Picture a lone Cypress tree on a green expanse with the ocean beyond and you could be standing on the 11th hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Resort in northern California. It’s one of the most iconic coastlines in the world and with popularity comes the responsibility to preserve it. Sustainability is, “Good business as well as good for the environment,” says David Stivers, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Pebble Beach Company. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators couldn’t agree more and has awarded the Pebble Beach Resort the 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Award for their water reclamation program and renewable energy project. In its fifth year, the IAGTO looked across the world for commitment and high levels of performance across three core areas of sustainability – nature, resources and community.
With the centennial looming, the Pebble Beach Golf Resort is on a mission to keep the resort beautiful for posterity. During one of California’s worst droughts in the 1990’s, the Resort realized that the importance of water on the central coast. It became the chief partner in a 67 million dollar water reclamation project that now provides 100 percent of the irrigation needs for the eight acclaimed golf courses in the Del Monte Forest – including Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and The Links at Spanish Bay. More than 4 billion gallons of potable water have been saved from going out into the bay.
Recently the company completed a two and a half million dollar Renewable Energy Solar System Project at the Pebble Beach Golf Links maintenance facility. It’s designed to offset a majority of the building’s annual electricity usage required to keep the golf course green and beautiful.
The resort’s partners are part of the Green Initiatives as well. In 2017, the ATT Pebble Beach National Pro Am will recycle almost 100% the waste generated by the 150,000 spectators over the long weekend.
David Stivers values being a good neighbor and making environmental consciousness part of the Resorts employee training. Their ‘best practices’ instructions include how to manage hotel waste, Stivers says, like, “Not dumping things down sewers, post-guest room recycling, and all the daily efforts… A lot of little things to add up to a real benefit to the environment.”
The efforts are on-going. A few years ago, the company added a second stage to the water reclamation project, a reverse osmosis system to reduce salinity in the water. Now reverse osmosis has brought the quality to potable standards, which has made a huge difference in the grasses that cover the famous links. The technology of the new irrigation system helps manage when to water, where and how to avoid over-watering in certain spaces. The Resort also uses the most environmentally sound products available and monitors the right amounts of fertilizers and pesticides necessary. It’s a forward thinking model and as Stivers is quick to interject, “It’s also a good business practice.”
The Point Lobos area has been called “The greatest meeting of land and sea.” With more than a thousand acres of open space, twenty-five miles of hiking trails and a rugged coastline begging to be photographed, the Pebble Beach Green Initiatives – the sustainability and ecological practices – will preserve the resort area well into the future.
Elaine J. Masters is an award-winning freelance writer and blogger at the Tripwellgal.com. She is also associate producer of the NPR podcast, Journeys of Discovery.