Golf Digest Green Star Awards
The goal of the Green Star Awards is to identify a small number of the most outstanding environmental leaders in golf. In this inaugural ranking, we focused on resorts because they are the facilities that have the hardest challenge: They are most in the public eye, their customers are increasingly asking questions about environmental commitment, and they are where we expected to find the best ideas and the most innovation -- things that ideally every golf facility can emulate.
We wrote to the leading 400 golf resorts in America, using our ranking of North America's 75 Best Golf Resorts and our Best Places to Play ratings as a guide, and invited them to make their case. We asked for evidence of a comprehensive environmental program -- for the golf course especially, but also the resort operation -- that encompasses water use and conservation, energy use and conservation, waste disposal, pest and disease management, wildlife promotion and contribution to the local environment and community. We asked the resorts to detail their environmental policies, practices and initiatives, and how they relate to their specific local conditions, challenges and constraints, citing examples, facts and figures when possible.
We received 60 entries. These were cut by the editors of Golf Digest to a shortlist of the best 15:
Golf Club Orlando
Palm Beach Gardens
White Sulphur Springs
The applications of these 15 resorts were sent to our panel of 14 judges, who guided us throughout the entire process. The judges are: John Barton, Golf Digest; Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth; Dr. Kimberly Erusha, USGA; Jay Feldman, Beyond Pesticides; Dr. Mike Hurdzan, golf course architect; Dr. Tony Koski, Colorado State University; Greg Lyman, GCSAA/Environmental Institute for Golf; Tom Mead, consultant; James Moore, USGA; Paul Parker, Center for Resource Management; Roger Schiffman, Golf Digest; James Snow, USGA; Ron Whitten, Golf Digest; Robert Wood, Environmental Protection Agency.
The judges were asked to vote for their top six of the 15 and give their reasoning, comments, questions, concerns. The leading vote-getters were visited by James Moore, director of the USGA Green Section's Construction Education Program. He spent a day at each facility, interviewing the staff, looking at the golf course, touring the resorts, and taking copious notes. Based on his recommendations, our four Green Star winners were chosen: Barton Creek, Kiawah Island, Pebble Beach, Sunriver.