Playing Golf in Friendly Confines
New trend in golf course design appealing to mother nature
When you think of golf courses, what first comes to mind?
The grass? The golf carts? The numbers?
What about the birds? Do you think about how many kinds of flowers line the 18th hole? Do you notice the wildlife that quietly nibbles the rough?
Probably not. But a new trend in golf course design is starting to change peoples’ minds when they are looking for a golf club to call their own.
I’m talking about an environmentally friendly golf course. Sound far-fetched? You’d be surprised at how many courses are currently involved with creating a green community. According to the Audubon International, there are 27 countries, including the United States, that are protecting and improving their courses. That’s more than 2,110 golf courses.
It’s more than a fad. It’s becoming a standard practice and statistics have shown that today’s consumer is looking for an environmentally friendly golf community to build their dream home.
What is Audubon Certification?
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses provides guidelines that help courses work to protect precious natural resources, habitats and the game of golf. Achieving and maintaining certification demonstrates a deep commitment to environmental management and protection. A course can achieve certification by implementing environmental practices and documenting the results. This demonstrates leadership as a steward of the environment and publicly recognizes and rewards environmental achievements.
Let’s take a look at two golf communities that are Audubon Certified.
The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek
The Lowcountry of South Carolina is known for its pristine wetlands, beautiful trees and abundance of wildlife. When the developers of Briar’s Creek were in the beginning stages of designing the award-winning golf course, they knew that they had something special and felt a need to protect the area around the proposed golf course community.
“Briar’s Creek has a coveted number of large oaks; some are spectacular specimens,” said Steve Koenig, founder and developer of the South Carolina golf community. “So we didn’t want to disturb our canopy of trees.”
They contacted the Audubon International and entered the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP). By working closely with the group, Briar’s Creek became South Carolina’s first Certified Silver Audubon Signature Sanctuary and continues to this day to make sure that they meet the principles put in place by the society.
In Kiawah Island, real estate is in high demand and because of the high standards placed on the luxury homes in the area, buyers have become very discriminating in where they live. Creating an environmentally friendly golf community was a good way to give these buyers a reason to want to build at Briar’s Creek. Not only are the homes extraordinary, but they are surrounded by carefully protected South Carolina foliage and wildlife.
“We have an opportunity here at Briar’s Creek to kind of set a standard for development in the entire region,” Koenig said.
Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort
Another golf course that became a Certified Silver Audubon Signature Sanctuary is Gull Lake View in Augusta, Michigan. When Darl Scott purchased 120 acres in the late 1950s, little did he know what his impact would be on Southwest Michigan real estate. In 1995, all five golf courses gained Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status and they couldn’t be happier. The Scott Family views their courses not only as wonderful places for people to enjoy the game of golf, but also as great habitats for all types of wildlife.
And a happy golf course means happy Michigan real estate. Cranes Pond, a neighborhood next to Gull Lake View, adopted the natural outlook and stresses the importance of protecting the environment. There is a great deal of attention being placed on preserving natural resources and the habitat on the encompassing land. Considerable care and planning was done prior to design in order to assure that the very qualities that make Crane’s such a magnificent place to live, were not destroyed by the construction of roads and houses. A habitat and biological survey of the entire property was done for an entire year as part of the overall design process.
If more communities in the area take the torch and improve their neighborhoods to meet the Audubon standards, then Southwest Michigan will become one of the most stunning areas in the country and highly-sought after real estate.
What Can You Do?
If you are a member of a golf course and this program interests you, talk to your general manager, ask if they are Audubon Certified and, if not, when or if they are looking into becoming certified. Talk to your fellow club members and see if they are aware of the benefits of this certification. Urge them to talk to the general manager. Odds are that your golf club is aware of the program, but it is possible that they have never heard of it and might be very interested in becoming certified.
Imagine being able to raise your children in a place where they can learn to not only appreciate nature, but also to understand how the eco-system works as a whole and to better appreciate the game of golf.
You win and mother nature wins.
About the Author
This article was written by Kimberly Carrillo, who works with The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek and Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort.
If you are interested in finding out more about South Carolina golf, consider contacting the good folks at Briar’s Creek. They are an exclusive, private golf club located in Charleston, SC with a limit of 300 members.
If you like Illinois golf or are looking for a Michigan golf course, contact Gull Lake View, an established, Michigan golf course. Gull lake View has five golf courses and a resort that make a great vacation destination and also a wonderful place to live.
Be sure to also check out the information about the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses.