OnCourse® Terms and conditions

Terms and Conditions of participation in the OnCourse® Programme for sustainable golf facility management.


By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, you confirm your willingness to enroll and participate in the OnCourse® Programme on the grounds that:

  • You are acting for and on behalf of the golf club or golf facility that will be presented as the programme participant, and have authority to do so;
  • You are prepared to pay the GEO Certified® application fee to GEO, and verification fees to the accredited GEOSA verifier at the appropriate point in time;
  • You accept that, on attainment of the GEO Certified® eco-label, your Certification Report, and the Verification Report will both be published online at golfenvironment.org;
  • You will declare only honest and accurate information in your certification report and in response to questions received from the GEOSA verifier;
  • You provide all documents associated with your attainment of the GEO Certified® eco-label in their entirety if you provide copies to anyone including your Certification Report and the Verification Report and any documents associated with these reports. 
  • You indemnify GEO and all GEO staff, executives, Directors and officers of any legal challenge arising from any action taken or outcomes arising as a result of your participation in the programme. 


1.0: Eligibility

Any golf facility that has been fully operational for more than one (1) year is eligible to participate in the OnCourse programme, and apply at any point for the GEO Certified® ecolabel.

Newly developed or renovated facilities that have not been operational for one (1) year are not automatically eligible, unless GEO decides to waive this policy.  GEO will waive this policy for developments and renovations that have a proven record and evidence of sustainability best practice throughout conceptualization, planning, design and construction. 

In such cases GEO will allow those facilities to register in the OnCourse® programme on opening day, with a view to becoming GEO Certified® after one calendar year of operations.

Golf facilities currently undergoing or about to undergo a renovation can register, but should liaise directly with GEO to discuss the nature of their application for GEO Certified®, as the site may be subject to significant change and the facility may be advised to attain GEO Certified® Renovation status through the GEO Legacy Programme.

In addition, GEO reserves the right to screen recently opened golf facilities (opened within 5 years of registration), for any legal or reputational issues that may have arisen during planning, design and construction of the golf course, infrastructure or buildings and that may adversely affect the reputation of GEO as a result of registration in the OnCourse® programme.

In GEO’s evaluation, if GEO finds significant reason (i.e. examples of negative or deliberate environmental or social impact, unwarranted and unmitigated environmental damage, legal non-compliance or reasonable social grievance around the development), GEO may decide not to permit participation in the OnCourse® programme for a maximum of up to five years from the time of opening.

In such cases GEO will provide, in writing to the club, a clear rationale for this determination, and GEO will seek to be as supportive as possible to outline ways to remedy issues to facilitate the facilities earlier participation in the programme.

In such cases, facilities do not have recourse to the GEO Complaints and Appeals Procedure.


2.0: Time-scales

Applying for certification

When the club’s certification application is fully completed and the club are satisfied it represents the strongest possible representation of their sustainability work, and has been completed honestly and accurately, the club pays the certification administration fee to GEO, appoints a GEOSA verifier from the online network and arranges a site-visit or online evaluation with the verifier and pays the certification administration fee to GEO.

At this time all reports remain private and only for view by the club’s team, GEO and the appointed verifier.


The appointed verifier undertakes a visit to the site or remote evaluation, evaluates performance against the GEO Certified® Evaluation Criteria or GEO Certified® Re-certification Criteria and in line with GEOSA verification guidance.

Within 3-4 weeks of the site visit, the verifier will submit a verification report to GEO.

GEO response

GEO will review the verifiers report and respond to the club within a further 10 working days with notification of:

  1. Positive GEO Certified® award, and issue of official GEO certification
  2. Pending certification decision – outlining the reasons and the specific issues to be addressed before certification can be awarded.

Club’s response

If the GEO determination is GEO Certified® award – the club can order further marketing materials from GEO and go on to promote their achievement. GEO will activate the clubs GEO Certified® webpage, and publish the club’s certification and verification reports.

If the GEO determination is ‘pending’ certification, the club should respond to GEO outlining the action it choses to take, with the options being:

  1. Acceptance of pending issues and agreement to resolve the issues within an appropriate and specific maximum time period;
  2. Challenge one or more of the pending issues;
  3. Refuse to accept the verifiers recommendation and request a new verification site visit – carried out by another GEOSA (at the entire cost of the club).

Subsequent verification

In certain cases, the verifier may recommend to GEO that the club will require a further verification site visit.  The reasons for this must be submitted in writing to GEO, which GEO will then decide either to uphold or to disregard the recommendation from the verifier.

GEO monitors impartiality in the certification process through scheduled and unscheduled reviews of certifications that have been awarded.

In all determinations relating to the award of certifications, participants have recourse to the GEO Complaints and Appeals Procedure.


 3.0: Course and club renovations while participating in the OnCourse® programme or as a GEO Certified® facility

Clubs that are participating in the OnCourse® programme, or that are already GEO Certified® must inform GEO in writing of any of the following works taking place:

  • Significant renovation and construction works beyond small scale tee and green reconstruction;
  • Widespread alterations to landforms;
  • Removal of significant landscape features such as woodland blocks, infill of wetlands, drainage of significant areas of land and any other measures that could be deemed to have a moderate to large scale negative impact on landscape character or the ecological function of the golf course;
  • New build of the course management maintenance area;
  • Significant renovation or new build of the clubhouse;
  • Development of new housing, hotel or other residential facilities by the club and in close physical connection or vicinity to the golf facility;


4.0: GEO Determinations

GEO make their decisions based on the official GEOSA verifier reports, but reserve the right to factor in other contextual information. 

GEO confines its requirements, evaluation, review, decision and surveillance of the golf course to those matters specifically related to the scope of certification. 

At all times GEO has the right to, and may, approach either or both the club or the GEOSA to seek clarification or further detail on points raised in the reports, or picked up in wider communications and public reporting. 

You will not contest the outcomes of the verification process and / or subsequent GEO decisions and determinations in a court of law and, in the event of disagreement will respect the boundaries of the formal GEO Complaints and Appeals Procedure.


5.0: GEO Certified® Announcement

No announcements of any nature will be made relating to certification of a development, until:

  • GEO has processed and approved all milestone reports;
  • The final Report has been received from the GEOSA and approved by GEO;
  • A written letter confirming the developments GEO Certified® award has been presented by GEO;
  • An official press release has been sanctioned by GEO;
  • A date has been confirmed by GEO as appropriate for announcement;
  • All approved reports have been published on the GEO website;
  • Any other announcements or public comment by the golf club in regards to GEO certification will be consistent with the scope of certification;
  • Any communication must be honest, authorized and non-misleading in any way, and the golf club will not sure its certification to bring GEO into disrepute. 


6.0: Duration of GEO Certified® status

GEO Certified® status last for a defined period of three years.  The golf club agrees to always fulfill the certification requirements, including implementing appropriate changes when they are communicated by GEO. Retention of the ecolabel requires an updated OnCourse® report and GEOSA verification report and subsequent GEO evaluation and determination on a three yearly re-certification cycle. The club will receive an email notification 6 months prior to the certification deadline informing that their OnCourse® report can be updated.

Any GEO Certified® club which fails to renew its GEO Certified® status is subject to the following actions:

GEO decision to withdraw the club’s on line profile and issue an immediate statement that the club is no longer GEO Certified®;

GEO to write to the club advising of lapse in certification and providing three month extension period to the club in recognition of extraneous circumstances that are accepted by GEO;

If after the additional three months, the clubs recertification has still not been resolved, GEO may extend a further three months to the club, or may terminate the certification.

GEO has the right to mark all lapsed clubs as ‘lapsed’ in the OnCourse® Directory and on the GEO Map for a period of three years after the date at which the certification originally lapsed.


7.0: Terms of trademark use

No club is permitted to use the GEO Certified® logo or name without the express written permission of the Golf Environment Organization. 

Illegal use may result in GEO making written public statements about any false representation and / or prosecute the entity if they do not desist and / or their actions damage the reputation and business activities of GEO.


8.0: Termination or suspension of involvement

GEO reserves the right to terminate involvement of any club in the OnCourse® programme, and to remove use of the GEO Certified® ecolabel if already attained, with immediate effect, if any of the following take place or are deemed by GEO to unacceptably undermine the club’s ability to credibly carry the ecolabel:

  • Unsanctioned use of the GEO Certified® logo, name on promotional material – prior or separate to the official written award of the GEO Certified® ecolabel
  • Club is cautioned or prosecuted for any illegal activity or activities (GEO may choose to suspend a club’s GEO Certified® status or participation in the OnCourse® programme during the period that legal proceedings are taking place)
  • New substantiated and legitimate disputes arising around land-ownership or with the local community
  • A significant renovation takes place, that GEO are not notified about, which has adverse social and / or environmental impact
  • Any other activity that could reasonably be deemed to bring GEO, the OnCourse® programme and/or GEO Certified® ecolabel into disrepute

Upon suspension, withdrawal, or termination of certification, the golf club will discontinue its use of all communications materials that contain any reference thereto and takes action as required by the certification scheme (e.g. the return of certification documents) and takes any other required measure;

At any time, termination of participation or removal of GEO Certified® status will open the right to object and appeal a GEO determination in accordance with GEO’s Complaints and Appeals Procedure.



You accept that, on attainment of the GEO Certified® eco-label, your Certification Report, and the Verification Report will both be published on line at golfenvironment.org.

You will declare only honest and accurate information in your certification report and in response to questions received from the GEOSA verifier.