About the ACSP for Golf Program
The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is an award winning education and certification program that helps golf courses protect our environment and preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf. By helping people enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations, the program serves an important environmental role worldwide. Audubon International has developed Standard Environmental Management Practices that are generally applicable to all golf courses. These standards form the basis for ACSP for Golf certification guidelines.
Get Involved and Get Results
Getting involved is easy. Membership is open to golf courses in the United States and internationally, including private clubs, public and municipal courses, PGA sites, 9-hole facilities, resort courses, and golf residential communities. After joining the program, your next step is to take stock of environmental resources and potential liabilities, and then develop an environmental plan that fits your unique setting, goals, staff, budget, and time. Audubon International provides a Site Assessment and Environmental Planning Form to provide guidance, as well as educational information to help you with:
- Environmental Planning
- Wildlife and Habitat Management
- Chemical Use Reduction and Safety
- Water Conservation
- Water Quality Management
- Outreach and Education
Based on a site specific report provided by Audubon International, you develop a plan that works for your golf course. By implementing and documenting environmental management practices in the above areas, a golf course is eligible for designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, improving its stature and reputation.
Members receive A Guide to Environmental Stewardship, an attractive membership art print, a subscription to our Stewardship News newsletter, and a Certification Handbook to help you plan, organize, and document your environmental efforts. Membership also includes certification review and Audubon staff support and direct consultation via telephone, written communication, and e-mail. Site visits are available on a fee-for-service basis.
Most important, ACSP members get results. They improve environmental performance and community relations, reduce liability, save money, and contribute to the conservation of environmental resources.
Annual program membership fees for new members are $400 (USD) for properties located in the United States and $450 (USD) for properties in all other countries.
"I ike that the program is realistic in its approach and sets achievable goals. Golf courses are not required to make significant and expensive changes to their infrastructure in order to become certified. Any course can do it simply by altering their approach to property management. By completing the site assessment and environmental plan, property managers can really see their environmental assets as well as their liabilities and from there a logical course of action takes shape."
- Darin Hull, Environmental Management Coordinator
Glen Coe Golf and Country Club
Benefits of Membership
Being a responsible environmental manager is a key part of running a successful golf course, but, if you are like many people, you may not have the time or expertise to investigate and plan environmental strategies suited to your golf course. Audubon International can help. We understand that in order for you to green your golf course it has to be done a way that greens your bottom line. Below are just a few of the ways you can do that:
As a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf you will receive:
- The expertise of Audubon International’s staff
- Step-by-step instructions to create or enhance your course sustainability effort
- Tools for engaging and educating golfers and members about sustainability
- Subscriptions to Stewardship News, our quarterly newsletter
- Regular email updates with new resources
- Fact sheets on common topics
- Access to a network of courses facing similar issues
- Assistance with promoting your successes
But what kind of return might you expect on that investment? In strict financial terms, some of your efforts will pay off immediately and start saving or earning you money. Other efforts will have an up-front cost, but will have a definite payback period. Others still will not be as easily measured in economic terms, but will pay off in other ways that are just as meaningful, tangible, and important.
In addition, by becoming a more sustainable golf course you can expect to see many of the following long-term results:
- Improved Image and Reputation–Proven environmental performance can help a golf course differentiate itself from others in a crowded market and add value by improving public relations and marketing opportunities that attract new customers.
- Customer/Employee Satisfaction-Enhancing the nature of your business can enrich customers' experience and employee attitudes.
- Financial Performance-An effective environmental management program can result in reduced insurance premiums, as well as reduced costs for energy, water, pesticides, fertilizers, equipment wear, and labor. Read Golf’s Green Bottom Line: Uncovering the Hidden Business Value of Environmental Stewardship on Golf Courses for more information.
- Worker Safety and Reduced Liability-Best practices for chemical management reduce exposure and liability risks associated with storing, handling, and applying chemicals.
- Improved Efficiency-Proper environmental management cuts down on waste and promotes efficient operations.
- Environmental Quality-The environmental management practices required for certification help golf courses to improve the quality of our land, water, and air, and to conserve natural resources for future generations.