Justin Timberlake, whose Mirimichi Golf Course was the first in the country to achieve the prestigious GEO (golf environmental certification), isn’t the only golf course going green.

The two championship courses at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa run all 10 of their maintenance vehicles on veggie oil — or rather a special biodiesel they process from their restaurant’s leftover grease.

It’s a win-win for everyone. The waste products (read: French fry grease) from the resort’s three restaurants aren’t dumped in the landfill, dependence on petroleum is all but eliminated and there’s less air pollution on the two award-winning golf courses. Not to mention the savings in fuel costs.

And that’s just the beginning of the resort’s environmental stand. Both courses, with their wide fairways, multi-tiered greens and fiendish bunkers are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries which, among other things, means they’ve reduced chemicals and water use and have provided acres of habitats for local wildlife.

And while golfers, stereotypically more interested in “the greens” than green, flock to Desert Springs Resort’s courses for their superb landscape, their swan and duck-filled water features and their long list of “best of” awards, it’s reassuring to us green-leaning types that the sport of golf is working to cut its environmental footprint.

Ever since January 1995 when 81 golf industry professionals and environmentalists met at Pebble Beach to begin a dialogue, steam has been building to make golf more eco-friendly. Before then, issues such as water use (by some accounts, 300,000 gallons a day on U.S. courses) and pesticides were all but ignored. What? Golf’s not green? We’re out in nature, there’s trees, there’s wildlife.

So, thank you, Desert Springs Resort and Spa for demonstrating environmental leadership. And while you can’t exactly change your gorgeous desert location (and why would you want to?), I appreciate the steps you’ve taken to mitigate water use.

Led by Albert Perez, Director of Grounds, these golf courses with the high-tech electric golf carts that compute yardage to the pin use treated effluent (waste) water, irrigate smaller areas of the property and have raised mowing heights. And now, like Neil Young whose Lincoln Continental runs on biofuel, Arnold Schwarzenneger who converted his 87 Wagoneer and countless young eco-warriors with their veggie VW’s, Palm Desert’s premier golf course powers all its maintenance vehicles with grease.

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, 74855 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760.341.2211

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