Throughout its 40 year history KemperSports has been at the forefront of the golf industry on environmental issues, and has consistently operated its properties in an environmentally sound manner. In an effort to improve upon that record of sensitivity and be a leader in the industry, KemperSports developed its proprietary Green to a Tee program, which reaffirms the company’s commitment to managing each of its facilities in a manner that nurtures the local environment. KemperSports pays particular attention to golf course maintenance practices, habitat management, water conservation, energy use, recycling and other environmentally sound practices – all in order to provide KemperSports staffers the tools and practices to operate their golf courses in the most environmentally sound manner possible.
Green to a Tee is an environmental certification program designed to ensure that all facilities are doing their part. The Green to a Tee program, first developed by former KemperSports EVP Jim Seeley, focuses on: Environmental Programs for the Golf Course; Reduced Energy Consumption; Recycling; Limited Water Usage; Biodiversity; and Staff Education.
Green to a Tee is broken up into four distinct levels, each level of achievement requiring a facility to demonstrate increasingly higher levels of environmental commitment.
KemperSports Green Level I focuses on front of mind awareness to help staffers gain an appreciation of environmental issues and their relevancy to the facility and to our everyday lives. The specific performance requirements for Level I certification are attainable at no additional operational cost and include: recycling; reducing use of electricity, water, and other utilities; the use of green products: and a demonstrated commitment to Integrated Pest Management on the golf course and grounds.
KemperSports Green Level II expands on Level I by requiring the facility to take an additional step forward with its environmental practices, which includes such things as: conducting a preliminary energy audit; beginning the conversion to energy efficient lighting; identifying and beginning a community involvement project; registering in and beginning work towards Audubon Sanctuary status on the golf course; increasing the commitment to Integrated Pest Management; using organic fertilizers; storing chemicals properly; converting from solvent-based to aqueous or bio-based parts washers; and naturalizing areas on the golf course that don’t come into play.
KemperSports Green Level III expands on Levels I and II and asks the facility to take further some of the initiatives commenced in the prior two levels. Level III certification includes things like: achievement of Audubon Sanctuary status; conducting of and beginning the implementation of findings from a General Energy Audit; completing full implementation of the Integrated Pest Management program; upgrading the wash rack and chemical storage structure; creating a Chef’s Garden; and composting.
KemperSports Green Level IV the “Grand Slam” of Green to a Tee certification expands on Levels I, II and III by requiring properties to: complete an Investment Grade Energy Audit with subsequent capital plans to implement findings; implement USGBC and LEED standards to the extent practicable; embrace wind and/or solar power; have a self-contained wash and rinse pad to prevent any wash water from entering the watershed; and install occupancy sensors in storerooms and restrooms.
In addition to daily golf course maintenance and usage, Green to a Tee is designed to give all KemperSports staffers the tools and practices to make a difference in their daily home lives. The tools and principles that are taught for use at the golf course will translate to the home, and staffers are encouraged to implement environmentally-friendly lifestyle changes outside of work. To assist facilities and help staffers gain awareness of environmental issues, a library of resources and relevant environmental articles are available on the KemperSports Center of Excellence.
In order to keep the environment front of mind for all of its facilities, each year KemperSports recognizes a Green to a Tee Facility of the Year at its annual Leadership Conference. In 2017, Heron Glen Golf Course in Ringoes, New Jersey won the award for its forward-thinking approach to environmental issues, which included: creating a honey bee habitat; offering milkweed strands to boost the Monarch Butterfly population; reducing water use by auditing irrigation practices and making changes; and by building a bioswale that naturally filters grass, water and other waste products to provide the best water quality back into the environment.
KemperSports firmly believes that the game of golf supports the environment through numerous means like: providing natural habitats for wildlife and diverse species; protecting topsoil from water and wind erosion; improving community aesthetics; reducing noise pollution; absorbing and filtering water; improving air quality and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen; capturing and cleaning dirty runoff; controlling pests, pollen and diseases; and helping restore damaged land. To ensure that these and other environmental benefits are fulfilled at each of its facilities, KemperSports implements its Green to a Tee program throughout its portfolio – encouraging and rewarding sound environmental practices and placing a continued emphasis on environmental stewardship.