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Costa Rica Country Club GEO Certified


Partnership between historic country club and academic institute sets a new marker for sustainable golf in Latin America

San Jose, Costa Rica – In the Escazú district of San Jose a unique ten-hole golf course has gained recognition for it’s overall commitment and action in sustainable golf.

Costa Rica Country Club (CRCC) first introduced the game to the Central American nation in 1940. In 2012, its credentials have been reinforced by the achievement of the GEO Certified™ ecolabel.

The Club’s efforts match that of the countries. Among the most environmentally progressive nations on the planet, Costa Rica ranked fifth out of one-hundred and thirty-two nations in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index, published during the World Economic Forum at Davos in January.

“Costa Rica is proud of its natural heritage, and our club’s high level of environmental and social consciousness is inspired by the members and administrative board,” explained Wesley Vargas, CRCC Club Manager, “We are continuously working to improve conditions for our 189 full time employees, our members, and the planet we live, work and play in. This is enshrined in the constitution of our club.”

“We were very eager to follow the GEO process, and fortunate to have the support and guidance of Professors from EARTH University in this endeavour. We appreciate the importance of sustainable golf course management and hope this achievement will encourage other clubs to undergo the certification process, and to learn and imporve as they do so.”

Georeferenced soil and plants measurements

The full GEO Certified™ Report for CRCC can be read here:

The club’s drive to secure recognition from the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) was initiated by Professors B.K Singh and Johan Perret, experts in Soil and Water Science and promoters of sustainable turf management practices. Their multi-disciplinary team, under the umbrella of Green Roots Consultants, supported CRCC as they worked first to scientifically assess and then refine their management practices.

GEO verification visit (from left to right: Wesley Vargas, Operation Manager, Fernando Calderon, GEO Verifier, Rafael Ortiz, Chair of Golf Committee)

“We were tremendously impressed by CRCC's commitment to environmental protection and enhancement,” said Professor B.K. Singh, “Their desire to respond to the scientific analysis of soils, hydrology, ecology and general environmental quality of the site was extremely positive, and will help them continue to make highly informed decisions about course management in the future. The GEO sustainability agenda and OnCourse™ programme ensured the approach was comprehensive, and that site-specific priorities were easy to identify, evaluate and action."

“The scientific data we obtained through the extensive monitoring of the course’s soil composition, drainage, infiltration and carbon sequestration provided an invaluable resource to develop precise irrigation, fertilization, landscaping and maintenance programmes.”

Wesley Vargas, Operation Manager and BK Singh, Professor with GEO flag

In addition to driving down resource use, CRCC seeded local “criollo” grass in all rough grassland area. This does not require irrigation and/or fertilization to remain healthy, and all landscaped areas around the course and clubhouse use native plants and flowers which require minimum or zero maintenance.

As Accredited Verifier Fernando Calderon, GEOSA, explains, CRCC’s environmental initiatives extend a long way into the local community and across the club’s product and supply chain:
“CRCC’s purchasing policy demands that all products have environmental certifications and are purchased from companies within the region, and the Club’s clear position is contributing to the growth of a regional, green economy. As an indicator of this commitment, the club’s administration places environmental impact directly alongside price when evaluating purchasing options. Costa Rica Country Club is a great example of how a small, urban, community based golf business can have an overall positive impact within its locale.”

Read Fernando’s Verifier Report here:

Left to righ José Chaves, Golf Superintendent, Johan Perret, Professor and Deborah Palacios, Assistant Golf Superintendent

GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith is delighted to see a Latin American club participating in and benefitting from the GEO OnCourse™ programme:
“The commitment and achievements of CRCC remind us that all existing and new golf facilities can and should be a positive force in sustainable development. The details that really set the club apart are the way that environmental issues are a central focus in all decision making, and also how they have outreached to work with the EARTH University and harness that expertise. We were also delighted to see them drive way beyond legal compliance, by voluntarily investing in new infrastructure and staff education as they progressed towards certification.”

About GEO

GEO is a stakeholder-funded, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to helping the global golf community establish leadership in environmental enhancement and corporate responsibility. GEO Certified™ is the world's most constructive and credible ecolabel for golf course and club management.

GEO works with golf, government and environmental organizations worldwide, including The European Tour, United Nations Environment Programme, The R&A and the Club Managers Association of America. For more information, please see: www.golfenvironment.org

Kelli Jerome


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