The RSSGCD programme, the first and only programme of its kind in the golf industry, is a major initiative from the EIGCA to elevate the standards of golf course development. Endorsed and verified by the GEO Foundation, the programme equips participants with the skills and knowledge to respond to the ever-increasing demand for existing and new golf facilities to be designed and operated in environmentally sensitive ways. All EIGCA members who successfully complete the RSSGCD are accredited and added to the EIGCA Sustainable Design Register, which demonstrates their industry-leading expertise and experience in sustainable golf course design.
Tom Mackenzie says: “When I joined the EIGCA Council I saw how much time EIGCA members put in to helping shape the GEO Foundation golf development guidelines. When I became Chairman of the EIGCA Sustainability Committee, I saw the vast pool of knowledge that GEO had amassed through their experts and realised that there was a great opportunity for EIGCA Members to become leaders in the field of sustainable golf course design. This led to the creation of our continuing professional development programme, Raising the Standard of Sustainable Golf Course Development (RSSGCD). It is the only such course in the world and I am extremely proud to have been involved in its production.
“It has taken me a while, but I am equally proud now to have completed the programme. It is rigorous and time-consuming but that is no coincidence because it has to be credible outside golf. Our work is independently verified by a GEO Sustainability Advisor and this involved really learning the principles of sustainability.”
Sam Thomas, GEO Foundation's Director of Golf Development, adds: "The insights and expertise Tom demonstrated clearly show his commitment and depth of understanding. It is great to see the growing register of architects and we look forward to seeing this expanding further in the future, as EIGCA members continue to deliver services for their clients that are at the forefront of sustainable golf course design."
On Tom’s achievement, EIGCA’s Environmental Consultant, Keith Duff, says: “I’m delighted that Tom has completed the programme and is now on the EIGCA Sustainable Design Register, since he was the driving force behind the creation of the programme. He recognised that golf course architects have a huge role to play in ensuring that new and renovated golf courses are designed in an environmentally sustainable way and had the vision as Chairman of the EIGCA Sustainability Committee for the EIGCA to do something tangible. Tom’s enthusiasm and support has ensured that the EIGCA is the only golf course architects organisation in the world to have a formal training and learning programme on environmental sustainability in practice.”
Tom Mackenzie is one of the principals of Mackenzie & Ebert. His RSSGCD case study was on Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire and involved the creation of a full length eighteen-hole layout to replace a small nine-hole course as the catalyst for the restoration of a nationally important parkland which was in terminal decline. The new holes were designed around avenues and copses which had long since disappeared, but which have now been replanted. A condition of planning was that 98% of the park had to be restored.