These days it's hip to be 'green,' but for years many top golf resorts have been leaders in environmental stewardship. In our first ever 'Green Golf' awards, we applaud these ten properties that have placed a serious emphasis on resource conservation and protection.
Amelia Island Plantation
Amelia Island, Fla.
A master plan that dates to 1971 includes protections for the native tidal marshes, oceanfront dunes, grasslands and savannahs. In addition, the resort created a 40-foot vegetation buffer to allow waterways to remain pristine.
Barton Creek Resort & Spa
Austin, Tex. 800-336-6158, bartoncreek.com
In 2001, Barton Creek received the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) National Environmental Steward Award. And the efforts of all four courses to provide sanctuary for wildlife led to Audubon certification.
Colorado Springs, Colo.
The initiatives fostered here include a massive recycling program, water use restrictions and the conversion of 50 acres of turf grass to native grasslands and wildflower areas.
Both of Kapalua's courses are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, its Pu'u Kukui summit is the largest private nature preserve in Hawaii, and its Honolua and Mokuleia Bays are Hawaii State Marine Life Conservation Districts.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Kiawah Island, S.C.
Thanks to its seamless blending into the Lowcountry environment, all five courses plus the grounds at The Sanctuary hotel have recently been certified by Audubon International as Cooperative Sanctuaries.
Mauna Lani Resort
Big Island, Hi.
The resort's three-acre PowerLight photovoltaic system allows Mauna Lani to generate more solar electric power than any resort in the world.
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, Calif.
The list of eco-friendly projects at Pebble Beach is extensive, including protecting Harbor Seal nursery areas and waterfowl habitat, and wastewater reclamation schemes.
An early arrival to the green-golf movement, Pinehurst established the Safe Harbor Program way back in 1995, which protected and enhanced habitats for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
In addition to enjoying Audubon certification for four of its golf courses, Reynolds Plantation recently received the Outstanding Business Leadership Award from Rivers Alive, an environmental outreach program that centers on keeping waterways clean.
Turning Stone Resort & Casino
Three of the four courses here — Shenandoah, Sandstone Hollow and Kaluhyat — earned Certified Bronze Audubon Signature Sanctuary status from Audubon International.