For the past 21 years, Tampa Palms has been more than a golf and country club, they’ve contributed to their local community as a certified Tampa Audubon Sanctuary!
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP) is an education and certification program that promotes ecologically-sound land management and the conservation of natural resources on established golf courses. Participation is designed to help course personnel plan, organize, implement, and document a comprehensive environmental management program and receive recognition for their efforts.
Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club is currently undergoing the process of being re-certified, and we sat down with the Club to get the inside scoop.
What's the benefit of being an Aubudon Sanctuary?
It shows the efforts of the Club to promote environmental sustainability and shows how golf courses can actually enhance the wildlife habitats and the environment.
When did you first become certified?
The Club has been certified since 1993, and recertification takes place every 2 years.
What's the process like to become certified/to maintain certification?
The process focuses on four categories: wildlife and habitat management, water conservation and water quality management, chemical use reduction and safety, and outreach and education.
What do the Members think?
The Members like it and believes that it adds to the uniqueness of the Club!
All our golf clubs take the upkeep and aethestics of their grounds very seriously. However, sometimes it is hard to balance aethestics with the best practices for the environment.
The award-winning Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses offers a certification program aimed at working with golf courses to protect the environment, all the while keeping true to the game of golf. In order to become certified, golf courses need to demonstrate environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation and water quality management.
For the past four years, ClubCorp’s Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton, Mich. has been working on getting their Audubon certification. Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of Agronomy and Oak Pointe Director of Agronomy Charles Fort and other staff members started the process slow and steady but it wasn’t until an Oak Pointe Member, Dr. Michael Britt, got involved that the ball really started rolling. The Club’s certification relied heavily on community and Member involvement and projects by groups such as the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, who planted annuals and made bluebird boxes.
According to Fort, they went through Audubon’s list of priorities and became certified after selecting and completing specific projects that were best for Oak Pointe. Since the Club has a lot of marsh, water conservation and water quality management were two main points of focus for them.
“It is something that would not have happened if it weren’t for Dr. Britt,” Fort said. “He took it over and really wanted to be involved and get more members involved. We both decided to go at it 100% and we’ve gotten even more volunteers since we’ve gotten our certification.”
Oak Pointe is a 36-hole golf club, with two beautiful and now Audubon-certified 18-hole courses designed by notorious architects: the Honors course designed by Arthur Hills and the Championship Course, re-designed by Jerry Matthews.