Greg Holden receives provincial environmental award


Greg Holden-champion innovator for environmental practices at Clear Lake Golf Course

Greg Holden-champion innovator for environmental practices at Clear Lake Golf Course


The Manitoba Eco-Network is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Manitoba Eco-Network Environmental Award.  

Greg Holden is presented with this award June 9, 2009 at the headquarters of the Manitoba Eco-Network in Winnipeg.

Award winners are chosen each year in three categories from amongst nominations submitted by the general public. The award is given “in recognition of significant contributions to the protection and awareness of Manitoba’s environment”. Since 1990, it has been a way for the environmental community to salute the often unsung heroes who do so much to make our world a better place.

This year’s winners are:

  • “Individual” Category: Anders Swanson, cyling and active transportation advocate, nominated by Kevin Miller, co-chair of Bike to the Future;
  • “Group” Category: Organic Food Council of Manitoba, nominated by Anne Lindsey;
  • “Special” Category: Greg Holden, Superintendent of the Clear Lake Golf Course, nominated by Celes Davar, President of Earth Rhythms, Inc.


Greg Holden, Superintendent of the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park is the winner in the “Special” category. Greg was nominated by Celes Davar, of Earth Rhythms, an eco-tourism provider operating in Riding Mountain National Park. Greg has led the operation of the Golf Course and restaurant at Clear Lake for 16 years, transforming it from a conventional pesticide and fertilizer-laden, waste-stream driven course to a model of sustainability, innovation and recycling.

The conversion stems from Greg’s personal commitment to the health of the planet – he has also been a certified organic garlic grower, built his own energy efficient home, and provides sustainability presentations to Riding Mountain National Park area visitors.

Innovative features of this environmental turf management of the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park include:

  • the use of composting toilets and a digester to minimize waste creating a resource for natural fertilization of the course, and eliminating the requirement for 300,000 gallons of groundwater for conventional flushing;
  • use of compost teas and a variety of natural and biological controls for weeds and fungi;
  • over the past several years, diversion of about 10,000 litres of waste cooking oil from area restaurants as a biodiesel source for golf course vehicles and tractors;
  • composting of all kitchen waste, grass clippings and leaf debris for use on the course and in the herb gardens;
  • and use of native species for plantings around the golf course.

As Greg embarks next year on a term as President of the Canadian Golf Course Superintendent’s Association, he will be taking the examples and lessons learned at Clear Lake to a national audience – one that is committed to putting into practice his message of sustainability for this popular sport.


There are several good international references for sustainable golf course management.  Perhaps one of the best is the Royal & Ancient in St. Andrews, Scotland.  They have an entire page on their website dedicated to environmental management and sustainable golf courses.

The R&A is golf’s world rules and development body and organiser of The Open Championship. It operates with the consent of more than 130 national and international, amateur and professional organisations, from over 120 countries and on behalf of an estimated 30 million golfers in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and The Americas (outside the USA and Mexico). The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the game’s governing body in the United States and Mexico.

GEO Industry Forum drives sustainable golf in Europe – Last month (May, 2009), The Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and its European Golf Partners came together  to consolidate a shared positive vision for sustainable golf, drive forward environmental programmes, and to collectively evaluate progress to date.  The meeting of this ‘Industry Forum’, administered by GEO, represents another milestone in the way in which golf’s strategic leaders are mapping out a future in which golf will be internationally recognised for enhancing environmental quality and human wellbeing.

And, in New Zealand, New Zealand Golf and the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute has published online their Sustainable Golf Course Design Guidelines – very straight forward.

Congratulations Greg!


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