Al Zorah Golf Club, a subsidiary of Al Zorah Development Company, a joint venture between the Government of Ajman and Solidere International, the leading holistic real estate master developer in the emirate, has attained GEO Certification. This achievement is a key milestone for the club, whose management has placed sustainability at the forefront of operations for several years. This prestigious recognition has come about in two keyways; through the agronomic work to preserve the native ecosystems and through the golf club’s support of local communities.
To help preserve the local ecosystem, the landscaping of Al Zorah Golf Club was produced using local grass species that are well adapted to the desert climate, such as Platinum Paspalum, a warm season grass that is drought and low-quality water tolerant qualities.
The Troon-led agronomy team also employs two full-time technicians to conduct irrigation audits twice per year to ensure the protection of the local mangrove forests and surrounding area. Al Zorah also grows fruit and vegetables in a small orchard on site that are used throughout the club’s dining facilities.
GEO Founder and Executive Director, Jonathan Smith, congratulated the team at Al Zorah: “GEO Foundation for Sustainable Golf is delighted to recognize Al Zorah Golf Club’s sustainability leadership with this achievement of becoming GEO Certified®. Al Zorah has demonstrated excellent standards across the areas of nature conservation, efficient resource use and community engagement, and a commitment to continual improvement, which is inspiring to see. Troon International’s commitment to sustainability is also highlighted with this award of certification for Al Zorah – continuing to drive forward practices and activities across its group of golf facilities around the world.”
Commenting on the club’s recognition and certification from GEO, Philip Henderson, General Manager of Al Zorah Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to have attained GEO Certification; the golf team embraced a journey of leading positive change to help better our environment through the education that GEO provided. Thank you to Ricardo Baron (Golf Course Superintendent) and Dana Clemente (Golf Operations Executive) who were integral in leading this project.”
Henderson continued: “The Nicklaus Design team protected the natural environment while creating the golf course, which embraces one million square meters of mangroves. With that, we have a great responsibility to preserve and develop a vast range of marine life, migratory bird species, and plants that are native to the area. In addition, we must engage with educators like GEO to fulfil our role effectively in protecting this unique golfing environment.”
Al Zorah Golf Club’s extensive community work engages locals across all walks of life and was an important factor in the decision for the club to be awarded GEO Certification. The club encourages golf for children and promotes a substantial junior program throughout schools in the surrounding area. Aside from golf, the club encourages local residents throughout the year to participate in mangrove cleaning and tree planting initiatives, with great success. The rich ecosystem that Al Zorah boasts has also become a haven for avid bird watchers, who have been working closely with the club’s golfers in order to educate them and boost mutual understanding to benefit the community.
Hector Forcen, GEO’s accredited independent verifier said of Al Zorah’s achievement: “Al Zorah Golf Club boasts a truly unique layout in the heart of a protected wetland area recognized as one of the most important bird and biodiversity areas in the region. The undisturbed ecosystem of the site is home to a huge range of marine life, migratory birds, and flora native to the area. The club’s management of recycled water with a highly efficient irrigation system is clear proof of its commitment to sustainability. Exemplary irrigation practices make possible the high-quality playing surfaces throughout the year by reusing the community’s wastewater. These and many other practices continually raise awareness and education within the community, staff, and membership. The club is a deserving recipient of certification and should be congratulated on its leadership within the region.”
Al Zorah’s management team has also proactively developed and educated its staff on the importance of sustainable best practices to better the environment through regular training and information sharing.
Clinton Southorn, Director of Construction and Agronomy for Troon International, Troon, commented: “We’re delighted to confirm that Al Zorah Golf Club has successfully achieved GEO Certified®. Many congratulations to the team for their outstanding work in fostering nature, conserving resources, and supporting the community”