Behind the Green - Sustainability to the fore at Finca Cortesin

22 Sep 2023

Behind the Green - Sustainability to the fore at Finca Cortesin, host venue of 2023 Solheim Cup

Finca Cortesin, the host venue for the 2023 Solheim Cup has long placed an emphasis on stewardship of the landscape and local environment.  Built by an owner with a long connection to the area, care and respect for nature, natural resources and the local community have been fundamental pillars. This is evident all around.

The relatively new house, surrounding buildings and gardens have a timeless feel thanks to the detailed attention to traditional planning and design.  Decorated with native, drought tolerant and pollen rich plantings, with preserved and protected olive trees, and furnished with recycled furniture and antiques, the centrepiece of the resort looks, feels and is very much ‘of the area’.  

Down at the clubhouse the general manager and teams in food and beverage pay close attention to local, seasonal and organic produce - adding to the authentic Andalusian experience while also fulfilling commitments towards lower carbon cuisine.  An array of salads and herbs are grown in the resort’s grounds.

Out on the course, the course superintendent oversees a raft of sustainability programs and initiatives, covering ongoing naturalisation of the landscape; reducing turfgrass area and allowing native habitats to extend and connect.  As the course has matured, so the golfing landscape has become more and more typical of the Mediterranean area. Dozens of species of bird and mammal have been identified across the site, including a number of locally rare and declining species.

In parallel the warm season Ultradwarf Bermudagrass is the most drought and disease tolerant for the area and has helped reduce overall water inputs by 30%. With sector leading agronomic advice provided by global consultants, Turfgrass, playing surfaces are managed according to integrated turf management principles and practices which emphasis grass health, with chemicals used sparingly.

Water for irrigation has, for the last 15 years since the course opening, been sourced entirely from waste water from the nearby village of Manilva, and the resort was awarded ACOSOL Seal of Quality for water management in 2022.

All green waste, commonly in the form of cores and clippings, and occasionally with waste turf, is composted on site and reused as a construction material, water saving mulch and fertiliser across the resort.  Food waste is also added to this mix.  

In terms of community engagement, the resort prides itself as a good neighbour. Working closely with local community and municipality groups, the resort is a significant employer of permanent and seasonal skilled staff and apprentices. Partnerships with Malaga University and the City Hall provide educational programs and internships.  Sustainability is built into staff induction and ongoing training. Significant funds are raised for charity each year via guest donations, member events, and through offering tee times for many other corporate and community groups to raise funds for local causes.  The resort actively supports organisations like Katrama which is dedicated to supporting Saharan children living in Casares.

Finca Cortesin achieved GEO Certified® status for leadership in sustainable golf earlier in 2023. 

Vicente Rubio, President of Finca Cortesin, added: “Our GEO Certification stands as a resounding testament to Finca Cortesin’s unwavering commitment to sustainability. At every step, our resort prioritizes the preservation of the environment and the well-being of our planet. We approach each decision with a profound respect for nature, recognizing that our actions today shape the future of our ecosystem. Our dedication to sustainability permeates every aspect of our operations, from naturalization efforts that foster native habitats to meticulous turfgrass management practices that prioritize water conservation.”

Suzann Petersen, European Solheim Cup Team Captain, and a Sustainable Golf Champion, reinforced the significance of this to the event and to golf in general: “It is so important that golf’s major venues and events are at the forefront of efforts to reduce negative impacts and maximise positives for the environment and communities. Personally, I recognize the role golfers and golfing events play, so to see Finca Cortesin being recognised at the forefront of action and providing solutions to these, and other related issues is the right thing to do, very encouraging and setting a great example for other future Solheim Cup venues.”

The Solheim Cup's commitment to sustainability is another showpiece in the joint LPGA and LET Celebrating the Green Initiative presented by Dow which shines a spotlight on the positive actions and impacts across the tournaments and venues throughout the season.

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