Published on : Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Thanks to a unique collaboration amongst international and national golf bodies a further significant step forward in golf’s sustainability leadership has been announced at this year’s BTME. Major upgrades have been made to OnCourse® – the easy to use web app that supports and promotes the social and environmental value of golf facilities.
Spanning all the key issues of golf’s sustainability agenda, within the simple nature, resources and community structure, OnCourse® provides multiple benefits to individual golf facilities and the industry, including:
– Education – Delivering accessible best practices, guidance and library of key resources, accompanied by a bank of shared examples from other clubs.
– Recording – Capturing streamlined social and environmental best-practices and data, with a secure and consistent storage for annual information.
– Analytics – Addition of new tools to help facilities analyse and improve performance and cost-savings, from water-budgeting, pesticide applications, carbon footprinting and natural capital.
– Reporting – Enabling golf facilities to produce an annual Social and Environmental Value Report to share with their communities while also providing a continually updated set of anonymous data for use by the industry to strengthen golf’s public image and relationships with governments and other influential groups.
– Certification – The optional step to gain credible recognition via golf’s externally accredited certification scheme.
Available from 1st February 2017 the upgraded OnCourse® programme is managed by not-for-profit GEO (Golf Environmental Organization) and supported by The R&A and other partners, including The European Tour, Jacobsen, Toro, John Deere, Golf Europe and dozens of National Golf Federations and with promotion from BIGGA, FEGGA, EGCOA, CMAE, PGAE, and EGA.
Jonathan Smith, CEO of the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) said: “After a lot of input from across the golf industry and looking closely at the way other sectors are supporting and promoting sustainability, we are delighted to bring this new version of OnCourse® forward, with and for golf, to make sustainability easier to understand, act on, and communicate. This new platform gives golf the technological means to harness data and stories from across thousands of courses, which, when promoted to the outside world will leave nobody in any doubt as to the sport’s commitment, progress and value to people and the environment. We are now looking forward to working in close partnership with national federations and associations in the UK and internationally to support their efforts in engaging and supporting their members.”
Steve Isaac, Director -Sustainability at The R&A said – “Thanks to the significant upgrades to OnCourse®, golf now joins a growing number of pioneering sectors that have developed their own custom built sustainability platforms. This means we can offer a proactive solution for self-regulation with governments and begin to gather essential data consistently across a wide range of sustainability metrics. This will inform golf’s own performance over time and also enable us to communicate more confidently and visibly to the wider world.”
Jim Croxton, CEO of BIGGA added – “A central system to record and evaluate the fantastic work that greenkeepers and golf clubs do to support the environment and golf is critical to our industry. BIGGA is fully supportive of OnCourse®, and is committed to working with GEO and the R&A plus all the other partners in this project to ensure golf can demonstrate in a credible way its sustainability credentials. We’re delighted that GEO have chosen our flagship event, BTME, the foremost turf management event in Europe to announce the upgraded system”.
Richard Flint, Participation & Club Support Director at England Golf added: “England Golf sees sustainability as a key challenge and opportunity affecting the strength and success of facilities in the years ahead. We recognise that OnCourse® will provide a channel for disseminating the latest ideas and guidance to clubs; for gathering key data and also as a means to share stories about innovation and success. Results from OnCourse® can help support government engagement and public relations and we see this as a positive development for the sport in England”.
Bob Williams, Chief Executive of The Golf Club Managers Association added: “We are receiving more and more enquiries from our members on how best to organize their approaches to sustainability – as an ever more important element of club success. OnCourse®, provides a simple, informative structure, like a ready-made sustainability plan – with quick self-assessment, easy data recording and the ability to really impress the local community through the generation of highlights and a report that demonstrates the whole value the golf club provides”.