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Clearing the water hazard

Golf is a sport that developed into a travel and leisure lifestyle, and now it’s developing a social conscience – especially in Siem Reap.

Some environmentalists have savaged golf courses for their excessive water consumption, and the establishment of new courses in neighbouring countries such as Vietnam has also caused angst because villagers have been displaced by hectares of green sward needed for the chase of the little white ball.

The water issue is particularly sensitive in Siem Reap, with some claiming increased water consumption might cause Angkor monuments to tumble.

Consequently, the operators of the three golf courses in town have banded together to steer a path toward “social responsibility”.

Managers of the local courses – Sofitel Phokeethra Country Club, Angkor Golf Resort and the Siem Reap Lake Golf Resort – attended a Sustainability Golf Management seminar organised by the Ministry of Tourism in conjunction with Siem Reap province on March 15 at the Siem Reap City Hall.

The seminar was chaired by Dr Mok Mareth, senior minister of tourism, supported by Sou Phirin, Governor of Siem Reap province, and attended by Hor Sarun, Undersecretary of State.

The main thrust of the seminar was a lecture given by the president and CEO of the TAT Filipinas Golf Club, Edna Selloriquez.

The lecture gave insights into how to successfully manage, implement and conserve water use, and touched upon finding the right balance of chemical and fertiliser usage, and employee sustainability.

Adam Robertson, the manager of the Angkor Golf Resort, said, “Water was the topic of much discussion. Our primary concern is to manage it in a more responsible manner, and several measures have been taken.”

Robertson also pointed out that when the Angkor Golf Resort opened, it signed on to the National Audubon Society’s Golf Course Sanctuary programme for the protection of the local flora and fauna. Turtles liberated from local markets are brought to the golf course and released in the water pools, and bird life is also attracted to the course.

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