Rockford’s Aldeen Golf Club recognized for environmental excellence

Staff Report

Rockford Park District’s Aldeen Golf Club, 1902 Reid Farm Road, 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.

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

Duncan Geddes, director of Golf Operations for the Rockford Park District, said, “Receiving this recognition means Aldeen Golf Club is one of 51 courses in Illinois and 914 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 2001. After designation, courses go through a recertification process every two years.

This year, the recertification process, coordinated by Shane Bays, superintendent, required a visit by a local community representative. Pete Leuzinger, turfgrass instructor at Kishwaukee College and Audubon steward, was given a tour of the course and sent his observations to Audubon International.

Aldeen Golf Club is one of the finest golf facilities in northern Illinois,” Leuzinger reported. “It is all nature has to offer — and then some!”

Bechtel said: “We see the site visit as an important component of a course’s recertification. It provides an objective verification of some of the more visible aspects of the course’s environmental management activities. In addition, it offers an opportunity for golf course representatives to share publicly some of the voluntary actions they have taken to protect and sustain the land, water, wildlife and natural resources around them.”

Aldeen Golf Club was ranked the best municipal course in Illinois by Golf Digest in 2009, and rated 4-1/2 stars by 2008 Golf Digest magazine’s Places to Play guidebook. GOLF magazine calls Aldeen one of the Thrifty Fifty (top 50 courses in the country under $50). Aldeen is ranked No. 23 on that list.

The Aldeen Golf Club has set a new standard for upscale public golf in northern Illinois. Thanks to the generosity of Norris and Margaret Aldeen, any golfer can experience this quality championship facility with country club amenities at an affordable rate.

From the Dec. 17-23, 2014, issue

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