19th Hole

John Wright
Director of Golf
Wildfire Golf Club
Phoenix, AZ

More Information

Achieving the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification

The United States has approximately 17,000 golf courses, with the average course consisting of 150 acres. Typically, less than one-third of a golf course’s acreage is considered in-play. This provides golf courses with ample opportunity to implement and showcase “green” initiatives. One such initiative is Audubon International’s “Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program” which Wildfire Golf Club achieved certification, representing the 22nd Marriott golf-managed property to earn the honor. We worked diligently to achieve our Audubon certification and we are very proud of this accomplishment, which helps reinforce our commitment to environmental stewardship.
The program provides golf courses, schools, businesses and residents an awareness to help protect our environment. By participating in this rewarding program you will learn how to manage and protect our water supplies, conserve irrigation water, protect and benefit wildlife, protect our natural resources, and reduce the usage of chemicals.
To give you an idea of what the certification process looks like here is a peek at what you can expect. The first two steps are completing a “Site Assessment” and developing an “Environmental Plan.” The site assessment is a simple questionnaire that asks for general information such as the number of golf holes, whether your course is public or private, and the number of annual rounds played. Types of soil, irrigation water and surrounding landscapes will also be addressed. Finally, plant and wildlife information will be required to complete this section.
Next, the environmental plan will need to be completed. The Audubon International organization can assist you with this process and lend some ideas to get you heading in the right direction. In this section of the certification process, you will learn about protecting and enhancing your native habitats, landscaping and wildlife. You will also address the safe storage, handling and application of chemicals. Water conservation and quality management is an area that hits close to home for all of us. You will implement programs that will help protect our rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. Finally, you will partner with your local community for networking and educational opportunities in environmental conservation activities.
Many courses will be pleasantly surprised at how much they already do to meet the Audubon certification. Becoming certified, for many, is merely documenting many practices that are already in place, combined with adding a few extra procedures. This program is incredibly rewarding and helps us stay true to the responsibilities we have in maintaining our natural environment. Contact Audubon International and get started today!
Audubon International • 46 Rarick Road • Selkirk, NY 12158 • 518.767-.9051 • email: acss@audubonint.org • website: www.audubonintl.org.
Wildfire Golf Club is located at 5350 E. Marriott Drive, Phoenix and is home to the Nick Faldo and Arnold Palmer championship courses located in the picturesque setting of the Sonoran desert featuring century-old Saguaro cacti and the McDowell Mountains. You can reach John Wright at 480.473.0205. More information is available at www.wildfiregolf.com.
Used for reference: “A Guide to Environmental Stewardship on the Golf Course” 2002.