Jinji Lake Golf Club, located in the city of Suzhou in the Yangtze delta, has become the first Chinese course to be certified for its sustainability work by the Golf Environment Organization.
The golf club maintains over 100ha of of greenspace and wildlife habitat in the urbanized centre of Suzhou. Created eight years ago on a parcel of reclaimed land, the 27-hole course, designed by Gary Player’s firm, opened for play in 2006 and hosted the Volvo China Open in 2010.
Club manager Michael Gu, CCM, said: “In the space of five years Jinji Lake has matured into a prestigious members club and tournament venue. At the same time we’ve implemented a broad sustainability programme. These activities are sometimes considered mutually exclusive but Jinji Lake is demonstrating otherwise. Working with IMG Golf Course Services, we are continually seeking opportunities to enhance environmental conditions and improve resource efficiency.
“With over 300 employees drawn from the local community, this club is multiplying social and economic benefits right on its doorstep. We have comprehensive healthcare and education for all staff including environment and resource efficiency classes that connect to GEO’s sustainable golf agenda. Our intention is that this award will inspire further improvement and take our management practices from strength to strength.”
GEO verifier Micah Woods said: “I’m left in little doubt that Jinji Lake Golf Club is a model of best practice for golf course management in Asia. Inputs of water, energy, fertilisers and pesticides are being carefully monitored and the course management team is continually seeking ways to reduce them. The club has demonstrated its commitment and enthusiasm for environmental enhancement, and is well placed to drive forward with reductions in energy use and the promotion of its achievements within the local community.”
GEO chief executive Jonathan Smith said: “China has an opportunity to raise the bar in sustainable golf development policy and practice – breaking new ground in levels of ecological richness, resource efficiency and social integration, all the while imbuing the game with its own unique cultural values.”