Metropolitan Golf Links Recognized for Environmental Excellence

Media Contact: Ray Davies, CGCS
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Oakland, CA-May 2005—Metropolitan Golf Links has achieved designation as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary." Gary Ingram, Certified Golf Course Superintendent, has led the effort to obtain sanctuary status on the course. Metropolitan, a CourseCo, Inc-managed facility, is the 35th course in California and the 533rd in the world to receive the honor. There are approximately 18,000 golf courses in the United States and more than 925 in California.

Metropolitan is the seventh California course under CourseCo management to receive the Audubon distinction following Crystal Springs Golf Course in Burlingame, Los Lagos Golf Course in San Jose, Riverside Golf Course in Fresno, Mather Golf Course in Mather, Eureka Golf Course in Eureka, and the former Lawrence links in Sacramento.

"To reach certification, a course must demonstrate a high degree of environmental quality utilizing best management practices in a number of areas," according to Shawn Williams, Environmental Technician for the Audubon Sanctuary programs. Categories include environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation and water quality management.

The award is given by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System (ACSS), the educational division of Audubon International.

"Since 'the Met' was built on an old garbage dump with salty dredged soil from the Oakland shipping channel, we have numerous agronomical and environmental challenges," said Superintendent Ingram.

Ingram and CourseCo are deeply committed to a youth education program they created called the "Oakland Turfgrass Educational Initiative" (OTEI). This program involves youth in Oakland's schools in the turf industry through field trips, class speakers from the industry, and summer internships. OTEI is a collaboration with the Future Farmers of America, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and many other golf and green industry organizations.

"Our construction issues along with our location near the bay, have given us the ability to introduce the Oakland youth not only to the game of golf, but the numerous environmental issues that face today's society. We strive to be a positive part of the community and will continue to contribute to Oakland's youth educational experience," Ingram said.

Environmental awards are nothing new to CourseCo. In 2003, CourseCo received the state of California Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for sustainable practice, the only golf course organization to hold this honor.

"The national recognition received by Metropolitan under CourseCo management has shown our effectiveness in meeting the demands of golfers for high quality playing conditions with courses located on environmentally sensitive sites," said Ray Davies, CourseCo's Director of Golf Course Maintenance and Construction.