Highlands Country Club GEO Certified™

Historic golf course in sensitive environment is first to secure GEO Certified™ ecolabel in the Carolinas.

July 19, 2011

Highlands, North Carolina – The first golf club in the Carolinas to achieve the prestigious GEO Certified™ award, Highlands Country Club, has opened a new chapter in a long and proud history of environmental performance.

Established in 1928 by the family of Grand Slam winner Bobby Jones, the Donald Ross designed course winds through the temperate rainforest of the high Appalachians. The club’s founders engendered a stewardship and concern for the site that continues today through many clear examples of environmental and ethical best practice – assuring the enjoyment of these riches for future generations.

Speaking on behalf of the Highlands membership, club president Ed Bryant, congratulated the management team on their achievement:

“The members at Highlands share a deep-rooted belief in protecting the stunning natural assets we are privileged to enjoy here. The connection between great golf and a healthy environment is clear to all. Our talented management team is encouraged to explore innovative techniques for eliminating any impacts of golf and maximizing benefits to wildlife. We’re delighted to see their efforts rewarded with this international recognition from the Golf Environment Organization.”

Assistant Superintendent Christian Drake coordinated the club’s drive to secure the GEO Certified™ award:

“We’re very fortunate to be working and playing golf among the scenic waterfalls, rich biodiversity and captivating beauty of the Appalachians. This provides a constant reminder of the responsibility we have to protect and enhance the site, use resources efficiently and generally do as much as we can for the environment.”

“For us, it’s important to communicate that golf clubs are walking the walk as well as talking the talk. Achieving the GEO Certified™ ecolabel has both helped to credibly demonstrate our commitment and to identify areas where we can improve our performance before re-certification in three years time.”

View the full GEO Certified™ report from Highlands here: http://www.golfenvironment.org/clubs/highlandscountryclub

The certification of Highlands CC was undertaken by accredited verifer Tom Mead, GEOSA, who was hugely impressed during his site visit:

“Christian’s work carries on the efforts of Golf Course Superintendent, Brian Stiehler CGCS who initiated the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program several years earlier during his own tenure as Assistant. Both the staff and the membership here,young and old, clearly understand the importance of the facility’s impact on the environment and community. Their work is well planned, well communicated, comprehensive and they’ve brought sustainability to the heart of the club. It’s this which has enabled them to do what they’ve done, and also what positions them well to do more innovative things in the years to come.”

Read Tom’s Verification Report here: http://www.golfenvironment.org/clubs/highlandscountryclub/verifiers-report

“General Manager Greg Crawford CCM has provided leadership and support across the club, and is particularly keen to bring sustainable and ethical decision making into the clubhouse – particularly in the products that are bought and sold for catering, food and beverage and golf equipment.”

Greg added: “We try to source as much as we can locally, from ethical and environmental suppliers, produce that has its own sustainability story and good lifecycleattributes. We have more work to do in certain aspects of energy provision and efficiency, and we look forward to exploring each and every option as we goforward”.

Corinne Grimaldi, Managing Director of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Carolinas Chapter, congratulated Greg and his team on behalf of CMAA national:

“The Carolinas Chapter is very proud of the accomplishment of Greg Crawford, CCM, and his team at Highlands Country Club. Environmental sustainability is a much talked about topic in our industry today, so Highlands is applauded for being more than just a part of the discussions and for taking action in realizingwhat role their club can play in – and benefit from – it all. Highlands is the first club in the Chapter to earn this designation and has thus set a standard and will help lead other clubs on their same, environmentally savvy path.

GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith offered his congratulations to all at Highlands:

“It’sincredibly satisfying to see a club like Highlands connecting modern day sustainability with traditional values, and the quality of the experience it offers. It’s also clearly helping to unite staff and members around positive objectives and achievements on issues that the club and the local community are interested in and feel are important”.