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The eco-friendly way of keeping green

By Lawrence Casiraya

The Calatagan Golf Club is one of the oldest golf courses in the country and is famous for its lush landscape of Kalachuchi trees lining up the fairways, with many more varieties of flowering plants that dot the property.

In response to global warming, the course (part of what was once the Punta Baluarte resort enclave here) has been quietly making an effort to counter the effects of environmental degradation while helping uplift the livelihood of the local folk.

Calatagan aims to become the country’s first biodynamic golf course. Late last year, the club started making its own organic compost, so it need not rely on chemicals, commercial fertilizers and weed killers.

The compost is processed right in the middle of the 18-hole course itself — around hole 11, to be exact. Aside from using it on the tee mounds, fairways and putting greens, it is also used on the club’s gardens and vegetables.

The organically grown vegetables then make it to the club’s menu. Or, members and guests can order them fresh, play a round of golf and pick them up on the way home.

The club also sells the compost at P350 per sack, so guests with green thumbs can likewise take home a few.

Managing this project is Greg Kitma, who studied biodynamic farming in Australia and whose brother Alex is the head veterinarian at the neighboring Hacienda Bigaa, owned by the Zobel family. (The Zobels trace their ancestry in Calatagan and the late Don Enrique Zobel was largely responsible for landscaping the golf course.)

In tune with this eco-friendly theme, the club also sells items such as shirts (made of organic cotton), hats and club head covers, woven or made by the club’s maintenance staff and their families in Calatagan.

The club also sells its own eco-bag golf bag made from recycled flour sacks, with hand painted coconut or mahogany fruits for buttons.

Or instead of those plastic tees, guests can opt wooden tees recycled from fallen trees and branches and handcrafted by gardeners during their off days. So next time you bring guests to play golf in Calatagan, you can buy them a set of these wooden tees as a souvenir.