Qatar International Pioneering New Standards in Sustainability
Qatar International Golf Club (QIGC), a new world-class golfing destination with a revolutionary approach to golf is working to become one of the most sustainability led golf developments in the world as it confirms its aim to become a GEO Certified® Development.
An early adopter of the programme, QIGC began its partnership with GEO (the Golf Environment Organization), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting the global golf community in sustainable development, in 2012. QIGC is currently working through GEO’s OnCourse® Developments programme to achieve GEO Certified® Development status with the aim of maximising the role of the project in enhancing nature, conserving resources and supporting local communities.
QIGC’s achievements as part of the programme will centre around three main pillars – resource efficiency, nature enhancement and social value. The project is committed to delivering a wide range of net positive benefits in these areas.
Resource efficiency is a key element of sustainability at QIGC. Compared to the regional industry average, QIGC will benefit from 1,400 cu. m. less water utilization per month thanks to factors including large areas of drought and heat-tolerant planting, the minimization of turfgrass areas and smart irrigation and sprinkler systems. A root zone design that creates a perched water table under all grassed areas, the choice of Platinum TE Paspalum as a main grass type due to its salt tolerant capabilities and a drainage system which retains and recycles excess irrigation and rainwater also support the reduction in water usage on site.
Solar panels, energy efficient lighting and a zoned flood-lighting system will also contribute to reduced energy consumption. Wastage on-site is sorted to ensure the maximum amount of material can be recycled.
In terms of nature enhancement, the development will use predominantly native Qatari plant species whilst a series of naturalised lakes and the restoration of an old Wadi will provide resources for migratory birds to colonize in the region. Bird boxes are already installed in the most complete areas of the development to encourage habitation.
The development has already started showing its contribution to the local community through the live Pearl Coaching Programme, which aims to get golf clubs into the hands of 4,000 school children during the construction phase of the project. QIGC continues to provide opportunities for the community to take part in fun golf-themed activities in the lead up to the opening of the development, through various activities such as the most recent event for Qatar National Sports Day.
Ed Edwards, General Manager, Qatar International Golf Club commented:
“What we’re trying to achieve has never been done before in the region, or the world, and sustainability is at the heart of it. There is no better partner than GEO and its OnCourse® Developments programme to guide and support us in delivering sustainability both from a social and an environmental perspective. Golf has the potential to benefit a community in a very positive way – whether through health and well-being, promoting the values of the sport, site regeneration and nature conservation or education opportunities. Our collaboration with GEO will ensure that we are maximising these opportunities every step of the way and we hope that, as one of the few development projects currently going through this process, the wider golf community can also benefit from our learnings and experience.”
“Our Golf Course Superintendent, Darren Smith, is a part of GEO’s network of independent expert sustainability associates which not only benefits the development of our project, but also allows us to use our experience to support other golf projects around the region with their sustainability initiatives,” he added.
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO said:
“Qatar International Golf Club is showing real leadership in its aim to become a GEO Certified® Development and we commend them for setting this as one of their key project goals. They have embedded the principles of sustainable golf from the onset of the project and are showing a genuine commitment to nature enhancement, resource efficiency and community value. As we near the end of the project and start to see the golf course take shape we’re looking forward to seeing the final results of their innovative approach. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they progress along this journey throughout the development build and into the operations of the club.”
Anton Ortner, leading Golf Architect at Olazabal Design and also a GEO certified sustainability associate, added:
"It is amazing to be part of developing the very first golf design studios in the world, that are striving to be GEO Certified®. We are very proud to be part of such an important project, but it is not all just about pride; as course architects, it is our responsibility to maximise our efforts in ecological, social and economical sustainability. Environmental examples are areas such as the revitalisation of a Wadi as the native eco-system for natural drainage, the preservation and strategic integration of historic dry stone walls as well as an ancient ground water well. We have also made sure to use local materials including the use of recycled slag for all drainage gravel.
“Ultimately, however, sustainability is tied up to growing golf. If we do not win the next generation, our efforts would be futile. We have tried to focus on audiences that are less familiar to the sport of golf such as younger kids, female and family participants, these were a priority when designing the course and highlighted in specific design features such as designated kids tees and a world’s first female centric practice area.”
Unveiled in Shanghai at the Golf Business Forum, the world’s premier golf business event last November, Qatar International Golf Club is a landmark project for Qatar and the world of golf, offering a revolutionary and holistic approach to growing the game of golf. The cutting edge facility has been designed to support every member of society regardless of age or ability - from complete beginners to the world’s leading professionals – and focusses on accessibility and enjoyment. It comprises a range of short game formats, a state-of-the-art learning and practice facility and an18-hole championship golf course, 6-hole championship course and 9-hole par-3 course all designed by two-time major winner Jose Maria Olazabal.
Progress at Qatar International Golf Course is well underway with Greens on the Back 9 holes already grassed. The unrivalled combination of a premium golfing, leisure and sports education facility in one location, Qatar International Golf Club, is truly unique to the region and the world.