The Venice Golf & Country Club, a member-owned private club, was recognized as one America’s Greenest Club’s™ by Prevo Health Solutions, September 2018.
As a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, a Sarasota County Green Business Partner, and the recipient of many environmental awards, The Venice Golf and Country Club is one of a few select clubs in the world that proves, on a daily basis, their commitment to the environment. That commitment is evidenced by an abundance of nature preserves, beautiful lakes and a wide variety of wildlife. Native Florida trees and vegetation play a key role in the club’s landscaping design and provide a home for local and migratory bird populations, including the American Bald Eagle, Osprey, Cranes, Storks, Ducks and many others. On occasion, Bobcats and the elusive Florida Panther are on or near the golf course preserves.
Jim Schell, General Manager and steward of the environmental push explains, “We take pride in living in harmony with nature… today and for future generations to come”.
Under Jim’s direction, the Club has taken a leadership role in the private club industry and excels in water resource management, energy management, and recycling among others. A few specific examples are: hot water is generated by the hot gasses created by our freezers and A/C compressors, the use of geothermal heat pumps to heat the pool, LED lighting in our street lamps, Clubhouse and parking lots, occupancy sensors for lighting and thermostat controls, computer controlled temperature schedules, demand control ventilation in the Clubhouse and kitchen, electric golf cart charging system scheduled for off peak demand periods, and the utilization of storm water for irrigation purposes. All of these actions reduce energy use and operating expenses and have a very short payback.
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS INCLUDE:
1. 2004 Audubon Certified Sanctuary Golf Course 2. 2012 Certified Golf Environmental Organization (GEO) 3. 2012 and 2013 Sustainable Florida Best Practices Finalist 4. 2015 and 2016 First Place Winner in the Audubon International Bio Blitz 5. 2016 Recognized by the National Club Association as a Club Trend setter for sustainable practices 6. 2017 Recognized in the Board Room Magazine for sustainable practices
Jim Schell explains, “These honors are indicative of our aggressive stance on environmental stewardship and reducing club operating expenses through creative thinking and the use of appropriate technologies. All purchase decisions are based on three elements: members’ desires, cost, and environmental impact. Receiving these certifications demonstrates leadership as a steward of the environment and publicly recognizes and rewards environmental achievements.”
Irrigation water is one the best examples of the positive benefits for the community and to the availability of the water resource. With water resources coming under increasing scrutiny, the club wanted to ensure an adequate supply of water and use the lowest quality of water possible for irrigation. The Club obtains 99% of its irrigation water from surface runoff. This solution is a testament to ingenuity, creativity, and perseverance. The club has also restored approximately 52 acres of wetlands on the property that were infested with the invasive Brazilian Pepper and Melaleuca trees. The restored wetlands are excellent examples of native wetlands.
The club has minimal input of turf grass pesticides and fertilizers. They follow standard practices of Integrated Pest Management and have coupled this with the implementation of Best Management Practices. The results are minimal inputs and protection of natural resources. The club has instituted programs and processes to prevent pollution of resources. The equipment and maintenance facility has protective measures for the fuel island, spent oil and oil filters, mixing and loading of pesticides, storage of pesticides and fertilizers, and a wash pad that includes water recycling system.
Rick Ladendorf, Prevo’s founder and Executive Producer of the America’s Greenest Club Certification program explains, “When it comes to the environment, the community and the staff, The Venice Golf & Country Club leadership believes in “doing the right thing”. The Club’s investment in eco-friendly initiatives has helped build brand equity, reduce operating costs and has helped shape the club’s culture. The return on investment for the club can be measured in many ways from the impact on the carbon footprint, the bottom-line and the brand. The Venice Golf & Country Club has earned a reputation of being purpose-driven, which in-turn, attracts purpose-driven prospects and potential employees. The Venice Golf & Country Club, is an advocate of the environment and with the guidance of Jim Schell, the club will continue to be a leader when it comes to implementing eco-friendly green initiatives.”
Prevo’s proprietary algorithms, standards and scoring system extends beyond a simple checklist of the eco-friendly initiative the club has in place. The Green Score™ evaluates the club’s strategy, collaborative governance, internal and external communications, the use of technology and the intangibles that establishes the club’s culture.
While other Green Awards are focused exclusively on the WHAT, America’s Greenest Clubs focuses on the WHY. And for many club’s the WHY is as simple as doing the right thing. But at the end of the day, being known as an eco-friendly club is an attractive quality and attribute that appeals to the majority of people in the community and by default, will help attract prospective members and staff through purpose.