Rockford’s Sinnissippi Golf Course recognized for environmental excellence

Staff Report

Rockford Park District’s Sinnissippi Golf Course, 1401 N. Second St., Rockford, has retained its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP), an Audubon International program.

Participation is designed to help course personnel plan, organize, implement, and document a comprehensive environmental management program and receive recognition for their efforts. To reach certification, a course must demonstrate they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas, including: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.

Sinnissippi Golf Course has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program,” said Doug Bechtel, executive director of Audubon International. “They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property.”

Nancy Kauzlarich, manager of Sinnissippi Golf Course, noted: “Receiving this recognition means Sinnissippi Golf Course is one of 49 courses in Illinois and 904 courses in the world to receive the honor.”

Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, South America and Southeast Asia have also achieved certification in the program. The golf course was designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 2011. After designation, courses go through a recertification process every two years.

This year, the recertification process, coordinated by Jim Peterson, superintendent, required a visit by a local community representative. A local Master Naturalist from the University of Illinois was given a tour of the course, and sent his observations to Audubon International.

We see the site visit as an important component of a course’s recertification,” Bechtel said.

Sinnissippi Golf Course covers 60 acres, is 3,320 yards long, and is a par 37 course established in 1912 as the first municipal course in Rockford; it is the oldest of Rockford Park District’s golf courses. The course was designed by Thomas Bendelow, who also designed golf courses in Medina and Olympia Fields, Illinois. In the 1920s, Sinnissippi was one of the longest nine-hole courses in the United States, and in the 1980s, it was ranked by the National Golf Foundation as one of the top 10 nine-hole courses in Illinois.

From the Sept. 3-9, 2014, issue

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