AGZA Green Zone


City of South Pasadena First City in Nation to Convert
Maintenance of Golf Course to Gas-Free Equipment

South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti called it “another first in our region, in the state and the nation” as he proudly talked about the City’s latest effort to become a leader in cleaning up the air.

South Pasadena has become the first city in the country to convert its municipal golf course using gas-free equipment and reach AGZA Green Zone certification.

Cacciotti joined other elected officials, an American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) representative, and individuals from health and environmental organizations in celebrating the achievement during a ceremony last Friday morning at the city’s 18-hole, 3-par Arroyo Seco Golf Course.

“South Pasadena continues to be a leader in sustainability and reducing the harmful health and environmental impacts of its municipal operations,” said Cacciotti. “We’re proud to have partnered with AGZA, the Air Quality Management District, and Donovan Brothers Golf [operators of Arroyo Seco Golf Course] to provide cleaner, healthier air, and more peace and quiet to everyone who lives in, works in, or visits our city.”

The local golf course is now maintained using all-electric equipment, replacing gas-powered lawn mowers, blowers, trimmers, and hedge clippers. “We’re now a healthier, cleaner, quieter community because of this effort,” said Cacciotti. “Our actions are simple, but profound and far-reaching. We have established a model for all American cities to follow as we reduce pollution and harmful emissions.”

Dan Mabe is the founder and president of AGZA, which bills itself as the global leader in zero-emission sustainable grounds maintenance strategies. “Our mission is to transition the lawn care and grounds maintenance of all communities away from noisy, dirty fossil fuels and into quieter, zero-emission electric operations,” he said. “I want to congratulate the City of South Pasadena and Donovan Brothers Golf Management for becoming the first AGZA certified golf course in the nation, and perhaps world. Once again, South Pasadena’s vision, dedication, and ability to lead the rest of the country and world are on full display. AGZA receives emails from Europe, South America, Australia and Asia referencing South Pasadena’s Green Zone city. They all ask, ‘how did they do it and how can we do it here?’ It is your leadership and call to action that has emboldened other communities to follow the same path.”

By certifying the nation’s first AGZA Green Zone Golf Course, Mabe says Arroyo Seco and the City of South Pasadena are taking bold steps to demonstrate “that you can have clean quiet golf greens without the noise, health and environmental damage inherent with gasoline-powered equipment. Golf is a sport and a lifestyle that prides itself on pristine landscaping and quiet beauty, which until now have been marred by small gas engines – the least efficient, dirtiest, and most polluting mechanisms around.”

Joining Cacciotti and Mabe at the ceremony and recognizing the City of South Pasadena for its achievement were California State Senator Anthony Portantino, Michael Donovan of Donovan Brothers Golf, Inc., Nidia Erceg from the Coalition of Clean Air, American Lung representative John Yi, the Sierra Club’s Don Bremner and Ted Rueter from Noise Free America.

“Let’s give it up for South Pasadena,” said Portantino, making his remarks after praising the city’s effort in being a good steward when taking on environmental issues. “If this was ordinary we wouldn’t be here. This is extraordinary. The City of South Pasadena has been a local leader and a state leader in implementing cutting edge green programs. This is the first-ever total green golf course. It’s awesome. All cities can do this. Let’s hope that word filters out that this is a place where you can come with your family and not only enjoy outdoor entertainment, but do it in such a way where people are being respectful to the environment.”

In September 2016, South Pasadena became the first AGZA Green Zone city in the United States with certification given to Arroyo Seco Park, meaning grounds maintenance — mowing, hedging, edging, trimming, sawing, and blowing — are serviced exclusively with low-noise zero-emission battery-electric machinery and manual hand tools. The same honor was awarded Garfield Park in South Pasadena in 2015.

Eliminating toxic, carcinogenic and particulate emissions from gas combustion is the next goal for Arroyo Seco Golf Course after the City’s most recent action.

“The Pasadena Group of the Sierra Club commends the City of South Pasadena for using only emission-free electric equipment to maintain its golf course and median strips,” said Bremner of the Sierra Club. “Emissions from gasoline-powered lawn and landscape maintenance equipment are a significant source of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants that are precursors to ozone formation in the Los Angeles air basin. Reducing these emissions is an important step in addressing the region’s serious air pollution. Becoming the first Green Zone Golf Course underscores the significance of this achievement.”