Blackstone Golf Course designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, one of only 10 in Arizona

Blackstone Country Club’s Hole #11, 453 yards, par 4

The Jim Engh-designed golf course at Blackstone Country Club has been designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the 10th in Arizona and the 778th in the world, by Audubon International.

Blackstone is a 570-acre private, gated community located within the Vistancia master plan in Peoria.

Earning the certification means the club has demonstrated a strong commitment to its environmental program and maintains a high degree of environmental quality in the areas of environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water quality management, water conservation and environmental planning.

“The Blackstone agronomy team is to be commended for its efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Jim Sluiter, staff ecologist for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. The championship course is home to mule deer, ducks, badgers, bobcats, prairie dogs, chipmunks, many types of birds and the wild donkeys that have roamed the area for generations.”

Course Superintendent Roger Brashear led the 25-member team in the year-long process that took more than 300 hours to complete.

“I’m proud of the team’s efforts,” he explained. “Their daily record-keeping allowed me to provide Audubon International with information in a concise and timely manner. It made things run very smoothly.”

Brashear, who is being recognized for his environmental stewardship by the organization, regards the certification as an affirmation of the club’s existing course maintenance practices.

Earlier this year, the Blackstone course was named among the “Best in State” by Golf Digest and the Blackstone community was named among America’s premier properties by Links. In addition, Travel + Leisure Golf listed it as one of the top 100 golf communities in the country calling the Blackstone golf experience “a visual, visceral joyride of a golf course.”

Brashear, who is accompanied on his daily duties by another member of the agronomy team, his Queensland Heeler named Dog, said the canine wasn’t thrilled about the work involved in the certification process. “Dog wasn’t a big fan of the paperwork. It meant he had to stay in the office with me and he’d rather be on the course.”
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