Marriott Golf Courses Become Audubon Certified Sanctuaries
ORLANDO, Florida, March 18, 2008 (ENS) - Marriott Golf today announced new standards requiring 34 of the company's managed golf courses at 25 locations throughout North America and the Caribbean to become Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries by year's end.

Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries, which enable golf facilities to protect the environment by enhancing natural areas and wildlife habitats, are part of a systemwide commitment by Marriott International, Inc. to promote environmental stewardship, the company said in a statement.

Marriott's Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami (Photo credit unknown)

The Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami will become the first-ever Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in North America to host a World Golf Championships event on Thursday when the 2008 WGC-CA Championship opens there.

"Marriott Golf is proud to be part of the company's broader green initiatives by supporting Audubon Certification, golf's environmental gold standard," said Robert Waller, senior director of grounds, Marriott Golf.

"Our goal is to engage our guests and associates from around the world in this unique process and to further our commitment to promoting the game of golf in an eco-friendly way," Waller said.

In order to achieve Audubon Certification, a golf facility is required to demonstrate that it is maintaining the highest degree of environmental quality in several areas including environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, outreach and education, chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management.

"We are elated with the level of commitment Marriott is showing by mandating Audubon Certification across their portfolio of golf courses," said Kevin Fletcher, executive director of Audubon International.

"This program directly enables golf courses to protect the environment by improving the quality of land, water, and air, along with conserving natural resources and protecting wildlife habitats," said Fletcher. "These proven environmental management practices will help preserve the natural heritage of the game of golf for many generations to come."

Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries for golf courses, which are endorsed by the U.S. Golf Association, provide information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, and protect natural resources.

Marriott Golf is already operating six courses in accordance with the Audubon standards, including the Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Sarasota, four other Florida courses and the Stone Mountain Golf Club in Georgia

Each of these properties has achieved certification through development of water conservation plans; converting formerly managed turf into wildlife habitat; constructing nesting boxes for native birds; the creation of butterfly gardens and other programs.

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