Nine golf course projects recognised for positive impact on environment

  • Palo Alto Hills
    Marc Howard

    A new irrigation system at Palo Alto Hills has yielded a 15 per cent reduction in water use

  • Promontory
    Forrest Richardson

    Holes at The Hills at Promontory Club in Utah average just one acre of managed turf

  • Hampton Hall
    Nathan Crace

    Nathan Crace helped Hampton Hall Club in South Carolina solve issues with drainage

Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

Nine golf course design projects – eight in the US and one in Costa Rica – have been recognised for their positive impact on the environment by the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

The recipients of ASGCA Environmental Excellence Awards for 2023 include Bobby Jones GC in Sarasota, Florida, where golf course architect Richard Mandell has increased flood detention capacity to reduce the possibility of flooding downstream properties, while also addressing drainage issues in low-lying areas of the site.

Thad Layton’s renovation of Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica, which saw an overall 20 per cent reduction in irrigated areas, was also among the award recipients. The resort – which lies within the biologically diverse Guanacaste Conservation Area, a designated Unesco World Heritage site – planted over 14 acres of resilient native grasses in place of bermudagrass rough, installed a new Rain Bird IC irrigation system, and seeded Pure Dynasty Paspalum on greens and fairways.

Another recipient is Promontory in Park City, Utah, where Forrest Richardson has created The Hills, a new golf experience that meets strict water conservation measures while preserving two natural canyons. His 18-hole par-3 layout averages one acre of managed turf on each hole. Combined with a 12-acre practice range academy, short game area and putting course, the new facility has a total of just under 30 acres of managed turf. It uses an existing freshwater recreation lake and full-gravity delivery system requiring no electricity for pumping. Soil amendments were added to greens to retain moisture and allow less intensive irrigation of putting surfaces.

The other six clubs and architects to be honoured in the programme are Frear Park GC in Troy, New York (Mark Mungeam), Hampton Hall Club in Bluffton, South Carolina (Nathan Crace), Mountain View GC in Tucson, Arizona (Mike Gogel), Old Bridge GC at Rose-Lambertson in Matawan, New Jersey (Stephen Kay), Palo Alto Hills G&CC in California (Brian Costello) and Settlers Hill GC in Batavia, Illinois (Greg Martin).

“This is an impressive array of projects illustrating the good work being done for the benefit of golfers and the environment,” said ASGCA president Mike Benkusky. “The more than 30 facilities that have been recognised since this program began is a testament to the combined efforts of architects, owners, course managers and superintendents.”

The ASGCA Environmental Excellence Awards programme was introduced in 2019 to recognise innovative work being done by ASGCA members at golf facilities to address their environmental needs. Submissions are reviewed by a panel of golf industry and environmental leaders, including representatives of GEO Foundation, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association.