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.