South African golf is seeking to become a leader in environmental sustainability, with the PGA of South Africa (PGASA), Club Managers Association of Southern Africa (CMASA) and Turf Grass Managers Association of Southern Africa (TGMASA) all signing an international agreement to achieve this.
The three bodies at the heart of the South African golf industry have committed to the vision of the Golf Environment Organization (GEO), an international non-profit organization aimed at making golf a global leader in sustainable sport and business.
In so doing they have joined major golf bodies such as the Royal & Ancient; the European Tour; the PGAs of Europe; the Club Managers’ Associations in Europe, America and Asia; various golf federations and leading courses such as the St Andrews Links; as well as major sponsors such as Rolex, Lyoness and Toro in committing to make golf more environmentally sustainable.
This will in turn significantly enhance the sustainability drive within South African golf as it benefits from global trends in this area.
‘The PGA has chosen to endorse GEO within the South African golf community due to their International recognition through the Royal & Ancient and the PGAs of Europe. The mutual collaboration with CMASA and TGMASA will allow for targeted engagement with the golf clubs and industry to the benefit of the environment and sustainable best practice,’ said Ivano Ficalbi, Chief Executive of the PGA of South Africa.
Janyne Marais, the General Manager of CMASA, is equally excited about this new initiative in the industry.
‘This is a very important agreement for us. This enables us to send a positive message to the public and to government about the benefits of golf courses and their role within the green belt. Environmental sustainability is vital and the timing is right for all parties to work together to achieve good practice in this area. We will also continue to work with all of our local consultants to ensure we meet the GEO standard and achieve certification.’
According to Jonathan Peach, the Chairman of TGMASA, this agreement has the potential to showcase the already positive work being done at South African golf clubs to achieve sustainability.
‘There is a tremendous amount of good work already being done, and a global platform such as the one provided by GEO will help to showcase this and create a more positive environment for golf in this country. We are very excited to be a part of a move to bring all the main stakeholders in the golf industry together to create a greater impact in this area.’
By Michael Vlismas