize motion sensors for the restrooms on the golf course, fitness center, pool house and other appropriate areas. The pool bath house has occupancy sensors in place that control the lighting and exhaust fans. There is a 5 minute delay after each exit. Occupancy sensors have been installed in all areas that are suitable.
Transition to energy efficient appliances All new appliances that are purchased are Energy Star rated. We recently installed a demand control kitchen hood ventilation system that ramps up the RPM of the fans in response to heat or vapors and slows them down when warranted. The fan speeds of both the exhaust hood and makeup air fans are controlled by demand.
Use of timers with appliances, heating and lighting All parking lots and exterior Clubhouse lighting is on a timer. The clubhouse, golf shop and business center are on a heating and cooling schedule. During occupancy hours the air temperature is more pleasant during off hours we allow the temperature to rise.
Educating staff and customers I write an article in our monthly Club newsletter that discusses sustainability. I use this to educate the members how this is saving them money and providing them with a superior product while safeguarding the environment.

Vehicles & Transport

The maintenance fleet at this golf facility uses the following fuel sources:

Ride-on Mowers Walking Mowers Utility Vehicles
Petrol 30% 14% 41%
Diesel 70% 86% 60%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 0% 0% 0%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

Additional vehicles operated by this golf facility use the following fuel sources:

Golf Carts Cars Buses
Petrol 42% 100% 0%
Diesel 0% 0% 0%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 58% 0% 0%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

This golf facility has established the following schemes to encourage reductions in staff and customer transport emissions:

Activity Description
Secure cycle parking We installed several areas to park bicyles and golf carts. Much of all the member transportation within this community is by electric golf carts. We license and inspect approximately 350 member owned golf carts each year. These carts are used exclusively by our residents to travel to and from the club facilities. Cart are charged exclusively during off peak hours.
Increasing equipment storage (e.g. lockers) There are plans and discussion about the instillation of lockers at the facility.
Staff showers We do not have staff showers on the property. We also removed the members showers along with thier locker rooms. This was possible because all of our members live within this community and drive thier golf carts to and from the club. We found no need for locker room facilitiies so during the last clubhouse upgrade we removed the locker rooms and created meeting space and a library. The library is comprised of all member donated books.

Supply Chain

Venice Golf and Country Club (VGCC) recognizes its responsibility to carry out its procurement activities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. In accordance with our Environmental and Product Procurement Policy we will strive to incorporate environmental and social considerations into our product and service selection process.

The development of this policy was aided by the Environmental Preferable Purchasing Guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Sustainability Index consultancy Out on a Limb.

- Purpose -
Consistent with VGCC's Environmental and Sustainability goals the purpose of this policy is to support and facilitate the purchase of products and materiel that minimize the harmful effects to the environment from their production, transportation, use and disposition.
It is VGCC's preference to purchase and use environmentally preferable products whenever they perform satisfactorily and can be acquired at similar total value (cost/quality).
A related purpose is to develop and implement common purchasing programs to be used by all VGCC personnel that support suppliers of environmentally preferable products, services and practices.


- Policies -
All VGCC personnel are encouraged to purchase environmentally preferable products. VGCC promotes the use of environmentally conscious suppliers by seeking and maintaining broad supplier contracts and product standards. The purchaser makes an effort to open contracts with suppliers and contractors that are sustainability leaders in their respective markets whenever practical. We seek to procure products and services using sustainability criteria that has been established by governmental and other widely recognized authorities.

Several years ago sustainability consultant Scott J Morrison conducted a survey of the top ten suppliers and contractors from each department to see which companies currently had an environmental policy, waste reduction strategies, Eco Label products or services, and any other criteria related to our procurement policies. Out of the 28 surveyed, 8 responded with various levels of policies currently in place. This 28% of survey respondents returned impressive methods of greening their own supply chain and has therefore helped provide Venice Golf Club with more of an understanding of what their environmental footprint truly is.

Purchasing Policies

This golf facility undertakes the following ethical / environmental purchasing activities:

Activity Description
Measures to avoid waste at source We aim to encourage purchasers to seek out, inquire and review their consumption of goods and services in order to reduce usage where possible. We give preference to products and services that can be manufactured, used, and disposed of in an environmentally and socially responsible way, meeting our sustainability criteria, review suppliers environmental credentials, considered and ensure that local and smaller suppliers are equally considered.

When purchasing, ask a supplier these questions. But first, determine if the product or service is truly necessary.
Use of local suppliers We have inventoried our current suppliers and contractors/consultants and have found that 18.1% are within the 10 Mile radius, 45.8% are within the 10-100 Mile range, 13.7% are within the 100-500 mile range and 9.1% are within the 500-1000 Mile range, 7.4% are then between 1000-2000 Mile range and 5.8% fall outside of this range. These numbers however only account for our point of purchase, not necessarily where the product is manufactured or where the source materials comes from.
Use of local products Local products generally are most accessible through local manufacturers vs. distributors who tend to import products from out of state or country. Efforts have been made in 2011 to improve our internal policies to encourage the purchase of local products wherever possible. The numbers shown in the section above only account for our point of purchase, not necessarily where the product is manufactured or where the source materials comes from.

For example Callaway equipment is ordered from Carlsbad California, just outside of our 2000 mile radius.
Selection of certified products Implementation of common purchasing programs and product specifications that support Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Resources:
- EPA’s Comprehensive Guidelines - Environmental Preferable Purchasing
- Green Seal
- EnergyStar
- Fairtrade USA
- Rainforest Alliance
- FSC Certified - Building Materials Retailers in Florida
- USDA Certified Organic
- Florida Organic Growers
Use of recycled and recyclable products Reducing, recycling and reusing are integrated in to our Procurement Policy which dictates how purchases are made at Venice Golf and Country Club. By aiming for a supply chain where products are part of a cycle vs linear system (i.e. manufactured from virgin materials, used once, disposed of in a landfill). For example the purchase of recycled-content products, including water-permeable recycled tire paving material for golf cart paths (KBI Flexi-Pave), rechargeable batteries for golf carts, reusable Turbis Tumbler cups for members, composting grass clippings and reusing it on site in gardens
Selection of products that feature minimal packaging We surveyed some of our Product Suppliers and our Service Providers and found that some efforts were being made to reduce packaging. The greatest hurdle to overcome in reducing packaging at source is for each level of distribution to consider packaging reduction. Products are often shipped from manufacturer to a central distribution plant and sometimes and secondary distributor before arriving at an end retailer like VGCC. Some products have other packaging needs. For example pesticides must be stored in containers that meet EPA's code
Use of accredited suppliers (e.g. ISO 14001) Our Supplier survey showed that 50% of respondents did have some kind of environmental accreditation. However the total amount of respondents was minimal and we do not feel that this reflects on our whole supply chain. Sysco, Callaway, Monsanto and Syngenta all demonstrated ISO and other environmental accreditations.
Product Procurement Policy Venice Golf and Country Club (VGCC) recognizes its responsibility to carry out its procurement activities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. In accordance with our Environmental and Product Procurement Policy we will strive to incorporate environmental and social considerations into our product and service selection process. The development of this policy was aided by the Environmental Preferable Purchasing Guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Sustainability Index consultancy Out on a Limb

Supply Chain

An overview of the supplier network at this golf facility:

Total number of suppliers Total number of suppliers within 10 Miles Total number of suppliers within 100 Miles
Food & Beverage 25 6 17
Catering Supplies 20 8 12
Retail 84 13 14
Trade & Contractors 97 46 38
Maintenance Equipment 54 18 28
Course Supplies 57 7 25

Turfgrass Inputs

This golf facility undertakes the following IPM activities:

Activity Description
Encouraging drought and disease tolerant grasses Only areas that are considered to be essential to the game and a few aesthetic gardens receive irrigation. Many of the rough areas along the driveway are left to grow a little longer in order to grow deeper roots and become more drought tolerant. Also, the many trees that have been planted in these areas supply shade, which further reduces the evaporation rates.

We use a rotating chemistry when pesticide needs are required. This enables the plant a more durable response to the weather changes over periods of time.
Managing stress and wear Mowing heights, frequency and patterns can be adjusted in coordination with climatic conditions to reduce stress. When Venice is experiencing drought like conditions the mowing heights are raised to encourage more root growth and an overall stronger plant. When a heavy rain is experienced walk behind mowers are used to reduce compaction, while the mowing heights can be brought back down.

Core samples from greens, tee decks, fairways and in some cases the rough, are taken regularly in order to monitor root growth, thatch layer and signs of compaction.
Enhancement of soil structure Venice Golf and Country Club experiences a number of turfgrass soil problems including soil compaction, poor infiltration and some thatch issues. The following are cultural techniques used to maintain an ideal root zone soil profile.

- Topdressing Program -
Greens are top dressed once every 1-2 weeks. This aids with drainage and thatch layers and maintains a smooth putting surface.

- Aerification Program -
Greens and tee decks are aerified 3 times per year, once in the spring, summer and fall.

Soil test are taking monthly and adjustments are ongoing to ensure minimal inputs and balance.
Optimization of the growing environment Carlos focuses on preventing turf stress to reduce the need for chemical treatments. The following are a few techniques used to reduce unnecessary turf stress from employee and players:
- Keep cart traffic on the cart paths during wet periods and spreading traffic out to prevent excessive compaction.
- Curbing, widened paths and signage detour carts from taking short cuts.
- Players are asked to replace their divots during play.
- Adjustments to mowing heights during times of environmental stress is critical.
- Precise irrigation is used on the entire course.
Managing thatch levels We manage soil pH to levels that support good turf growth and microbial populations for thatch break down. Core aeration is an important part of our preventative thatch practices. Core aeration removes thatch, alleviates compaction and improves air movement into soils, thereby increasing microbial activity and breakdown of thatch. Fertilization is used to promote good turf growth, density, and green-up, but not too heavy that thatch builds up. Preventing thatch is key! Our soil bench marking test create an even growing medium.
Managing surface moisture Staff are on the look out for potential at-risk areas that may be prone to pest occurrences. For example air and moisture are major contributing factors to disease, therefore soil moisture levels are monitored when drought conditions or pest pressures are high. Volumetric water content readings and infrared monitoring are now implemented practices to forecast issues for the entire course. We plan to expand our efforts in forecasting in the coming months.
Establishing thresholds for pests and disease The quantity or concentration of a given pest and the amount they are tolerated before action is taken varies from pest to pest. Some aspects associated with determining a threshold are:
- The overall health and vigour of the turf.
- The pest and the risk of physical and aesthetic damage to the turf.
- The pest and the amount of physical and aesthetic damage done already to the turf.
- The location of the problem. For example the proximity to water or to vulnerable stands of turf.
- The cost and effectiveness of products associated with a given pest.
Scouting for pests and diseases Staff are committed to regular and effective monitoring and scouting techniques such as:
- Seek and record potential at-risk areas that may be prone to pest occurrences. For example air and moisture are major contributing factors to disease.
- Identify problems while numbers are low and negative effects are still subtle.
- Assess the size and spread of a pest population and extent of damage.
- Identify and minimise conditions that contribute to the pest problem.
- Determine what effect the chosen treatments had on the disease and record observations.
Monitoring / improvement of plant health Annual evaluation of monitoring activities plays a large part in the success of Venice Golf and Country Club's IPM program. A thorough review of the year’s successes and failures will help in the planning for the next season. Understanding the cause for each will help determine effective methods for future projects.

Proper timing of chemical control applications is crucial in achieving affective pest control. Staff are aware of the “Season of Occurrence” for each of the common insect and disease pests. Only those areas that are experiencing above threshold levels of the pest will receive a
Making Decision Based on Treatment Options If all preventative cultural and planning measures do not succeed in solving the problem then a treatment option will be evaluated. Options usually include a combination of cultural, physical, mechanical and chemical controls. Treatment options are chosen based on:
- Least damaging to the environment, non-target organisms and human health.
- Most likely to produce long-term results.
- Most cost-effective.

Fertilizer use at this golf facility in the last three years (lb):

2015 2014 2013
Fairways - K - Inorganic 9 2
Fairways - K - Organic 3 8
Fairways - N - Inorganic 8 6
Fairways - N - Organic 2 4
Fairways - P - Inorganic 2 0
Fairways - P - Organic 0 1
Greens - K - Inorganic 2 2
Greens - K - Organic 22 16
Greens - N - Inorganic 6 2
Greens - N - Organic 4 8
Greens - P - Inorganic 2 3
Greens - P - Organic 0 0
Rough - K - Inorganic 4 4
Rough - K - Organic 0 0
Rough - N - Inorganic 2 2
Rough - N - Organic 0 0
Rough - P - Inorganic 1 1
Rough - P - Organic 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Inorganic 9 2
Semi-Rough - K - Organic 3 5
Semi-Rough - N - Inorganic 8 4
Semi-Rough - N - Organic 2 1
Semi-Rough - P - Inorganic 2 1
Semi-Rough - P - Organic 0 0
Tees - K - Inorganic 8 2
Tees - K - Organic 2 4
Tees - N - Inorganic 5 0
Tees - N - Organic 2 3
Tees - P - Inorganic 2 0
Tees - P - Organic 0 1

Pesticide use at this golf facility in the last three years (lb):

2015 2014 2013
Fairways - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 4 2
Fairways - Fungicide - Total Weight 60 30
Fairways - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 4 2
Fairways - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 6 5
Fairways - Herbicide - Total Weight 1200 900
Fairways - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 6 5
Fairways - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 2 2
Fairways - Insecticide - Total Weight 5 6
Fairways - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 5 3
Greens - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 1 2
Greens - Fungicide - Total Weight 3.75 3.25
Greens - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 10 6
Greens - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 1 0
Greens - Herbicide - Total Weight 100 0
Greens - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 2 0
Greens - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 12 2
Greens - Insecticide - Total Weight 12 4
Greens - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 4 3
Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 4 3
Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 1200 900
Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 6 5
Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 2 1
Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 6 6
Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 2 2
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 4 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 60 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 4 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 6 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 1200 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 6 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 2 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 5 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 5 0
Tees - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 4 1
Tees - Fungicide - Total Weight 60 15
Tees - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 4 1
Tees - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 4 2
Tees - Herbicide - Total Weight 1200 600
Tees - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 6 4
Tees - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 2 2
Tees - Insecticide - Total Weight 16 8
Tees - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 2 1

This golf facility undertakes the following actions to optimize pesticide use:

Activity Description
Selection on the least toxic and lest persistent products We review the latest in various management techniques presented at local trade shows, within trade magazines and has close working relationships with other area superintendents. When the early signs of a pest have become evident we review treatment options. New treatment options are reviewed for effectiveness, cost, safety and ease of use. Preventative cultural methods are preferred over chemical applications and are documented to ensure our educational are taken in prevention.
Selection of appropriate products for specific pests and diseases This is always a priority! Labels and rates are followed closely and chemical rotations are utilized to increase efficacy.
Spot-treatment with handheld sprayers and wipers Proper timing of chemical control applications is crucial in achieving affective pest control. Staff are aware of the “Season of Occurrence” for each of the common insect and disease pests. Only those areas that are experiencing above threshold levels of the pest will receive a chemical application. Size of the affected area determines the application device, either the boom sprayer or back pack sprayer. It is the goal of turf staff to identify pest problem early on when they can be managed with minimal chemical interventions and instead use cultural methods to help reduce pest pressures.
Calibration and testing of sprayers Ensuring the proper amount of chemical is applied is not only essential for proper pest control, but both economically wise and environmentally responsible. To be sure that the sprayer is applying a uniformed output from nozzle to nozzle along the whole boom, each sprayer is calibrated by the Superintendents and assistants at the beginning of the season. Calibrations occur monthly or more frequently depending on the frequency of use of the equipment.
Use of shrouded sprayer and anti-drip nozzles All sprayer nozzles are anti-drip and now additives that assist in drift control are being applied.
Non-chemical weed control The threshold levels created for weeds vary from Greens to Roughs and in some cases hole to hole. Broadleaf weeds are capable of disrupting the roll of the ball on a green and therefore are not tolerated, but the weeds are not always treated with a herbicide. Many times they are removed by hand and the root is thrown into a nearby forest or wild area, far from any turf. On fairways and roughs, weeds are more accepted because they do not have a high impact on the roll of the ball at this point of play. Encouraging dense turf is also a key deterrent.
Use of organic and biological products to improve plant health and resistance. Microbial activity inducing products are being used to assist in the break down of organic nutrients along with the use of bio solids and sea kelp additives in our management programs.
On and Off Site Water Quality A few extra precautions taken include:
- Never spray to the edge of a body of water, always leave a “no-spray-zone”
- Equipment is to be washed at designated wash pad located at the maintenance building.
- Maintain sprayers - Check valves, calibrate regularly, check hoses.
- Be prepared to handle spills at any time, and do so quickly and safely.
- Prevent drift
- Mowing boundaries around water bodies to assist in filtration during the summer months.
- All fertilization that is required is applied by walk spreaders with deflectors with a 10 foot buffer zone.
Worker Health A few measures taken to protect worker health include:
- Appropriate safety gear is to be worn when handling chemicals and then cleaned and stored appropriately.
- No food or drink is to enter the pesticide storage facility. No chemicals are to be stored in a food container.
- All chemicals are locked in cages and only authorized applicators are allowed in the area.
- All Protective equipment is updated as called upon by regulatory agencies.
Wildlife and Habitat Chemicals are never used in preserves or wetlands unless all other control methods have been attempted. Chemicals and machinery is kept away from wildlife that may be nesting, burrowing, etc...

Waste Management

No waste audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility manages key waste streams as follows:

Re-use Recycle Landfill Incinerate
Glass false true false false
Plastic false true false false
Aluminium false false false false
Metal true false true false
Paper & Cardboard false true false false
Grass Clippings false true false false
Cores & Turf false true false false
Sand false true false false
Wood / Timber true true false false

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to continue the lifecycle of materials and resources:

Activity Description
Separation of recyclable materials The diversion of materials is done at the source by giving each material to be recycled its own collection bins that are clearly marked. These include plastics, metals, aluminum, paper, magazines, newspapers, cardboard, glass, tires, batteries, etc...

Establishment of recycling centers Recycling containers are clearly marked for their own specific materials. Staff have placed the appropriate bins in areas where the specific materials tend to be disposed of.
Returning clipping to fairways and walkways Clippings are always returned to rough and fairways. Tees and greens are collected and decomposed at a designated site
Education of staff and customer education Staff in-charge of purchasing are made aware of our purchasing policies.
Waste awareness campaigns We recently completed a solid waste stream audit. The results are forthcoming. Upon the issue of the report changes will be implemented to reduce our waste that is sent to the landfill. Sarasota County is an international leader in solid waste disposal. This month they began generating electricity from the land fill gasses and are making it available on the grid.

Pollution Control

Water management is an area that this Club takes very seriously. We have 26 interconnected lakes that are located at the top of our watershed. This gives us the ability to immediately identify and address any water quality issues immediately. We know that everything in our water system has originated within our golf community. A full scale water analysis for our storm water reservoir located on County property. These samples are pulled on a semiannual basis by water specialists. This includes tests for heavy metals and many other elements that are required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. These water samples are used to determine if anything is leaking out from the closed landfill. This test included inorganics (28 different compound tests), organics (45 different compound tests) and field observations. These tests have revealed that the water leaving our property is better quality than what we are pulling out of the reservoir. Thus our turf grass is improving the water quality. This reservoir also takes the runoff water from the 60 acre closed landfill. Our environmental consultant has created an algorithm to determine how much nitrogen is removed from the storm water reservoir by the gallons pumped for irrigation and the water analysis. His calculations have revealed that approximately 4,000 pounds of nitrogen is removed from the water each year by utilizing the water for irrigation instead of discharging this into the Myakka River.

We certainly know where all of the storm water leaves our property. We utilize the golf course as a collection swale for many of the resident’s backyards and roofs. Our turf grass acts as a giant water filter for storm water. Additionally, our wetlands absorb a great deal of rainwater through collection swales. All of the waste water that is created in the Clubhouse, Golf Shop, and restrooms is discharged into the sanitary sewer system. The golf maintenance facility utilizes a closed loop water wash down system to clean all equipment as it comes off the golf course. This system contains a drain with a sump pump that moves the wash water into a separator that removes solids and drops them into a wheelbarrow. We utilize these grass clippings to charge our mulch piles with the active bacteria. The remaining water is moved into a series of chambers that have agitation drums to stir the water and to maximize the effectiveness of the special species of bacteria that consume the contaminants. This system could effectively neutralize 55 gallons of fuel oil in a 24 hour period. The manufacturer states that you can drink the water once it makes one pass through the closed loop system. The bacteria in the wash water are so hungry that they were consuming the grease fittings and bearings on our mowers. This necessitated that we change to a different lubricant. This waste to reuse system does occasionally need water added to it due to evaporation however; it has saved a significant amount of water over the years and has eliminated any waste water being discharged into the environment. We operate this system under a permit issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. We typically have FDEP surprise inspections 1 – 2 times per year. We are in full compliance. Additionally, we have a double walled fuel station that is located on this sloped concrete pad. In the event of a tank rupture the second tank would capture all of the spilled fuel. In the event that both tanks ruptured the wash down pad would contain the spill. No environmental contamination would occur. The bacteria in the closed loop water system would however have plenty to eat for dinner.

We built a mix and load station at our golf course maintenance facility to remove the possibility of non- targeted application of pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. This is a self contained room with a sloped floor with a large drain and sump at the low point.

Water Analysis

This golf facility monitors water quality with the following frequency:

Chemical Biological Visual
Inflow Monthly Monthly Monthly
On-Site Monthly Monthly Monthly
Outflow Monthly Monthly Monthly

Waste Water

Waste water from this golf facility is managed as follows:

Discharges to Formal Discharge Agreement
Golf Course Detention Pond Yes
Clubhouse Mains Sewer N/A
Maintenance Facility Septic Tank N/A
Wash Pad Closed Loop Recycling

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials at this golf facility are handled and disposed of as follows:

Secure Storage Registered Uplift
Detergents false false
Cooking Oils false false
Lubricants true false
Pesticide Containers true false
Fertiliser Bags true false
Oil Filters true false
Batteries true false

Pollution Prevention

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution from its maintenance facility and clubhouse:

Activity Description
Storage of equipment and hazardous products on covered, sealed impervious areas All maintenance equipment is stored indoors on concrete flooring.
All fertilizers are stored on pallets in the fertilizer room that has a concrete floor.
The liquid fertilizers are stored in drums in the mix and load room.
Solid and powder pest control products are stored on metal shelves and always above liquids.

Batteries are stored indoors until they are picked up or dropped off at retailers. All lead-acid battery retailers in Florida are required by law to accept returned batteries for recycling. Acid from these batteries contains high levels of lead and must be disposed as hazardous
Maintenance of equipment on covered, sealed impervious areas Our maintenance area is inside our building that has concrete flooring. Spill containment is present at all facilities with hazardous waste.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers in covered areas We have a self contained mix and load station. This is a self container room with a sump pump and collections tanks. This mix and load facility provides a means to rinse spray tanks and store the water for the next spray rig application fill. This eliminates non targeted applications or leaking.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers over impervious surfaces The Club maintains a mix and load area specifically for herbicides and pesticides. This is equipped with a sump pump in the floor that enables tank wash or spills to be pumped overhead to the appropriate tank. The chemicals are segregated by liquid, granular and powder and by chemical composition. All appropriate staff safety equipment and proper ventilation is present. When refilling spray tanks these overhead tanks are then emptied into the appropriate batch. This eliminates non targeted releases of pesticide, herbicide or fungicides into the environment.
Installation of above-ground fuel tanks We have double walled above-ground storage tanks that have the capacity to contain all contents in the event of a leak. These tanks are installed on impervious sealed concrete. Fuel tanks are surrounded by steel bullards to prevent collisions and accidents by maintenance vehicles. Staff are instructed to drive slowly past the storage tanks regardless of these safety precautions. Tanks are clearly marked with \"Gasoline\" or \"Diesel\" to prevent fuelling of equipment with the wrong fuel. Smoking is prohibited in the maintenance area.
Installation of sufficient secondary containment for fuel The double walled tanks are designed to hold 110% of the inner tanks capacity, ensuring containment if the inner walls fail. If both walls fail, the AST's were placed on top of a slop leading to the self-contained wash pad which is designed to contain the fluid. The bacteria in this wash down station can consume up to 50 gallons of gasoline in a 24 hour period.
Provision of containment booms and absorbent materials We have a containment boom and emergency spill system ready to go in the event of a piece of equipment goes into the water. A safety and emergency plan is in place.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution on its golf course:

Activity Description
Eliminating leachate and run-off through careful timing of turf inputs We monitor weather conditions before applying an chemical inputs onto the golf course. Our goal is to maximize the plant uptake before any chance of leaching can occur. We also schedule different applications during different seasons to minimize leaching.

We provide a buffer between the highly manicured turf grass and the wetlands by installed a combination of wildflowers and sand cord grasses. It provides a seemless transistion. All of our water is monitored very closely as it relates to the wetlands.

Fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide apps are not permitted within 20 feet of water
Establishment of vegetative buffer strips around water bodies We have successfully created no mow zones in many locations by installing sand cord grass, canna and other plant species along lake banks. We maintain lake borders with native plants to buffer between the water’s edge and the Bermuda Grass of the golf course where it does not affect golf play. Members have seen a noticeable increase in water fowl in these areas.

The first 20 feet of shoreline is a No Spray Zone (no pesticides used), and a Limited Spray Zone is extended anywhere else a risk of runoff and/or lower threshold levels exist.
Establishment of emergency spillage response plan We have an emergency plan in place. Appropriate emergency phone numbers are kept by the nearest phone to the pesticide loading pad in case of emergency. Only employees with a pesticide applicators licence are allowed to handle such chemicals/products, and are required to complete training associated with spill containment.

Spill containment protocol is also taught to each employee when training for their \"commercial applicator\" license. Applicators must be at least 18 years of age and licensed by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Controlling erosion and sediment discharge In the event that soil is disrupted near a water body a silt screen is utilized.
The club ensures that grass clippings are not introduced/disposed or other organic debris into the lake systems. Club shorelines are maintained in a manner that will control erosion of soil into the lakes. Littoral plantings are introduced and maintained in appropriate areas, Native vegetation is planted or encouraged on banks to reduce potential of erosion. We utilize geotubing for vulnerable lake banks to eliminate erosion into the water.
Establishment of pesticide-free zones All areas within 20 feet of water are off limits for inputs except for a few tee decks that are located on islands. All wetland preserves are off limits with the exception of invasive exotic plant removals. Sarasota County is the enforcement agency for the buffers surrounding preserve wetlands and Southwest Florida Water Management District is the enforcement agency for the wetlands. These preserves are designated by Sarasota County and Southwest Florida Water Management District. We have a third party environmental maintenance company monitoring these areas for invasive plants.
Use of swales and bio-filters to slow and treat surface run-off Our golf course acts as a swales for the community by accepting runoff water from the back of the resident homes. We utilize swales near preserves to prevent direct drainage into wetlands. We also have sumps designed to filter the water accumulated in the swales to eliminate direct flow into wetland preserves.
Pesticide Containers Disposal All containers are triple rinsed and rinse water is added to the sprayer for application. These are stored in a safe, contained area until disposed. Bulk containers are picked up by the distributor for re use.

Community

The Venice GCC has engaged in limited "PR" related to promoting itself as an environmental steward, however GM James Schell has been invited to speak at numerous events about his efforts to fellow businesses in Sarasota and Southern Florida. Staff are informed of environmental policies and asked to provide input to the "Green Team", a group of staff from each department to review and network on opportunities related to the environment, resource efficiency and environmental education.

Golf played a pivotal role in Sarasota's earliest beginnings, when a Scottish nobleman by the name of Sir John Gillespie purchased 60,000 acres of Florida wilderness - sight unseen, including the site of Sarasota in 1884. The decision to send his son, Colonel J. Hamilton Gillespie, to Sarasota in 1886 to manage his property, inadvertently helped set in motion events that would shape the future of the state as well as the area. Colonel Hamilton was a keen golfer, and he built an early golf course, a four-hole affair, which was later lengthened to nine holes. The dual appeal of golf and fishing set the tone for the state's popularity as a winter resort. Many locals still refer to Sarasota as the \"Cradle of Golf\" in the United States

Today, Sarasota County boasts more golf courses per capita than any other community in the world! Visitors from around the globe have come to tee it up and walk these fairways steeped in golfing history. The current British Course record is 62 set by a local lad, Paul Azinger, in 1980. Maybe your next round will be the new record. Enjoy and good golfing.

Employment & Education

Typical staffing levels at this golf facility are:

Full Time Part Time Seasonal
Club Management 5
Course Management 16 4 2
Food & Beverage 13 18
Golf Coaching 3 3 10
Retail & Leisure 5

The sustainability working group at this golf facility is comprised of:

  • General Manager
  • Course Manager
  • Committee Members
  • Technical Specialist
  • management team

Employees at this golf facility receive the following formal and informal environmental education:

Activity Description
Storage, application and disposal of pesticides Our pesticide applicators are fully trained and hold a pesticide applicator license. The storage facility has locked shelving located in the mix and load room. This room is self contained with concrete floors that slope towards a sump drain. We apply pesticides as a curative when our pest population surpasses our threshold of tolerance. We provide training through the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. We also send our technitions to regional training sessions.
Efficient water management Our superintendent is a fanatic about water management and it shows in his everyday activities. He has an assistant and an irrigation technician that monitor daily flow rates and make adjustments as the weather dictates. We match our soil moisture readings, with ET rates and projected rainfall to optimize our soil moisture.
Management of accidents and emergencies As part of the commercial applicators license, staff undergo training related to spill containment. The potential for non targeted application during filling and rinsing tanks is eliminated by our state of the art mix and load station.
Management of habitats and vegetation The wetlands and preserves maintenance is subcontracted to an environmental maintenance company. The Audubon International is a great resource for us to keep up to date on the local fauna and flora.. We also rely upon the Sarasota County Environmental Resource Department who provides us with great advice and recommendations to improve our already outstanding native areas.
Waste minimization, separation and recycling This is a mission of each department manager to minimize waste. Our Green Business Partnership affiliation has helped in the area of recycling. Sarasota County Solid Waste department is also a partner of the Club. We perform solid waste audits every few years. We were used as a case study for the Sarasota County Green Business Partnership to the Florida Dept of Environmental Protection Agency.
Health & Safety We have a staff safety committee that meets on a regular basis to discuss areas for potential improvement. All department managers are responsible for adhering to the label instruction for use of hazardous agents. All safety concerns are immediately addressed. I also require an annual safety inspection by our insurance carrier and they may also make recommendation. They have however, asked if they could use the Club as an example for their other clients.
Energy Saving Florida Light and Power Company has provided several energy audits and made recommendations to us on how to decrease our electrical demand. I have since been aggressively reducing consumption through the recommendations of Energy Resource Partners and Environmental Technology Resources Inc. Of course I am on a personal mission to get the electric bill as low as possible.
Understanding of landscape and cultural heritage We have worked with several Florida landscape architects, multiple landscape designers, growers, contractors and with the County extension to provide us with the most appropriate plants for this location. We have a mixed landscape plan that includes, Florida native plants, exotic tropic plants, and a collection of tropical bamboo on the property. The cultural heritage of this property is based on the development of the city of Venice. Well before that time Ponce de Leon was said to have found the "Fountain of Youth" just a few miles away.
Environmental management planning The purpose of the Club’s long range environmental plan is to provide the framework for the Club’s approach to environmental management. This includes staff and member training, staff and member communications, and the implementation of Best Management Practices that will enhance the quality of life for our members while safeguarding the environment. The club considers the environment to be an important component of our long range plan for the club property.

The club is dedicated to long-term environmental education and improvement programs.

Community Relations

This golf facility engages with local community groups in the following manner:

Activity Description
Neighbours Community members are made aware of our efforts through newsletters and website.
Local Government We are active participants in the Sarasota County Government. We have served in two working groups that were responsible for the golf couse construction standards in the land in development ordinance and the fertilizer ordinance. We are currently working with the Solid Waste Department to develop and environmental restoration of a former solid waste disposal site.
Local Environmental Groups Sarasota County Green Business Partnership Program

Venice Golf and Country Club General Manager James Schell has discussed the Green Business Partnership at board meetings and with the local business community.
Local Community Groups We recently created a community charitable foundation to help local causes. This has brought us great exposure to the local community and these organizations have received about $150,000 in donations from us the last few years. Of course we also donate many rounds of golf for 30 or more charities each year.

The SRQ Eco Seeker Website aims to promote Sarasota as an Eco-tourism paradise where travelers, and locals alike, can explore nature, attractions, and restaurants - all with an Eco-minded theme. Venice Golf and Country Club is featured on their list of golf facilities.

Media The Club has appeared in many publications and trade magazines in recognition of our environmental stewardship and sustainability leadership. Sustainable Florida has recognized the Club in several categories and finished runner up to Disney World in the category of Leadership.
Local Businesses We are a charter member of the Green Business Partnership and have been a leading participant for many years. These businesses call on us for advice and guidance frequently. We also review their services and product lines to see if we can purchase from them. We have also assisted other clubs (Ritz Carlton Orlando) seeking advice on GEO certification.
Schools & Colleges We act as a host for offsite education the University of South Florida Hospitality School of Management. The GEO Certification has students from the best university Turf programs seeking internships here. This summer will have invited 4 for turf and 1 for hospitality management.
Bio Diversity Event We are hosting a community wide biodiversity count of birds, mammals, native plants, exotic plants, and other living beings. The will be done in concert with Earth week utilizing the format developed by Audubon International. Experts will lead our member volunteers in the identification process.

Land Use & Cultural Heritage

This golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:

Activity Description
Maintenance of existing public paths The Venice Golf and Country Club has a number of walk ways through the residential and club house area that are maintained. These are pedestrian friendly and do encourage members to walk vs drive. We have an active biking club.
Creation of new paths and nature trails Staff have created a nature trail in the land leased to the North East of the clubs property. The old landfill site has proven to give walkers a fantastic view of the surrounding area and wildlife. We shred our golf course tree waste and use it to mulch the 1.5 mile walking trail.
Installation of effective and welcoming signage Signs related to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program are maintained. We have named our Golf maintenance facility the Environmental Resource Center. Signage proudly displaying GEO, Audubon, and Green Business Certifications.
Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing) Bird Watching, hiking, tennis, swimming, fishing, fitness center and golf!
Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland) Venice Golf and Country Club General Manager James Schell has organized a leasing agreement with the Sarasota Country to provide members access to the closed landfill for enjoyment as hiking trails.
Promotion of Cycling Several bike racks are located throughout the community for residents, members and employees. Two informal bike clubs were formed
Promotion of Low Speed Electric Vehicles Venice Golf and Country Club has electric golf cart parking located for our members when using the pool, fitness center and clubhouse. We have over 350 electric carts that are owned by members to use for transportation within the community. Golf Cart batteries are charged on off peak hours.

No archaeological or heritage surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility does not consult any organizations regarding the conservation of cultural heritage.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to conserve cultural heritage features:

Activity Description
Historic Features (Hedgerows / Dykes / Moats / Cairns etc) We have several natural wetlands on the property. They are protected and entry is not permitted without proper authorization. We do however remove invasive exotic vegetation to promote native flora and fauna.

Communications

This golf facility undertakes the following internal environmental communications:

Activity Description
Provision of newsletters, notice boards & poster display Newsletters, display boards, website, Facebook, mobile club application and updates are sent to the community and members to advertise our efforts.
Members evenings and course walks Venice Golf and Country Club General Manager James Schell has hosted numerous walks and event evenings where he has spoken of the clubs environmental efforts.
Course guides / brochures We host several Eco Tours for our members each year. This is typically groups of 8-12 members. The group is led by local experts in nature and water resources.
Interpretation panels & course signage There are some signs regarding ACSP participation and we are utilizing a club app to advertise our efforts. We proudly display our GEO Certified designation along with our Audubon International Certified Sanctuary and Green Business Partner designation.
Establishment of a nature trail The nature trail will continue to be developed as years progress. Staff recycle branches that have fallen by chipping them on-site and applying them to the trail surface.

This golf facility undertakes the following social and environmental advocacy activities:

Activity Description
Website, press releases & brochures Website pages with presentations. Social media usage.
Supporting campaigns Sarasota County Green Business Partnership Program
Course walks / open days We are participating in a Bio Blitz / Earth Day.
Attending community meetings Venice Golf and Country Club General Manager James Schell

Boca Grand Resort, Boca Grand, Florida, Going Green from a Club perspective. I shared this presentation with an expert from Florida Light and Power. This was a good match because he talked about what can be done and spoke to what the Club has done and beyond his suggestions. This group was the Club Accountants professional organization. It included controllers, bookkeepers, vendors, Club General Managers, Univ of S. Florida student chapters and CPA firms. The Venice Golf and Country Club, Sustainability from a Club Perspective,
Joint practical projects with community Wetland maintenance activities. Removal of exotics plants.