Singapore: Last week’s Sentosa golfing showpiece was not only notable for Sergio Garcia’s five-stroke triumph in the SMBC Singapore Open.
While the Spaniard’s success was rightly hailed, so, too, were the efforts of the host venue who drew attention to two subjects at the heart of the club’s existence through its creative #KeepItGreen campaign – growing the game among young people in Singapore and Asia, and raising awareness of the need for sustainable practices within golf.
In conjunction with the Singapore Golf Association, Sentosa Golf Club donated a free round of golf to local youngsters for every ‘Green in Regulation’ that Asian Tour number one Gavin Green hit throughout the week. In the process of earning a tied eighth finish, the Malaysian totalled 52 greens hit, meaning the club will donate the same number of rounds to budding local youngsters over the next 12 months.
With the imminent hosting of the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship (February 21-24) and the Men’s Asia-Pacific Amateur in October, the club has already opened its doors to local amateurs hoping to qualify for either tournament, who are free to use its facilities as they wish in preparation for the biggest events of the year.
It’s hoped initiatives like these will ensure the longevity of the sport in Asia, something that gives Josh Burack, the Asian Tour’s Chief Executive Officer, cause for optimism.
He said: “It’s vital for the sport that we have a pipeline of young stars coming through, and I have to say Sentosa Golf Club are hugely instrumental in everything they do for the development of the sport.
“From their active junior programmes to opening up the club prior to tournaments for local amateurs and professionals to come and practice, the club is a huge asset to golf in Asia.”
Aside from its dedication to raising the profile of the game among the younger generations, Sentosa has worked hard over recent years to improve its environmental footprint, and is currently ‘On Course’ to becoming a GEO-certified venue.
Home of the Asian Tour, and also The R&A’s Headquarters in the region, the club enjoys a growing reputation as a thought leader in the region and, during Singapore Open week, the club’s General Manager and Director of Agronomy, Andrew Johnston, spoke to the Asian Golf Industry Federation summit on Sentosa’s approach to sustainability.
“As a club, we have made a conscious effort over the past few years to really improve our methods when it comes to looking after the environment, none more so than when re-developing the New Tanjong course in 2016,” said Johnston.
“Such protective measures included the creation of a special temporary nursery to facilitate the relocation and replanting of more than 260 palm trees during the redevelopment, installing six reservoirs-cum-water features to ensure that the New Tanjong Course is self-sufficient in irrigation, and re-using concrete from old cart paths as the basis of all new cart paths.”
Entitled ‘Sustainable Practices with the Golf Industry’, the summit also featured contributions from Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the globally-recognised Golf Environment Organisation, Golf Course Agronomy Consultant Chris Gray and Patrick Feizal Joyce, Vice President Golf – Asia at Lagardère Sports, a Full Business Member of the AGIF.
The #KeepItGreen message was reinforced throughout the SMBC Singapore Open, with multiple opportunities for spectators and members to back the environmental and participation drive. On the final day, attendees were encouraged to come along in their best ‘green’ outfits, whilst some of the world’s best players, including tournament winner, Sergio Garcia, contributed their support to the cause via a new campaign video.
The video alone has been viewed by almost 200,000 people worldwide, with thousands more being reached via social content featuring the campaign hashtag during tournament week.