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Green Out! Caddies, players, sponsors and fans dress up in green

Best practice case study: Waste Management Phoenix Open
Every beginning of February, more than 500,000 golf fans are gathering in Scottsdale, Arizona for the best-attended golf tournament in the world: The Waste Management Phoenix Open. What makes the event different from other golf events on the tour is the strong focus on sustainability. And not only sustainability at the golf course, but the event is also focusing on the supply chain, waste management, greywater projects and involving stakeholders. This makes the Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) not only the best attended event in the world, but also one of the most sustainable events.

Green Out! to raise awareness for sustainability

In order to increase the impact of all the sustainable initiatives and to get this into the mindset of the visitors, the WMPO started the Green Out action. All the fans, caddies, players and sponsors were asked to dress in green to raise awareness for the green efforts of the tournament. On this day, $35,000 was raised for Arizona Clean & Beautiful. According to the ‘Green Squad’ that counted all green things 131,727 fans donned green gear.   

Further proof points of sustainability at the WMPO

With the six-year sponsorship deal of the event by Houston based Waste Management Inc., the event was able to start, together with tournament host Thunderbirds, with a long-term vision on environmental management. A first step was self-certification of the event, using the British Standard 8901. A sustainability assessment report was developed that focused on the different issues for stakeholders, the sustainability goals and KPI’s and concrete proof points of implementing sustainability. One of the issues was stakeholder engagement, so Waste Management started with their main stakeholders to determine key event inputs and outputs for the WMPO. Based on these conversations the team started to look for quick wins and proof points of sustainability to communicate this to media and visitors. In 2011, the following top actions were implemented: 
  • Implemented a greywater pilot project by reusing cooking and cleaning water in portable lavatories
  • Composted food waste, napkins, paper plates, cups and recycled aluminum, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and scrim
  • Purchased 100% of electricity generated by renewable energy and the event piloted solar light towers, 30 cubic yard and Big Belly solar trash compactors
  • Replaced diesel waste trucks with those that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions

Local community involvement

The WMPO involves the local community in the event. Just before the WMPO there is a Sustainability Forum with Arizona State University, where other business partners and local community members are invited to get together and share best practices within each industry. Furthermore, WM and ASU School of Design students partnered to develop four mini golf holes that will be on display outside of the main entrance to the tournament. Each of the holes, which can be played, represent several of the sustainability initiatives that are taking place on course.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To reduce the environmental impact of the WMPO, the event calculated the greenhouse gas emissions for all aspects. The following graph shows that most emissions were generated by diesel fuel used in generators and shuttle buses, and propane used for heating and cooking: 
There are several aspects that make the WMPO as one of the best examples of implementing sustainability at a major sport event. The first is a long-term commitment of the sponsor, which helps to set a vision, goals and KPI’s. The second is the involvement of all stakeholders and an analysis of the entire supply chain. The third is benchmarking that helps to define points for improvement and quick wins. And the last aspect is a strong proof-point communication strategy with several concrete actions that are also communicated to the visitors. These aspects make sure that sustainable events like the WMPO outperform others.

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.

How Social Media are Changing Golf

Social networking in golf
Social media are on the rise: more and more events are using online networks to communicate about golf. Online ticketing, iPhone Apps, augmented reality, podcasts and YouTube videos are just some of the online initiatives. An important question therefore is: why does social media matter in golf?

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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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