The golf bodies of New Zealand have today announced their unified support for a new national initiative that will drive the sport’s sustainability performance to new heights over the coming months and years. The bold statement comes at the launch of OnCourse® New Zealand – a national version of the international program developed and assured by GEO Foundation.
Dean Murphy, the CEO of New Zealand Golf (NZG) launched the initiative from Remuera Golf Club in Auckland – the home of NZG, the Golf Managers Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) and the New Zealand Golf Industry Council (NZGIC).
“All of the associations felt it was time to take our existing efforts in environmental stewardship and social value to the next level. We see this as vital to the long-term health of our clubs and the sport, and we also want to make a meaningful contribution to the issues that we know are of significant concern for the people of New Zealand. We are extremely grateful to GEO Foundation, whose strategic expertise and custom solutions for golf enabled us to move quickly, effectively and credibly. OnCourse New Zealand will become the engine room of club support and engagement, performance measurement and sharing many inspiring grassroots stories, that’s why New Zealand Golf is committing investment to these important issues and support for our clubs,” says Murphy.
Spencer Cooper, board member of the NZ Golf Course Superintendents Association is sure the organisation’s members will embrace the opportunity to join the OnCourse® program. Spencer commented: “This is a very exciting moment for golf in New Zealand and a tremendous reinforcement of the stewardship and care that greenkeepers try to deliver day in and day out across the country. Joining OnCourse will enable our members to review and track their practices, key performance data and highlights, which will also help them plan and deliver new and exciting projects.”
The NZ Golf Industry Council recognises the complexity of the issues around sustainability. The Council’s Chairman, Des Topp, stated: “These important issues need the whole of golf to unite in the commitment, the action and the promotion of the results. We look forward to helping coordinate and represent what this great sport does to foster nature, conserve resources and build healthy, sustainable communities across New Zealand.”
Jonathan Smith, Executive Director of GEO Foundation visited New Zealand in June and immediately recognised the strong fit between great golf, the environment and sustainability: “In so many ways, golf in New Zealand highlights the natural compatibility between golf, the environment and strong communities, and this is a tremendous foundation to push further as an example of leadership and inspiration – domestically and also internationally. We are proud to support this strengthened commitment and action”.
A lot of incredibly valuable work is being done by other partners in the sustainability space in New Zealand and Dean Murphy sees OnCourse as an extension of that. Dean concluded: “This will build upon what’s been achieved to date with initiatives such as Project Litefoot, which will continue to provide free advisory to clubs in relation to energy, materials and water conservation. Other advisers in landscape, ecology and sustainable agronomy are also lined up to help us all pull in the same direction.”
Golf courses are keen to provide healthy and sustainable facilities for the enjoyment of their communities and to be a part of the NZ government target of becoming a Carbon Zero economy by 2050.