Environmentally speaking, the Quebec golf courses’ use of water and pesticides was receiving bad press. To remedy the situation, l’ATGQ (Quebec Golf Course Owner Association) chose to take the lead and adopt a sustainable development recognition program that went beyond the actual environmental legislation.
Beyond the obvious environmental impact, the ATGQ wished for its members to be recognized for their initiatives on a social, economic as well as environmental level. Developed in collaboration with Tourisme Québec, this certification program focused particularly on the Quebec legislation on sustainable development.
The development of a program that takes into account the reality of all of Quebec’s golf courses and their operations required a collaborative effort. Therefore, we worked jointly with the ATGQ sustainable development committee and we established from the start a partnership with the Quebec Golf Superintendants Association. Once ATGQ’s will was officialised with a commitment Policy, we developed Par 3, a sustainable development certification program.
This program was designed to allow some golf clubs to initiate a simple and effective sustainable development process, as well as giving recognition to the leaders in this field. Using several existing programs such as Réservert, Golf Environmental Organisation and Audubon, we have created a unique program and tools allowing all golf courses to improve their sustainable development performance.
The Par 3 program was gradually deployed through training as well as pilot projects. This approach allowed ATGQ members to appropriate the process and better under-stand their club’s position relating to the issues addressed. Thanks to Par 3, golf clubs can now show their stakeholders all the efforts implemented in order to have a positive impact on their communities, reducing their environmental imprint and creating wealth in their region.
Less than 3 months after launching Par 3, a first golf club obtained a level 3 certification, the highest of the program. A total of five other clubs were also in the process of certification thus demonstrating the program’s accessibility and the club’s interest.