The 2015 Portugal Masters and host venue, Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura are supporting the European Tour GreenDrive in its aims to encourage sustainably run events and venues.
The Oceânico Victoria Golf course spans some 90 hectares of land and is host to a variety of habitat including wetlands, local vegetation such as carob, olive and almond trees and several lakes, theirselves covering almost 13 hectares. The protection and preservation of this habitat and the wildlife within it has, from the onset, been of the upmost importance to the club and the tournament.
Since its opening in 2004 Oceânico Victoria, one of seven courses that make up the Oceânico Golf Resort, has held the international ISO14001 standard for Environmental Management. Oceânico Golf was the first golf course management group in the world to have all their courses environment protection practices adhered to ISO14001 guidelines. In holding this standard the group show that they have effective and detailed environmental management systems in place.
The European Tour GreenDrive programme, supported by GEO (the Golf Environment Organization), encourages and supports tournaments and host venues to protect and enhance nature, use resources efficiently and promote and provide community value.
Throughout the tournament build organisers have worked with the club to ensure the protection of flora and fauna across the site. Use of modern, efficient equipment and energy planning aims to keep energy use at the event to a minimum and use of rainwater collected in course lakes for irrigation conserves water use on site.
Waste management has also been key to GreenDrive at the tournament. Efforts were made from the onset to reduce waste through prioritising hiring or equipment and using reusable signage. More than 50% of items available at the end of the tournament are expected to be re-used for the benefit of the local community. Over the past few years carpet from the tournament’s tents have been re-used by a local cultural center, and this year a local school will also benefit from this donated carpet.
Catering at the tournament is a major operation with around 1100 meals served every day. Local sourcing of the cuisine has been made a priority and traditional dishes from across the country are served at the event. Amongst the players the Portugal Masters has become famed for its food.
Along with using local suppliers, in catering and operations, the tournament works hard to encourage a legacy of golf in the region with free entry for under 16s and opportunity for coaching from a PGA Pro at the event. The tournament is also promoting community value through its appointment of SIC Esperança as its Official Charity. SIC Esperança, a not-for-profit organization which aims to raise awareness of social problems affecting Portugal, has directly helped around 65,000 people since it’s founding in 2003. Last year’s Official Charity, Make-a-Wish Portugal, benefited from more than €20,000 thanks to fundraising during the tournament.
Peter Adams, Tournament Director for The Portugal Masters said: “We are once again delighted to have held the Portugal Masters at this beautiful venue, our players and visitors often remark on the natural beauty of Vilamoura and the hospitality of people of the Algarve. We understand the responsibility we hold as tournament organizer to ensure our tournaments are held with respect to the local environment and provide a lasting positive impact for the host community. Working closely with Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, it is clear that they share our priorities and we look forward to continuing to work together to build upon this year’s success.”
Jonathan Smith, CEO of GEO said: “Through GreenDrive the European Tour continue to show strong leadership and we are proud to be working with them to continue to strengthen and drive the benefits of sustainability within golf industry. The Portugal Masters has once again shown their real commitment to lead by example.”
Rita Santos, Marketing Manager at Oceânico Golf said: “We’re pleased to work with the European Tour and host the Portugal Masters on our Oceânico Victoria Golf course, following the GreenDrive programme, in line with our ISO 14001 environmental certification. It is common practice for us to protect nature and natural habitats on a daily basis along with the efficient and wised utilization of resources with an ultimate view to reduce any environmental impact so the GreenDrive programme is only natural and a perfect fit for our standard management practices.”