By Chris Rotolo |
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – The game of golf is played among natural beauty, and Beacon Hill Country Club is doing its part to preserve and enhance its course and property.
Earlier this month Beacon Hill Country Club received recognition in environmental planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) for Golf Courses, a worldwide initiative administered by Audubon International which is designed to help golf courses and open green spaces maintain their property to higher and healthier standards.
“This is certainly a designation that we’re ver y proud of,” said Alexander Mueller, Beacon Hill Country Club general manager. “It’s always been a goal of ours to maintain a course that is environmentally friendly and harmonious with nature, but with this program we saw an opportunity to increase our standards even further.”
The ACSP provides an educational service to help existing golf courses develop effective conservation and wildlife enhancement programs, an effort that Mueller credits golf course superintendent Tim Meyer for spearheading.
After the environmental plan is designed, approved and implemented, properties in the program may apply for recognition in wildlife and habitat management, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, and outreach and education by demonstrating they have met minimum requirements for each category.
Once the course has been recognized in all categories, they are designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
By joining and participating in the ACSP, Beacon Hill Country Club will be involved in projects that enhance habitat for wildlife and preserve natural resources for the benefit of the local community. These projects may include placing nesting boxes for cavity-nesting birds such as bluebirds and swallows, utilizing integrated pest management techniques, conserving water and maintaining food and cover for wildlife.
With an 88-acre course that includes pockets of wetlands, several freshwater streams and irrigation ponds and various local wildlife, Mueller believes these projects will only be successful if the club’s membership adopts a similar mindset.
Beacon is the 19th golf course in New Jersey to be included in ACSP and is the first course in Monmouth County to earn the designation.
“There is a movement amongst courses taking place around the world, especially in areas of this country near the Everglades and in other coastal regions where people are really making an effort to take care of these sensitive environments,” Mueller said. “We’re excited to be piggybacking off those efforts and joining the movement.”
One club member, Robert Breeden, has been an advocate for ACSP enrollment and said he’s witnessed a concerted effort by his fellow members to live up to the standards set by the program.
“I can speak for our membership when I say that we’re proud and thrilled to be ACSP certified,” Breeden said. “This is a significant accomplishment, a three-year process, in which we have to demonstrate environmental leadership in the golf industry. To do that takes an effort from all of our members. And now we have to continue to educate our fellow golfers and club members about the benefits of maintaining this effort.”
A bird watcher as well as an avid golfer, Breeden spoke of the importance of not only maintaining the club’s efforts for a healthier environment but sustaining it for generations to come.
“Cemeteries and golf courses are really the only green spaces left in suburbia, so we have a big responsibility to take care of ours and ensure that it’s taken care of when we’re no longer here,” Breeden said. “Part of the experience of playing golf is enjoying the natural surroundings. And being part of the ACSP is only going to benefit our grounds, our golfers and the game itself.”
This article first appeared in the June 21 – 28, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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