Golf Digest Green Star Awards

By Ron WhittenOctober 7, 2009, 6:28 pm
The goal of the Green Star Awards is to identify a small number of the most outstanding environmental leaders in golf. In this inaugural ranking, we focused on resorts because they are the facilities that have the hardest challenge: They are most in the public eye, their customers are increasingly asking questions about environmental commitment, and they are where we expected to find the best ideas and the most innovation – things that ideally every golf facility can emulate.

We wrote to the leading 400 golf resorts in America, using our ranking of North America’s 75 Best Golf Resorts and our Best Places to Play ratings as a guide, and invited them to make their case. We asked for evidence of a comprehensive environmental program – for the golf course especially, but also the resort operation – that encompasses water use and conservation, energy use and conservation, waste disposal, pest and disease management, wildlife promotion and contribution to the local environment and community. We asked the resorts to detail their environmental policies, practices and initiatives, and how they relate to their specific local conditions, challenges and constraints, citing examples, facts and figures when possible.

We received 60 entries. These were cut by the editors of Golf Digest to a shortlist of the best 15:

Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast, Calif.
Marriott Grande Pines, Orlando, Fla.
PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.
Kapalua Resort, Lahaina, Hawaii
Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, Thompsonville, Mich.
Madden’s on Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minnesota
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Ore.
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Ore.
Kiawah Island Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C.
Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin, Texas
Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, Williamsburg, Va.
Kingsmill Resort & Spa, Williamsburg, Va.
The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

The applications of these 15 resorts were sent to our panel of 14 judges, who guided us throughout the entire process. The judges are: John Barton, Golf Digest; Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth; Dr. Kimberly Erusha, USGA; Jay Feldman, Beyond Pesticides; Dr. Mike Hurdzan, golf course architect; Dr. Tony Koski, Colorado State University; Greg Lyman, GCSAA/Environmental Institute for Golf; Tom Mead, consultant; James Moore, USGA; Paul Parker, Center for Resource Management; Roger Schiffman, Golf Digest; James Snow, USGA; Ron Whitten, Golf Digest; Robert Wood, Environmental Protection Agency.

The judges were asked to vote for their top six of the 15 and give their reasoning, comments, questions, concerns. The leading vote-getters were visited by James Moore, director of the USGA Green Section’s Construction Education Program. He spent a day at each facility, interviewing the staff, looking at the golf course, touring the resorts, and taking copious notes. Based on his recommendations, our four Green Star winners were chosen: Barton Creek, Kiawah Island, Pebble Beach, Sunriver.

All water used to clean maintenance equipment at Barton Creek Resort is filtered through Water Stax-brand bio-remedial water-treatment units (top left), which use microbes to break down oil, grease and chemicals into harmless water and carbon dioxide. Grass clippings can serve as an organic food source to keep microbes active. The 160-yard 13th hole at Barton Creek’s Crenshaw Cliffside Course (top right) is typical of the philosophy at all four of the resort’s courses: rolling hills slashed by ravines, with tightly mowed Bermuda grass playing surfaces framed by areas of no-mow native grasses.

What looks like a robot from a sci-fi movie (bottom left) is actually an Air Cycle brand Bulb Eater, used at Kiawah Island Resort to safely dispose of fluorescent light bulbs. The Bulb Eater can gobble up an eight-foot long bulb in a second, and the residue is recycled. When Kiawah’s Ocean Course (bottom right) was built in 1991, designer Pete Dye created 22 acres of freshwater lagoons to store irrigation water pumped from underground, and he restored 80 acres of saltwater marsh around the perimeter of the course. Dye also established sea oats on his manmade sand dunes.

Ray Von Dohren, general manager of the Carmel (Calif.) Area Wastewater District, says his massive reverse-osmosis treatment plant (bottom left), funded by Pebble Beach Resorts, is “the only one like it in the world.” The Links at Spanish Bay (bottom right), on the northern edge of the Del Monte Forest, is one of the best land-reclamation projects in all of golf. What had been a sand quarry was transformed into scenic, eco-sensitive linksland by restoring native vegetation and creating natural-looking dunes with tons of sand transported by conveyor belts.

Under the supervision of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sunriver reconstructed sloughed-off banks (top left) of the Little Deschutes River, using rock and biodegradable jute. Willow cuttings were planted at different points to provide shade for trout, and boulders were deposited on the river bottom to create riffles for spawning beds. Sunriver’s latest project, the nine-hole par-3 Caldera Links (upper right), a collaborative design by architect Bob Cupp and Sunriver’s Jim Ramey, reinvigorated a blighted area of the property. New ponds and wetlands serve as a breeding ground for spotted frogs.

Related Links:
Complete coverage of Golf Digest's evironmental series
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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.