Royal Wellington Golf Club, the host venue of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), is celebrating after being recognised for sustainability in golf.
The club, which recently held the prestigious event organised by The R&A, the Masters Tournament and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, reached the milestone of becoming GEO Certified® just before the biggest championship to be played in New Zealand got underway.
Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship
China’s Yuxin Lin lifted the title and as a result received an exemption to play at The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie and an invitation to play at the 2018 Masters Tournament.
Royal Wellington’s Chief Executive, Kurt Greve, said, ‘Environmental and social responsibility is a big part of our Club’s philosophy and vision, that was shown this year hosting New Zealand’s biggest ever golf event, the 2017 AAC Tournament, which was broadcast in 160 countries around the world.
“Achieving GEO Certification is an enormous milestone for us and confirms from an internationally recognised body that we are doing the right things for the environment and our Club.’’
Sustainability in golf
Highlights from the club’s report were across a wide range of sustainability action. To ensure the preservation of natural habitats, Royal Wellington Golf Club has collaborated with leading New Zealand environmental agencies on stream, wetland and woodland management including buffer zones to protect sensitive areas.
Solar powered sensors were also installed to monitor the flow of the course’s waterways. In addition, a tree advisory group supports the club in caring for its valuable forest areas, which include unique New Zealand species, such as a 500-year-old Kahikatea.
A significant effort has also been made to increase resource efficiency. In 2015, an energy audit led to LED lighting upgrades and other energy efficient resource management. Petrol powered golf carts have been replaced by models fitted with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and an investment schedule has been put in place for replacing maintenance machinery and irrigation hardware with new, more resource efficient technology.
Royal Wellington’s certification also reflects a commitment to the social aspect of sustainability, seeking engagement with the wider community. During the course’s last major renovation, the club collaborated with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to construct a community walking and cycling path along the banks of the Hutt River. This project included replanting the river banks with native species, not only to create an aesthetic recreational environment, but also to improve soil stability.
The golf club has further links with the community through its role as a multi-functional sports facility and as a coaching centre for local schools. The club works closely with the regional body, Wellington Golf, to grow the game in New Zealand’s capital city area.
John Spraggs, Royal Wellington Golf Club’s Director of Agronomy said, “We have always put a lot of effort into being a sustainable golf course in all areas and now it is very satisfying to receive recognition through such an internationally respected certification.”
Leading golf courses
Following Yuxin Lin’s victory in the 2017 AAC at Royal Wellington, the 17-year-old Chinse player received an exemption into The 147th Open at Carnoustie and an invitation to play the 2018 Masters Tournament.
Dominic Wall, Director—Asia-Pacific at The R&A said, ‘’Royal Wellington provided an excellent stage for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and we were very pleased to see them achieve GEO Certification just prior to the championship. It’s important for leading courses to play their part in supporting sustainability and demonstrating the benefits this can bring, especially ahead of staging a high-profile event such as the AAC.’’