Emirates Golf Club Becomes The First Golf Club In The MENA Region To Become GEO Certified

Emirates Golf Club, the annual host of the European Tour sanctioned Omega Dubai Desert Classic has become the first golf club in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region to become GEO Certified®.

The Golf Environment Organisation was founded in 2006 to support golf, helping the sport deliver the greatest possible 'positive impact' in the communities and environments it touches, now and in the future.  GEO Certified® is golf's internationally accredited ecolabel which is awarded based on the club demonstrating a commitment to continual improvement in six main areas of sustainability; water, nature, energy, supply chain, pollution control and community.

In becoming GEO Certified®, Emirates joins some of the most famous golf courses in the world that have previously hosted Ryder Cups, Open Championships and European Tour events, including St Andrews, Turnberry, Gleneagles and Le Golf National, host venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Based in Dubai, Emirates Golf Club remains an iconic golfing venue in the United Arab Emirates. The Club was the first all grass course in the Middle East when it opened in 1988 and today boasts world-class golfing facilities on the championship Majlis and Faldo courses, combined with casual and fine-dining restaurants, swimming, fitness and tennis facilities making it a renowned all-encompassing leisure hub.

Christopher May, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Golf said, "We are delighted to become the first golf club in the Middle East to become GEO Certified®.  The drive to become GEO Certified® has been a key milestone in our long term environmental strategy focussed on protecting our natural resources.  We look forward to building on this achievement to make even more improvements to our sustainability approach in the future."

Craig Haldane, Director of Golf Course Maintenance for Dubai Golf said, "Becoming a GEO Certified® club is an extremely important achievement in a region where efficient resource use, especially of the water supply, is essential.  Through a team of dedicated colleagues we have remained focussed on continuous efficiency improvements and this award is a result of the hard work that we put into making our Club more sustainable every single day.  It is fantastic for us to be recognised as part of a leading group profiling sustainable golf for clubs all around the world."

Highlights from the OnCourse report of Emirates Golf Club have included the following:

  • Reduction in irrigation consumption by 34%, through investment in a state-of-the-art irrigation system
  • Changing the water supply to treated sewage effluent water - 100% recycled water that would otherwise maintain a high environmental cost to dispose
  • Installation of a new state-of-the-art pump station that allows up to 6,500 gallons of treated sewage effluent (TSE) water per minute to travel through the network, significantly reducing watering time
  • Transition of the turf grass to a variety far better adapted to lower quality water
  • Significant reduction of maintained turf areas is taking place on the Faldo course, switching the original sward into autochthonous species such as the desert fox grass
  • Initiation of a turfgrass reduction programme and introduction of native grass species to minimise areas requiring high maintenance, including fertility, mowing and irrigation providing numerous environmental benefits
  • Creation of protected areas to preserve and encourage bird life
  • Recycled water used for cleaning of workshop facilities and golf course maintenance equipment
  • Highlighted the outstanding community role that Emirates Golf Club plays by promoting Dubai worldwide
  • Commitment to environmental sustainability by enhancing the conservation and protection of desert habitats, with their wildlife and vegetation
  • Land heritage is achieved thanks to the original design that understood the value of the site and that integrated the courses into the desert particularities, with its characteristics sand dunes and rolling shape
  • Emirates Golf Club conserves nature through a variety of different practices, one of the most significant is bird control, which is achieved by the old tradition of falconry

Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive said, "Emirates Golf Club has shown superb initiative in efficient resource use and naturalisation of out-of-play areas, among many other key environmental activities. We are thrilled to see the club become GEO Certified® and look forward to the evolution and expansion of their new sustainability ideas".

Emirates Golf Club has been an official European Tour venue since 1989. Mike Stewart, European Tour Tournament Director said; "The European Tour are founding supporters of GEO and have a long-standing commitment to sustainability.  The European Tour's Green Drive long-term goal is to encourage all venues hosting European Tour events to become GEO Certified®, and that all tournaments and facilities are run in a sustainable way. Emirates Golf Club's longstanding commitment to sustainability has been evident for some time, so we are delighted that they have been recognised with this certification and that they are active in The European Tour Green Drive."

The certification follows the presentation of the Efficient Use of Resources Award at the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operator (IAGTO) Awards held in Lake Como, Italy.  The award was presented for a highly focused and sustained approach to irrigation water technology in a region where pressure on the vital resource is enormous.