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Milestone in sustainable golf development

Milestone in sustainable golf development: Second edition of the international voluntary sustainability standard for golf developments demonstrates golf’s continuing proactive leadership and progress in the construction industry.

Developed through close collaboration, both within and outside the golf industry, the release of this latest edition of the Sustainable Golf Development Standard represents another major step forward in golf’s journey to becoming a leader in sustainable sport, land use and development.

Milestone in sustainable golf development

Milestone in sustainable golf development

Available to all new developments from September 2021, this simplified new edition raises the bar on sustainability expectations and focuses on the most relevant issues and challenges in the current climate. Renewed emphasis is placed on areas such as increased transparency, carbon impacts, flexible construction timelines, circular economy and the impacts of agronomic decision-making.

Facilitated by GEO Foundation (GEO), six months of open public consultation and dedicated work by the international expert working group for sustainable golf development has led to the release of the second edition of this credible, accessible and relevant voluntary standard for any golf development. The milestone document provides a tighter framework, which can guide the process of delivering any new golf developments and renovations, from site selection through to opening day – delivering positive social and environmental value throughout.

Sam Thomas, Director of Golf Development for GEO, the international organization dedicated to helping advance sustainability in and through golf said: “The process of working with public comments and the international expert group’s knowledge was a great insight into what we’ve seen change in the sustainability space over the past five years. There were invaluable inputs shared into the ways in which everyone felt that golf developments, done in the right way, can continue to make real positive contributions to their environment, climate and community. Going forward, we are excited to adopt this 2nd edition of the standard at all new golf development sites seeking to gain GEO Certified Development status and, over the next five years, see how we can all push on to deliver even greater positive impacts.”

The seven members of the International Expert Working Group, which helped shape this latest edition, included representatives from the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects; American Society of Golf Course Architects; The European Institutes of Golf Course Architects; Golf course builders – through Landscapes Unlimited; Australian National University, Former European Commission representatives and Wetlands International.

Richard Holland, Director, Operations and Network Development, Wetlands International commented: “Congratulations to all involved in this significant milestone for the golf development industry. The 2nd edition builds on the solid foundations of the original standard and raises the bar for new sustainable golf developments. These voluntary standards can also provide valuable guidance for policymakers and regulators in their responsibilities to deliver the best possible outcomes for the environment and local communities.”

The revision of the standard was carried out in line with ISEAL Alliance’s Code of Good Practice for Standard Setting. GEO has been part of the ISEAL Alliance since 2015 and the rigour and credibility of that code are central to the revision of the voluntary sustainability standard. These same codes of good practice are followed by other well-known sustainability bodies including Fairtrade, The Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Tom Mackenzie, Director at Mackenzie & Ebert and Past President of European Institute of Golf Course Architects stated: “It is great to see the release of the 2nd edition of this standard. It now better represents the current sustainability issues we face as designers and I was very pleased to be able to represent the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) on the expert working group. Along with EIGCA’s Raising the Standard of Sustainable Golf Course Design educational programme, which was created with GEO, this renewed sustainability standard represents another meaningful point of connection with GEO for our members.”  

The document and further explanation can be viewed here along with information on the OnCourse Developments programme, which provides practical support to assist all types of golf developments and the GEO Certified Developments mark, which provides credible recognition to new projects.

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EcoBunker’s new business development manager

EcoBunker’s new business development manager: Synthetic bunker edging specialist EcoBunker has made a significant expansion by appointing Hamish Crichton as its new business development manager. Crichton joined EcoBunker at the start of May, from soil surfectant and wetting agent provider Aquatrols.

“I come from a corporate background, but a few years ago I decided I wanted to follow my passion, and work in the golf business,” said Crichton. “Although I don’t have a background in golf, while at Aquatrols I took the Fertiliser Adviser Certification and Training Scheme (FACTS) qualification. It was quite a challenge to go back to school for the first time in years, but it did me a lot of good. I found that I love the science in soil and grass. It’s one of the first jobs where I’ve found myself reading books or watching videos at one in the morning and my wife has nudged me saying ‘Go to sleep’. The thing that astonished me was the number of times I read ‘The answer is not yet known’. It’s almost like a frontier science.”

EcoBunker's new business development manager

EcoBunker’s new business development manager

“I have a lot of sympathy for greenkeepers. On top of dealing with Mother Nature and the curve balls she throws at them, they have members to worry about! For me, I’m keen to expand my knowledge of the whole arena of golf. I got to know about the greenkeeping side of things, but I wanted to expand my knowledge of architecture and construction, and understand the world of the general manager. My previous experience in marketing and business development trained mehow to present a proposition to a general manager or a greens chairman, who are usually from a similar sort of background and that’s going to be a very important part of my role.

“I had a number of different opportunities, but I chose to join EcoBunker because I believe it is a company that has almost limitless potential. When Richard Allen first conceived synthetic revetting, it was to provide a new solution to the erosion of low edge parkland bunkers. He wanted to give golf courses the option of building aesthetically pleasing, more architecturally interesting bunker shapes without the worry of introducing an increased maintenance burden. As it turned out, the product quickly became popular on higher faced links pot bunkers and our challenge now is to change perceptions, demonstrating that the product translates extremely well to all golf course styles. It helps that we now have a wonderful portfolio from the tropics to the tundra, Major venues to municipals, featuring parkland, heathland and desert courses. EcoBunker allows greenkeeping staff to spend less time on their bunkers and get on with maintaining the surfaces that really matter.”

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Development Of The New RANGER XP 1000

Development Of The New RANGER XP 1000: Two decades since the introduction of the very first Polaris RANGER®, the historic legacy continues with the launch of the new RANGER XP® 1000.

The RANGER XP® 1000 is the latest addition to our strong utility vehicle line-up, and sets a new industry standard with over one hundred user-inspired improvements. It features class-leading power (82hp) and torque (61lb-ft), industry-leading towing (over 1100kg) and ground clearance (330mm) – which make it is the hardest working, smoothest riding SXS built.

Development Of The New RANGER XP 1000

So what does it take to design the new RANGER XP 1000?

Steve Wilcox, Senior Industrial Designer at Polaris Industries commented on development:“The process of getting a new product ready for production involves research, sketching, clay modeling and then a full-size hard model is created. This is followed by A-side Computer Aided Design (CAD) data for tooling. During the early phases of sketches and clay development, a new model can take between 24-32 months to complete a ground up design, with several team members contributing up to 65 hours per week.”

Steve was the Senior Designer of the RANGER XP® 1000, and responsible for the creation of the 2D exterior styling concept that was chosen to go into production and also overseeing the development of the design in clay, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and production.

“I love the RANGER line-up and I’d say that the new XP® 1000 is my favourite as it’s a product of my own blood, sweat and tears – and it turned out great.”

The Industrial Design department can often have five to six major programs running simultaneously, each having their own designer assigned. Very often, Senior Designers like Steve can often work on more than one project at once.

“Typically I have direct involvement between three and five major programs at any given time and frequently have a few smaller programs sprinkled in as well.”

Customer insight was used for the developments made to the RANGER XP® 1000 with 100 customer inspired updates being incorporated into the product.

Tiger Bracy, Manager of the Industrial Design team, said: “The “Voice of Our Customer” is always present and taken into consideration in the development of our products. We use online studies, dealer research, ride clinics, and focus groups to gather as much feedback as possible. This way we can make sure we’re delivering on what the consumer wants.”

Steve agrees: “Without the consumer, we have no product. As a designer, I am provided with lots of research by the product team but on top of this I always try to collect my own data by having informal and personal interviews with real people and asking very specific questions.”

While customer demand is an important driving force for constant innovation, so is the desire to remain a global powersports leader.

“We update models because our customers demand improvement and they deserve them, but awe also do it so that we stay ahead of our very aggressive competitors. We aim to refine our models with new features, and push the limits of design to maintain our position as industry leaders,” explains Steve.

With so much valuable feedback and data from owners as well as years of experience and knowledge, how does the team decide which improvements and changes are the most important?

“It’s a balancing act between functionality, performance and style,” admits Tiger. “We rank the attributes that are most important to customer’s needs, and we turn them into characteristics that the vehicle must deliver on.”

Steve concurs: “It’s also a case of balancing what is feasible within the scope of the program. We use our own experience and creativity to solve problems and enhance the user experience. Sometimes the consumers don’t realise there are areas to be improved. We’re enthusiasts ourselves and scrutinise the experience – perhaps sometimes more than our users – this is where we have the opportunities to innovate.” 

Both agree that working on a product, and then seeing it being used by customers is an extremely rewarding experience.

“I love seeing the products that we’ve worked on being used by customers. For me, the RANGER DNA is ‘Hardest working, smoothest riding’ and it applies to all the RANGER’s I’ve worked on. I’d say the biggest challenge is always having to prioritise the most important styling features because during the engineering process, compromises will always be made. It’s hard to let some of the key elements go, but you must in order to balance other features. My favourite parts of the latest RANGER are the stance and the styling,” said Steve.

Tiger concludes: “For me, RANGER must have a powerful motor, large cargo capacity, smooth suspension, industry leading towing ability, and a comfortable yet functional interior. All these elements we have built into the RANGER XP® 1000.”

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