The month of July is focused on Family Golf, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to get outdoors with your loved ones for not only quality time together but also to show them the beautiful nature and wildlife that surrounds a golf course.  Many courses pride themselves on the variety of plants and animals that call their facilities home and encourage visitors to enjoy the natural setting surrounding the fairway.  At Audubon International (AI) we encourage you to participate in golf, especially at courses that are dedicated to maintaining an environmentally responsible course.

First Let’s Talk Golf

There are many dedicated golf course managers that offer family friendly promotions to encourage young people to get out on the course.   Throughout the month of July, PGA and LPGA Professionals at participating facilities nationwide offer reduced or no cost activities for golfers of all ages and skill levels.  In addition, Troon Golf is offering juniors free golf after 3 p.m. when playing with an adult. Juniors also are provided with complimentary Callaway Rental Clubs all day and complimentary instruction when taking a lesson with an adult.

Another way to get your young golfers more engaged in the sport is by teaching them the importance of a sustainable course.  Audubon International has again partnered with The First Tee, with sponsorship from the Toro Foundation, to bring Live Green! programs to seven courses across the country in 2015. 

 “Live Green!” brings attention to the importance of caring for the environment. Through The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits, health and wellness are the focus when teaching kids about the game of golf –lessons they can incorporate into their personal lives. The local First Tee Chapter encourages young people to explore the health of their community and discover how they can give back and care for the environment.  Live Green! started in 2009 to teach kids the values of environmental management and golf—the program has reached thousands of children across the country. Upcoming Live Green! events will be held in the following locations.

  • The First Tee of Idaho, Boise, ID
  • The First Tee of Monterey, Salinas, CA
  • The First Tee of East Lake, Atlanta, GA
  • The First Tee of Richmond and Chesterfield, Richmond, VA
  • The First Tee of North Florida, Elkton, Fl
  • The First Tee of Raritan Valley, Kenilworth, NJ

Want to get involved, or volunteer at one of these events?  Reach out to Tara Pepperman, Audubon International Director of Cooperative Sanctuary Programs  at tara@auduboninternational.org or 518.767.9051 ext. 115.

What else can you do at a golf course?

Golf courses can be used for more than just golf.  There are many wonderful stories that AI members share about hiking trails at their course.  This is a great way to get your family up and moving this summer. 

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort Golf Club in Arizona has a hiking trail that starts at their course and winds through the desert and North Mountain Preserve.  Hikers will see saguaro cacti, palo verde, creosote bushes, rattlesnakes and roadrunners on their walks. 

The Callippe Preserve Hiking Trail surrounds the Callippe Preserve Golf Course in California, and is a wonderful way for families to get out and see some great landscape after (or before) a day of golfing.  The trail borders area designated for the species preservation of the callippe silverspot butterfly, and visitors can spot many interesting bird species. At Tam O’Shanter Golf Course in Pennsylvania, they have found a way to incorporate the education and nature trail right into the 18 holes.  Signage at each hole describes the environment to help golfers become more aware of their environment.  For example, at Hole #13 “The View” states:

“The naturalized area surrounding the tee is designed to attract birds. As you view the distant rolling hills, you can see that the golf course is part of the greater environment. In 1985 a tornado cut a path of destruction up the length of this fairway. Since then over 1,000 trees have been planted on the golf course and the trees gradually been reestablished, leaving little evidence of the natural disaster.”

Regardless of whether or not you and your children are golfers, you can still enjoy the green spaces that golf provides by taking a hike, bird watching, or learning about water conservation and habitat protection.  If you plan an outing to a golf course, make sure to call ahead to find out what they offer for families and ask about how they are working to protect and preserve the natural plants and wildlife that call their course home.

AI encourages you and your family to go play on a Signature, Classic or Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) Certified golf course.  These courses are working diligently to protect the natural habitat and your children will enjoy learning about wildlife and water conservation during your time there.  To find a list of members near you, check out our website at: https://www.auduboninternational.org/certified-members

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