The future has arrived at Princeville Makai Golf Club, on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Protecting the environment is no longer a goal the staff hopes to achieve someday, but rather a philosophy whose implementation has commenced in earnest.
“The dream began in November 2018,” said Doug Sutter, general manager of the club. “The overall dream is to go single-use plastic-free.”
The interim accomplishment — no small feat — is the discontinuation of plastic water bottles throughout the property.
“I personally walk the beaches and enjoy the ocean, as do many of my team members,” Sutter said. “We’re all frustrated seeing the trash and debris on this small island with such a sensitive environment. That’s what motivated me to think more sustainably.”
The dedication of Laura Kettler, former merchandise manager at the property, also was a motivating factor, as she encouraged the recycling of everything possible in order to save both costs and resources.
“We all observed her and respected her,” Sutter said, “and we all wanted to make a difference. It’s a win-win for the ownership and the environment.”
Previously, more than 100,000 single-use bottles were used and recycled annually at the club. Now water is no longer served in plastic bottles at the Makai Grill or on beverage carts. Instead, Princeville Makai guests have several alternatives, including bringing their own vessels to fill with water; receiving a free paper cup made from recyclable material; purchasing a PathWater, a reusable aluminum water bottle with locally sourced purified water; or purchasing Yeti or Corksicle aluminum vessel products from the golf shop, including some sporting the Princeville Makai logo.
The property currently has two FloWater refill stations on site, with plans to add more, as well as additional water stations throughout the golf course. The refilling stations filter water seven times, and the water emerges fresh and cold, with a pH level increased by 15 percent compared to tap water.
“We believe our program is courageous and precedent-setting,” said Sutter. “Hawaii is a place that can touch people’s lives, where a consistent message can take root.”
Outside the U.S., many Troon International properties also are showcasing innovative solutions to reduce damaging environmental practices and support local ecosystems. The Grove, near London, has removed single-use plastic across its food and beverage outlets by introducing compostable or reusable vessels, and has implemented a strategy to achieve zero waste to landfill. In a similar vein, Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, in Alicante, Spain, is replacing all plastic water bottles on the cart fleet with biodegradable Tetra-Pacs, and is replacing all one-liter water bottles sold in the clubhouse. Plastic tees also are being banned.
“Sustainable golf development is successful golf development,” said Jon Brook, director of golf and sports at Las Colinas.
Costa Navarino, in southwest Peloponnese in Greece, is another example of a Troon International property joining the effort, with one of the world’s first earth-sheltered clubhouses. The design of the Bay Course building is based on a doctrine of bioclimatic architecture. In the United Arab Emirates, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi is a certified Audubon International golf course designed in compliance with strict environmental guidelines.
“Our vision for Saadiyat Beach Golf Club is to successfully operate a world-class golf course in full harmony with its natural environment,” said Francisco de Lancastre David, cluster general manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, and Yas Links Abu Dhabi. “The club is immensely proud to be a fully certified Audubon International golf course and we will continue to assess our ongoing practices to ensure we are operating at the most efficient levels.”
Also in the UAE, Al Hamra Golf Club in Ras Al Khaimah was the first golf club in the region to go fully plastic-free. In Dubai, The Track, Meydan Golf took steps last year to remove single-use plastic water bottles from the facility, investing in additional water dispensers around the course to ensure the quality of the guest experience.
“Troon International is proud to be working with facilities around the world that are united in their environmental focus and recognize the important role golf can play in both bettering and maintaining the landscapes and communities around them,” said Mark Chapleski, president of Troon International. “As the properties achieve global recognition for their efforts, Troon International hopes to inspire others to take action, becoming more environmentally friendly and sustainably focused in the process.”