Sustainability in Golf

Hosted By

Experience Green

Experience Green hosted the nationally recognized Sustainability in Golf symposiums in 2013 and 2014 that provided education and connected resources to promote sustainable golf practices.  We now shift to evoke action for sustainability at Beaufort County, SC golf facilities through golf’s global eco-label, GEO Certified® with framework that focuses on six areas: 1) nature, 2) energy, 3) water, 4) supply chain, 5) community, and 6) pollution prevention.


The Sustainability in Golf initiative seeks to support golf facilities' efforts to:

• Minimize environmental impacts in the areas of waste, water, energy and air quality.
• Give back to and engage the community with educational experiences that promote sustainable practices, the natural environment and the game of golf.
• Promote a supply chain that has responsible social and environmental practices.
• Create innovative approaches to measurably minimize negative environmental impacts, improve economic bottom lines and grow a community culture for sustainability.

CLICK HERE to read full Sustainability in Golf policy (pdf).



The 2015-2016 Sustainability in Golf program will offer golf facility operators the following:

• Four (4) workshop sessions (Dec, Jan, Feb, March) featuring award winning golf facility practitioners on topics such as sustainable supply chain, value of data, waste management, communicating success and more
• Access to references tailored for the Hilton Head Island Area golf community
• Hands on support for the GEO OnCourse® program and full GEO Certification
• Inclusion in the Hilton Head Island Area profile for the first International Sustainable Golf Destination award application, garnering associated marketing benefits

Sustainable Golf Destination Award
In 2016, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators and GEO will present the first International Sustainable Golf Destination award.  With your facility’s participation in this program you will be included in the Hilton Head Island Area’s application to be considered for this prestigious award.


Photo courtesy of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort


There is no cost to participate, but registration with Experience Green and in the GEO OnCourse program is requested by November 30, 2015.

Workshop 1 of 4: Tuesday, December 8th, 3-5pm
Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island

• Program Introduction and Overview
Sea Pines Resort Testimonial and Case Study
• GCSAA Approved Education Points Available

Presented by Tony Wartko, Director of Facility Services, Sea Pines Resort and Mike Bennett, i2recycle
Sea Pines Resort is home to the RBC Heritage PGA TOUR event and is the first golf facility in South Carolina to achieve full GEO Certification for its three courses.  Among its successes is the impressive gain of 90 tons of waste diverted from the landfill in 2011, to 425 tons in 2014 through vermin culture, recycling, and other waste diversion methods.

Focus Topics
• Value of Data Collection
• Sustainable Supply Chain
• Innovative Waste Management
*Workshop provides .15 GCSAA Approved Education Points to participants

Workshop 2 of 4:   Tuesday, January 5th, 3-5pm
The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay Case Study

Presented by Paul Carter, CGCS, The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay
As recipient of the 2015 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship from the GCSAA, Paul has achieved specific success in reducing energy consumption.  In 2013, the facility’s innovative electric equipment initiative reduced annual gasoline consumption by over 9,000 gallons, point source carbon dioxide emissions by over 182,000 pounds of carbon and operational expenses for the State of Tennessee by over $21,000.00 annually.

Focus Topics:  Energy, Nature

Workshop 3 of 4:   Tuesday, February 23nd, 3-5pm
Decisions and Design for Sustainability
Presented by Clyde Johnston, ASGCA,
Clyde Johnston Design
With more than 25 years’ experience as a golf course designer, Clyde recognizes how the parts of a golf facility affect the whole.  He has seen many changes in the golf industry and advocates for innovation to ensure resource availability and profitability. Clyde advocates that even minor alterations to design, turf area and vegetation choices can reduce environmental and financial costs, and also enhance brand and member relations.  Clyde’s designs have received awards from Golf Digest, Golfweek Magazine and more.

Focus Topics: Pollution Control, Supply Chain

Workshop 4 of 4:   Tuesday, March 15th, 3-5pm
Partner Relations and Communicating Success
Presented by Anthony Williams, CGCS
As recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Government Relations Award from the GCSAA, Anthony understands the value of relationships and communications to ensure resource availability and enhance brand integrity.  He has held many industry leadership roles and is recognized regularly in the media for his advocacy efforts.  He was awarded the 2010 GCSAA President's Award for Environmental Stewardship and Golf Digest’s Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards in 2006.

Focus Topics: Community, Water

REGISTRATION DEADLINE - Monday, November 30th

Contact Teresa Wade to confirm your participation in the program

Please indicate if you will attend the Dec 8th workshop 3-5pm

Include in the email if you have signed up for the GEO OnCourse program (no cost, takes about 15 minutes - click here). Your familiarity with the program will enhance the Dec workshop value for you. Once you are registered with GEO, we'll add you to the website as a program participant.

In your email, send names and email addresses of your team members that will be contributing to your progress so we can include them in communications

We invite the Hilton Head Island Area golf community to join this effort (includes all of Beaufort County), and local golf associations, golf facility suppliers, community groups and individuals’ to support of this important effort.  This program is supported by sponsorships, grants and donations. CLICK HERE to view full sponsorship package.

program partners

hosted by

Thank you to our event partners for supporting this important initiative for the golf industry and our communities' sustainability.



Johnston DesignsSyngenta


Rain BirdLowcountry GCOASTI


Palmetto CoopCorbin Tiff

Sponsorship opportunities available. CLICK HERE to view full sponsorship package.

2015 participants

Sea PinesGEO Certified®
Harbour Town Golf Links, Sea Pines Resort
Heron Point, Sea Pines Resort
Ocean Course, Sea Pines Resort
Sea Pines Resort Certification Report – September 2015

The GEO Certification prompted us to review our processes, but also celebrate successes and identify areas for continued improvement. It engaged team members from many departments, which was a valued connectivity exercise.
Tony Wartko, Director of Facility Services The Sea Pines Resort

GEO OnCourse® Participants
Arthur Hills Golf Course, Palmetto Dunes
Bear Creek Golf Club, Hilton Head Plantation
Devils Elbow South, Moss Creek
Devils Elbow North, Moss Creek
George Fazio Golf Course, Palmetto Dunes
Old South Golf Links, Bluffton
Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, Palmetto Dunes
Spanish Wells Club, Spanish Wells Plantation

2015 media
Sea Pines Resort Achieves International Sustainability Standard

Hilton Head Island as leading example for first Sustainable Golf Destination award:
Golf courses lauded in 2016 IAGTO Sustainability Awards

2016 IAGTO Sustainability Award Winners Announced