Qatar International Golf Club (QIGC) is aiming to be more than just a world-class sporting facility. Its main aim, in fact, is much bigger: to become one of the most sustainable projects in the world.
It’s no secret that golf courses aren’t exactly the most environmentally-friendly places, especially in a desert region when much more energy and water is needed to sustain them. But QIGC is one of a growing number of courses around the world that are pledging to make a difference, not just by reducing their impact on the environment, but by making positive contributions to it and the surrounding communities.
This new golf club is GEO (Golf Environment Organisation) certified, which means it’s a fully sustainable course. Only a handful of courses worldwide have so far achieved this status, which is awarded to organisations that conserve resources, enhance nature and support communities in every way they can. The not-for-profit organisation’s values go beyond simply conserving water (though this is key), as GEO also looks at how courses can reduce their energy use, how they can make their supply chain more fair and sustainable, and how they can help reduce pollution.
Here, the club is already doing its bit to connect with Doha’s younger generations with the Pearl Coaching Programme, which launched in 2015, and has so far put golf clubs into the hands of 2,000 local school kids. Rhys Beecher, the director of instruction at the club, visits local schools to “teach the teachers” about how to engage students in the sport, but it’s not just about boosting memberships, as the club is also using the programme to teach kids about sustainability. Back in March, for example, students from Qatar Academy Sidra visited the course to plant a tree and lay grass on the green, learning more about the science behind protecting the environment in the process.
At the same time, in a bid to reach out to all Doha demographics, the course will also host ladies-only sessions and, for families, will open a golf-themed park with “adventure golf”. This goes alongside the variety of short-game formats that are planned to open, plus a state-of-the-art learning space and practise facility, in addition to 18- and six-hole championship courses, all designed by two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal. On top of all that, there is a nine-hole par-three course, tennis courts, a gym, spa and restaurants.
Already, QIGC is raising the bar and it hasn’t even opened yet. So it will be interesting to see what the project continues to contribute to the city once it is fully functioning. It’s an inspiring example to us all, particularly in Doha, that sustainable living is actually within reach.
Qatar International Golf Club will be open later this year in Education City. For more information visit www.qigolfclub.com.