Audubon International initiative allowing nature, courses to coexist

Organization’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses heads into 2023 with significant momentum

BY DAVID DROSCHAK JAN 02, 2023 – Published on The First Call

Golf, unlike other outside sports such as football, baseball or soccer, offers a unique playing environment each time you tee up a ball.

Outside of the personal challenge of trying to go low or beating your buddy is the allure of the scenic surroundings of a round with family or friends. But few likely ponder how that environment was built — or even more importantly — is maintained while sipping a beverage at the 19th hole.  

The sport’s resurgence during the COVID-19 era shined a light on many phases of the game, and maybe none more important than the recent emphasis developers, golf architects and superintendents have placed on properly managing the course’s environmental impacts on the surrounding land, water and animal habitat.

With now about 2,000 golf course members worldwide, spanned over 34 countries, the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program is the driving force behind certifying and honoring golf layouts that promote environmentally friendly practices.

Big Cedar Lodge’s Payne’s Valley Golf Course, a public-access course near Branson, Missouri, is a member of the Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary Program. (Photo:

Golfers have seen the Audubon signs at various golf facilities and wondered what the program was about or how courses received the recognition. 

“There is a demand for this. Younger families these days want to be assured that… Read full article on The First Call