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Sustainable golf in Portugal

Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal showcase on sustainable golf
Although sustainability on the Iberian Peninsula is still not widely embraced, the Senior Open de Portugal at the Belas Clube de Campo showcased many sustainable innovations. From the 29th of September until the 1st of October, the Belas Clube de Campo was the international platform for a sustainable golf event. A recycling program, water management, sustainability in the entire supply chain and strong local community involvement were strong proof points for the first sustainable golf event in Portugal and Spain.


The Belas Clube de Campo is part of the André Jordan Group, a Portuguese family company that has been active on golf and tourism since the early 1970’s. From the start, sustainability has been part of the DNA of the company and more and more of the sustainable initiatives are being recognized. In 2009 and 2011, the Belas Clube de Campo received the Sustainable Development Award, which recognized the 25 most sustainable Portuguese companies. The golf course was also the first on the Iberian Peninsula to receive GEO certification, and has an Environmental Management System certified to ISO 14001 since 1999.

Senior Open de Portugal

For the inaugural Senior Open de Portugal that was held at the Belas Clube de Campo, various sustainable initiatives were taken. In partnership with CAOS and Green Point, the complete supply chain was analyzed on sustainable aspects. With all partners implementing a green strategy, the tournament was certified as a 100R (100% recycling) event. During the Senior Open de Portugal, 1.044 kilos of waste were collected and recycled. 
Gilberto Jordan, CEO of the André Jordan Group commented: ‘The organization of the Belas Clube de Campo Senior Open de Portugal will set a new standard in the sustainability of the controlled use of resources. We will compensate CO² emissions through a reforestation policy, separate and recycle 100% of the recyclable residues. We optimize the consumption of water, energy and fuel and reduce the use of natural resources to produce brochures and other printed materials in order to meet Green Point’s certification standards.’

Local community involvement

In addition to reducing waste and the carbon footprint, the Belas Clube de Campo involves the local community into the golf course and the Senior Open de Portugal. Money that was generated through the Pro-Am event was donated to an organization that helps disabled people in the same municipality. And also in the event hotels, the importance of carbon offsetting was communicated to the guests, visitors and players.
Local boyscouts and schools were invited to attend and watch the high level golf played. Since the start-up over 18 months before the tournament, air miles and car miles were registered. Nestlé Waters, one of the sponsors, was asked to supply the water not in plastic bottles but in dispensing machines with 20 liter cans. Furthermore, eco-friendly toilets for the visiting public were available at the premises.

Positive deviance of sustainable golf

These and many other initiatives showed that when there is a clear strategy on sustainability and strong commitment from the organizer and stakeholders, sustainability leads to a better reputation. Past research at large golf events showed that sponsors and visitors are increasingly aware of sustainability and want to experience this more on the golf course or at events. This makes sustainability not just a trending topic but a must-have for every organization. 

Case: Magic in Marrakech

Stakeholder coalition develops best practice for water management
Marrakech, the Moroccan Imperial city, is strategically located close to the Atlas mountains. In the early days, the city was the gateway to the Sahara desert and over the years, Marrakech developed into a unique touristic destination. An interesting destination also for golf tourism, showing the many golf courses around Marrakech. With 24.000ha, high summer temperatures, a total population of 950.000 people and nineteen courses, water is a valuable asset.

Positive deviance of sustainable golf

The Spanish Biogolf project
The project is founded and promoted by the FIDA, a Nature Conservancy organization in the Madrid area, supported by the Spanish Golf Federation and the municipality of Madrid. Also the Open de España is communicating the initiative. The aim of the Biogolf project is to preserve biodiversity on and around golf courses. It started with a pilot at the Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid.

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Sustainability is arguably the most important issue affecting golf development today. A sustainable golf course is not only more efficient, it also ensures a better reputation. The Sustainable Golf Project benchmarks global golf courses on sustainability in order to help golf courses gain insight into how to become a (more) sustainable golf course.

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