As JCS has done for a number of years, all the data from the surveys received from clubs throughout South Africa is published in the John Collier Annual Survey. the JCS panel then re-visited the questionnaires, to ascertain which club had submitted the most comprehensive report. Notwithstanding a positive 44% response rate from golf clubs and a 30% national compliance level, it is inevitable there are clubs that will stand out as exceptional. This survey was no different and despite there being several strong contenders, the panel’s conclusion was to give the TOP CLUB award to Leopard Creek. In making their assessment of the data returned, the reviewers were particularly impressed with the level of detail and standards set, in terms of good governance and environmental compliance, by the Leopard Creek team and it was appropriate, that the club’s efforts should be recognised on World Environment Day. World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5 June, each year and stimulates awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and public action. June 5 is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.
Since its inception in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. Above all, WED is the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth. That “something” can have a local, national or global focus: it can be a solo action or involve a crowd and everyone is free to choose their preferred option. Each WED is organised around a theme that focuses attention on a particular environmental concern and the theme for 2021 is ‘ecosystem restoration’. This is the third occasion on which Leopard Creek has won this prestigious award, having also achieved TOP CLUB status in 2010 and 2012. 2020 was a year with multiple crises, including a global pandemic. However, what Leopard Creek has done well is to link the practical application of ecosystem restoration and focus on its relationship with nature, and then take specific steps to move from crisis to healing and in so doing, recognise that the restoration of nature is imperative to the survival of our planet and the human race.
Leopard Creek’s initiatives have contributed to fight the climate crisis, will help to prevent the potential loss of a million species. Their activities will also help to enhance food security, water supply and livelihoods while putting the club in a position to move towards a carbon neutral environment. Their report has numerous examples of management, data capture and monitoring of ecosystem restoration from the major turf grass renewal programme, of kikuyu to champion, reviving natural carbon sinks – such as forests and wetlands, replanting with indigenous tree species, promoting protected areas, close management of water use and turf grass nutrient programmes. Notwithstanding Leopard Creek’s award, Special Mentions go to the Montagu Golf Club in the Western Cape and Zwartkop Golf Club in Gauteng for their comprehensive reports. Leopard Creek’s winning the award cannot be achieved without the passion and commitment of many people, who collectively understand and embrace the management benefits of sustainability, underpinned by good governance, environmental compliance and acknowledging the threats of climate change and the need to be on the road to zero carbon. Therefore, in making this award to Leopard Creek, special congratulations must also go to the Leopard Creek’s CEO Johan Piek and golf course manager Derek Muggeridge and their respective teams.
What BGM finds particularly compelling about JCS’ proposition is that it is home grown. This makes the support tools, questionnaire and their related elements specific to the region and its particular challenges, both in environmental and governance terms. The service is FOC to participating clubs and so if you have been deliberating about what to do next about the increasing levels of government legislation, around both governance and the environment, and or are interested in exploring the opportunities presented by JCS, please contact us.