Course recognized for environmental efforts

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times
Area golfers could be testing out eight new GolfBoards next season at Aspen Golf Club, a course recently recognized for environmental achievment.
GolfBoard/Courtesy photo |

Area golfers could be surfing the earth next season, as the Aspen Golf Club’s management is considering a trial for GolfBoard, a four-wheel, snowboard-inspired product players use to cruise around the course.

Director of golf Steve Aitken said he has been in contact with GolfBoard representatives about employing eight boards, which could arrive in Aspen as early as spring 2015.

“I think it really aligns with the ski community that we’re in,” Aitken said.

The idea for GolfBoard was formed when self-proclaimed snowboarding junkie Don Wildman, founder of Bally Total Fitness, began using an electric skateboard to ride around a course in Malibu, California. He soon fielded input from surfer Laird Hamilton, who consulted on engineering, and GolfBoard was born.

“It remains to be seen how it fits into our program,” Aitken said. “But we saw it, and we looked at the fact that this would be a product that does align with the golf-ski community that we’re in. It’s another innovative thing we’re looking at here.”

Aitken said the club also has been innovative on the environmental front, as it was recently informed that it retained its designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which is awarded to golf courses based on environmental upkeep. When Aspen first earned the designation in 1999, the club joined about 40 others in receiving the designation. Today the Aspen Golf Club is one of 44 across Colorado and 904 across the world.

Courses go through recertification every two years. The Maroon Creek Club, the Aspen Glen Club, the Roaring Fork Club and the Snowmass Club also are listed as certified on Audubon International’s website.

The Aspen Golf Club was recertified when Dorothy Howard, recreation director for the town of Basalt, toured the course recently, looking at the following areas: environmental planning; wildlife and habitat management; outreach and education; chemical-use reduction and safety; water conservation; and water-quality management.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for the golf department to have this designation because it’s rare, and it just falls in line with everything we do out here at the golf course,” Aitken said.


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