Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has been leading the way in the region with their sustainability practices and environmental conservation processes for a long time. And they continue to provide a safe and thriving sanctuary for over 160 bird species, 250 + mountain gazelles and also a rejuvenation of native plants.
In 2020, the team reached several milestones that positioned them as leaders in enhancing, protecting and nurturing such an important property.
The team have been supporting the efforts of Saadiyat Island’s Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Programme; thanks to the collective efforts, hawksbill sea turtles continue to nest on this pristine island’s sweeping beachfront. Master developer, Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), began its Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Programme – the only one of its kind in the Arabian Gulf – in early 2010 but no one really knows just how long the turtles have been nesting here. The nine-kilometre Saadiyat Beach is home to several hawksbill turtle nests each year, with each nest containing around 90 to 100 eggs.
In February 2020 Saadiyat Beach Golf Club became the first Golf Course facility in the region to achieve: Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, Certification. This was a 2-year program, which, through hard work and implementing changes, lead to being awarded the certification. Achieving this certification is a true indicator of the commitment of everyone involved at the facility; Aldar, Troon, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Management and all the staff.
In early March 2020, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club converted to 100% treated effluent irrigation water. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is approximately a 140 hectares’ facility, with 120 hectares being irrigated through an automatic system. The conversion of the irrigation water source is a major positive move for suitability on the island. Producing year round championship golf course conditions in weather experienced in Abu Dhabi is challenging and to have such a dramatic change in water quality has taken some adapting to. Utilizing the resources within Troon International and Aldar’s full support the Agronomy team underwent several agronomic changes within the maintenance program. Capital was also invested, with the Agronomy team implementing a turf species change, which has better capabilities to survive and produce consistent turf surfaces, utilizing the new irrigation water source. To date the conversion program is on track with positive signs.
An extreme rare bird sighting: A juvenile Steppe Whimbrel was captured on camera at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in August 2020. This caused worldwide excitement and showcased Saadiyat Island on a wildlife platform. The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian Peninsula region. What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field. The sub-species was actually declared extinct in 1995 so it’s truly a great story. All the Troon managed facilities in Abu Dhabi host regular visits from local bird enthusiasts; with all bird species recorded, were identified and counted with exact numbers and dates submitted to and available from the UAE Bird Database which is linked to the Global Bird Database (www.ebird.org).
Speaking of the achievements, Francisco de Lancastre David, Cluster General Manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi said: “Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, with the commitment from Aldar & Troon, continues to evolve its sustainability practices throughout the entire facility. With the completion of the Audubon certification, a push for a plastic free environment and changing the irrigation to fully recycle treated water and the reconversion of all fairways to Pure Dynasty Paspalum turf to accommodate for a more sustainable sanctuary, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club continues in its mission to lead the way in the Middle East and become globally recognized as the most sustainable golf course.”