Local school children wildflower seed sowing at Kingsdown Golf Club

GEA 2019 – The social side of sustainability

Amanda Dorans, greenkeeper at Dundonald Links, south-west Scotland chair of BIGGA and previous Golf Environment Award (GEA) champion, discusses the ‘behind the scenes’ sustainability at this year’s awards dinner.


Get ready, steady…GO! The race is on…

What race, you ask? The race to win a 2019 Golf Environments Awards?

No, the race to create the best awards dining experience and best event addressing all that is sustainable and positive about golf!


So what happens at the GEAs?

The GEA presentation of Awards evening is more than just a ‘sit down’ dinner for 160. The dinner is a coming together of the golf industry, greenkeepers and club managers alike to celebrate best practice in golf during BTME week.

The event has a theme – Sustainability. Environmental Footprint, whatever the buzz word that is currently in fashion. There may be in vogue terminology, but ‘Responsibility’, in my opinion will never go out of fashion. And that is exactly what the awards 2019 dinner has set out to become – a Responsible Event.


Montrose Golf Links, GEA 2019 Finalist

What is a Responsible Event?

A big question!

At the end of 2018, I was delighted to be asked to help STRI’s event team organise a ‘Responsible Event’. We started by making a list, everything has start with a good list, wouldn’t you agree?

Now everything won’t be achieved, but it was a great starting point and the way forward to improve…

On choosing the hotel, The Crown, Harrogate, we looked at location, capacity, good fire safety, reputation and disabled access. The normal considerations. But this is where is gets interesting. We liaised with the hotel on their current procurement and recycling.


Wylihof Golf Club, GEA 2019 Finalist


A ‘Responsible’ ambition

We had an ambitious ask – a minimal waste event, using local supply chain for food, beverages (organic and Fairtrade) and, where possible, flower arrangements.

The Crown Hotel Events Manager, Bryony was great. She was on board from the start and she welcomed our thoughts on achieving a sustainable event.


Notts Golf Club, GEA 2019 Finalist


The supply chain

We discussed the hotel’s supply chain for our menu and other aspects of the hotel’s procurement.  Asking those questions made us aware of The Crown’s strong relationships within the community.

They support their local butcher, and bakery. Harrogate bottled water is in use and even the handwash and lotions in the bathroom are sourced from across the street.

We swapped out a few things to ensure minimum transportation and reduced packaging:

  • Bryony drafted in Betty’s Tearoom Coffee and Tea, which is all Fairtrade and incurred no additional cost.
  • Bottled water has been replaced by tap water to ensure reduced bottle packaging.


Minchinhampton Golf Club, GEA 2019 Finalist


Fewer uplifts of waste and less mileage travelled with supplies reduces carbon emissions released into our atmosphere, therefore:

  • The meals chosen for the evening have been ethically sourced
  • Good recycling is in place
  • Waste regulations will be met with appropriate waste segregation
  • Food waste is kept to a minimum

Food waste is a loss of profit to the hotel, which is passed onto us the customers. The bigger issue is that food is being grown and used unnecessarily. If we over produce, we put unnecessary pressures on the landscape, using up precious green space.

We discussed options to provide The Harrogate Homeless Shelter with leftover food. As I write, this is still in consideration.

Food hygiene etc. must be given due consideration also, but wouldn’t it be a great charitable act to give to those who are less well off.

Aldeburgh Golf Club, GEA 2019 Finalist

The main event

Pay special attention this year to the table centre pieces. There will be live plants and you will be encouraged to take them home and plant them in your garden.

Come summer you can sit back and watch them flourish. This may even encourage you to start “and submit” your 2020 GEA application


Carnoustie Golf Links, Environmental Golf Course of the Year 2018

We will endeavour to communicate these efforts throughout the event, with the hope to encourage people to take these ideas back to their respective golf clubs.

If you are coming to the awards I hope to see you there to raise a glass and celebrate the strong connection between golf and the land. If you are not coming, then I believe there are a handful of tickets still up for grabs – see the contact details below.

Thank you to everyone who supports the GEAs year on year. Golf is great.


Amanda Dorans is a greenkeeper at Dundonald Links Golf Club, winner of the 2014 Environmental Golf Course of the Year award and Chair of SWS BIGGA.

If you would like to attend the Golf Environment Awards, then please email enquiries@strigroup.com or call +44 (0) 1274 565131 to grab one of the last few available tickets.