TPC Sawgrass Superintendent Wins Golf Environmental Leaders Award
TPC Sawgrass’s innovative sustainability measures have been recognized by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and Golf Digest in partnership with Syngenta, naming Jeff Plotts, TPC Sawgrass Director of Golf Operations, among the 2021 Golf Environmental Leaders (ELGA) .
Based on best practices in environmental management, the awards recognize specific areas of interest ranging from the Natural Resource Conservation Award, the Healthy Land Stewardship Award, the Communications & Outreach Award and the Innovative Conservation Award. Plotts, who was one of four people selected internationally, was specifically awarded the Innovative Conservation Award, which recognizes unique and innovative strategies for conservation.
A member of TPC Sawgrass since 2015, Plotts and his team do incredible planning to ensure that the property not only looks good year round – and for THE PLAYERS Championship – but is sustainable as well.
Flowers played a big role in the aesthetic value of the landscape during THE PLAYERS Championship and by developing a wildflower initiative with native seeds, Plotts and his team were able to grow large quantities of flowers which are used throughout the good. While annual flowers would be changed seasonally, native wildflowers require fewer inputs and can be maintained for multiple seasons or years, which equates to $ 75,000 per year in savings, which are now used for reforestation. In progress.
“Our goal was to use the range of plants native to our region and surrounding areas to enhance and improve our golf courses,” Plotts said. “Two of the most important wildflowers we use are Dune Sunflower and Gaillardia, which are commonly seen on sand dunes and native areas in our community. We thought that as successful and hardy as these plants are, they could be a good addition to our landscape. We started with a few plants and continued to collect the seeds from those plants to propagate, grow and develop.
In total, over 1,500 trees have been planted at TPC Sawgrass over the past three years as part of the reforestation project. Like wildflowers, tree species are native to the region and include oak, pine, and magnolia. The success of wildflowers has also resulted in the planting of native grass species to accompany wildflower plantings.
“It’s our ambition to be a little more sustainable every day,” Plotts said. “We are the guardians of a living and constantly changing environment; we must do our part to protect it. Small steps can have long term gains by using the three Rs rule: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
As Plotts seeks to keep TPC Sawgrass at the forefront of golf sustainability efforts, he credits his team with this honor.
“This award is more about our team and their commitment to our natural environment than I am, I am only a small part of this initiative. I feel blessed and proud to represent the efforts and success of our team.