Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, S.C.

What they did For many years, the resort has given its guests the opportunity to donate $2 per night during their stay to the Kiawah Island Conservancy, the local organization dedicated to preserving the island's environment and natural resources. The resort maintains a staff of naturalists who conduct tours and seminars for guests about the island plants, wildlife, ecology and the resort's conservation efforts. Native vegetation is employed whenever possible by the resort's landscapers.

Global Development

With golf course building at a standstill around most of the globe, it's the emerging nations that are fueling the growth of the game. From Dubai to Dubrovnik to Da Nang, regions that once were looked on as barren deserts, Iron Curtain gulags or impenetrable jungles are embracing golf as a key to economic development.

Middle East deserts bloom with golf

The oil-rich desert nations of the Middle East are rolling out fairway after fairway and they're sponsoring competitions to draw top touring professionals from all over the world.

"There's a tremendous amount of building, including in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia," Sartori said. "And now we see the European Tour expanding into Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar."

Huge media coverage of these tournaments has helped fuel interest in the area.

Eastern Europe ready to tee it up

More mature golf markets such as Spain have competition from other emerging areas as well. Bulgaria and other countries in Eastern Europe see themselves as potential major competition for places like the Costa del Sol.

The Black Sea and its beaches have long been a tourist destination for Eastern Europeans because of their mild weather conditions; now all countries along the sea are pushing resort developments in hopes of attracting tourists from further away.

Far East boom shifts focus

The outburst of course building that swept across China over the past decade has slowed down, partly because of a moratorium designed to prevent farmland from being turned into fairways, according to Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design of Scottsdale. But planning work on many projects continues.

"Work is alive there even though it's tempered by the knowledge of controls being in place," said Curley, whose firm has been heavily involved in golf throughout Asia for more than 10 years.

Golf in island paradises

The worldwide growth of golf has driven developers to search for unspoiled island paradises with plenty of sunshine and cheap land. One of those places that has suddenly popped up on the radar screen for golf resort developers is the Cape Verde Islands.

The name may be unfamiliar to Americans, but heavy TV advertising aimed at Europeans is promoting the 10 islands that make up the Cape Verdes, located about 300 miles off the coast of Africa and a three-hour flight from Portugal, as a destination.

Golf Inc. 2008 Green Award Winners

Best Green Courses Commitment to the environment earns Makena, Kiawah Island, Fairmont Southampton top course honors in the inaugural Golf Inc. competition. Troon Golf, W.R. Love Course Architecture capture first-place first-place recognition as well.

More than 20 years ago-long before the term "ecotourism" became a marketing catch-phrase- operators of Kiawah Island Resort were giving guests the opportunity to donate $2 per night toward preservation of the island's natural habitat.

Private clubs get creative

Some clubs discover that outside-the-box thinking pays off in elusive new memberships, added revenue "I run across a lot of clubs who are not doing so well and they're starting to think about why and what they can do about it." That observation, from private club consultant Heidi Voss of Bauer Voss Consulting, sums up the dilemma many of today's private golf and country clubs are facing. Economic pressures, from layoffs to fuel prices to volatile stock prices to declining home values and the mortgage crisis, are putting many U.S.

Growing the game, UK -style

With play stagnant, British programs seek to bring new golfers to the game by reaching out to youths In an effort to grow golf in communities where access has been limited, two UK-based programs, Golf Roots and FIRSTGOLF, are determined to make the sport more inclusive to urban and disadvantaged youths.

"The idea started because we needed to take golf into areas where it was seen as not an option," said Mike Round, chief executive officer of the Golf Foundation, which sponsors Golf Roots.


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