Junior Tournament Achieves World First for Sustainability

Padova, Italy: The 2018 US Kids Golf Venice Open has been officially recognised as a GEO Certified Tournament for its inspiring leadership to advance sustainability in and through golf. 

The initiative was led by the voluntary leadership of the US Kids Golf Foundation and Golf della Montecchia, with strong support from the other two host venues – Golf Club Frassanelle and Galzignano Terme Spa & Golf Resort. The event is also backed by the PGAs of Europe.

Dan Van Horn, Founder and Chief Executive of the US Kids Golf Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to have achieved this world first. Innovation is ingrained in our DNA, as demonstrated by the approach we take at our home base in Longleaf, so it made absolute sense for us to push the boundaries on environmental sustainability and community value at our events.

“The GEO Foundation has been a credible and knowledgeable partner, providing support and now recognition that enables us to promote this important message more widely. We’d encourage all golf venues and tournaments to get involved.”

Paolo Casati, President of Golf della Montecchia and of PlayGolf54 Group, said: “Together with all my family we are honoured by this result. It was a long journey, based on a commitment to environmental values that started many years ago. Thanks to a valued collaboration with the US Kids Golf Foundation, we are very proud to spread this important message to the new generation.”

Co-ordination and delivery were overseen by sustainable golf expert Stefano Boni, who used guidance and resources provided by OnCourse Tournaments programme to liaise closely with the organisers, venues, hotels, transport companies, caterers and also the children and their families.

Recycling point on the golf course at Montecchia.

The award has been made following a robust third-party verification, which was based on all the evidence that Boni gathered and reported.

Jonathan Smith, Founder and Executive Director of GEO Foundation, said: “We are delighted to extend this well-deserved recognition to the US Kids Golf Foundation and the team that stages the Venice Open.

“Perhaps the most inspiring part is seeing the children and their families getting engaged and expressing such a clear desire to see the sport they love embrace environmental stewardship and social responsibility. We congratulate all the partners on leading the way, and expressing what golf can do to foster nature, conserve resources and build inclusive, healthy and sustainable communities.”

Susie Tomson, the independent, expert verifier, said: “The organisers used the international certification criteria to guide all their planning, and then broke it down into very specific and practical tasks, spanning a wide range of actions and issues.

“In a relatively short time, and without huge capacity or resources, they have managed to engage a lot of different stakeholders, and the players themselves, to generate real results. They are a model example of a smaller, non-professional tournament that can make a big difference.”

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