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AGCSA and Golf Australia Jointly Launch World-First Environmental Initiative

1 August 2006
The Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (AGCSA) in conjunction with Golf Australia is meeting the challenge of environmental management best practice by committing to a national initiative that is set to revolutionise golf course environmental management in Australia.

The AGCSA/Golf Australia initiative makes available to all golf clubs and their course superintendents an easy-to-understand unique environmental management system (EMS) and free support workshops to build and implement EMS programs.

The initiative revolves around a specially designed EMS program called ‘e-par’, a web-based program that guides users through the introduction and development of a customised EMS for their golf course operations. E-par is based on the international standard ISO14001.

Golf clubs that join the programme will be in a significantly better position to identify, analyse, evaluate, treat, monitor and review their environmental performance. Membership of the program will communicate to local regulatory agencies and other stakeholders that each golf club is committed to meeting its environmental responsibilities.

 Included with the package are two one-day workshops, the first of which is scheduled for October 2006. The workshops will help assist golf clubs and their superintendents in the development of EMS documentation as well as the publishing of standard operating procedures, maintaining monitoring records and establishing environmental emergency response systems, incident reporting procedures and internal environmental audits.

An important component of the initiative will be the development of an environmental website linking to all stakeholders.  This website will become a major communication tool to ensure that the industry is kept up to date with all environment-related news including legislative changes and specific compliance examples from around Australia. The initiative culminates with the issuing of compliance certificates to golf clubs and the publication of an annual ‘state of the environment’ report back to legislative bodies and stakeholders.

Why has the AGCSA and Golf Australia launched this environmental initiative?
Responsible environmental management has become a major focus for the golf course turf management profession since the Warringah Golf Club (Sydney) incident of 2001, where the golf club and its course superintendent were fined in excess of $600,000 for a pesticide spill which resulted in the death of bird and aquatic life in Manly Lagoon.

“That incident brought home to the industry the need to re-evaluate its environmental management practices and the ACGSA has been leading this process in subsequent years through continuing education and now through the launch of this environmental initiative,” says AGCSA chief executive Steven Potts.

“The golf course management industry has been very proactive in its attempts to improve environmental management practices on golf courses and through the launch of this new initiative this process will only be enhanced.

“The initiative has received industry-wide support from superintendents, golf course general managers as well as support from Golf Australia chief executive Tony Hallam which is extremely encouraging.

“We hope this initiative will go a long way to changing public and golfers’ perceptions and increase confidence in the industry through the identification, analysis, evaluation, treatment and monitoring of environmental performance.