Justin Timberlake has opened his new eco-friendly Mirimichi Golf Course -- making it the first in the country to to be designated as a certified Audubon International Classic Sanctuary. The musician/actor saved the course from development several years ago after the previous owners wanted out. “Originally it was called Woodstock Hills, and it was the first place my dad taught me to hit a ball,” he said in recent interview. “And last year we found out they were going to auction it off and turn it into a development. So we thought it was such a landmark for the community, we’d scoop it and save it. And we did. We were able to get it before it was auctioned off.”

Timberlake wasn't about to slap his name on the course and hope for the best. As a supporter of the environment and sustainable initiatives, he decided to create the most eco-friendly golf course in the world -- with renovations to the tune of nearly $16 million.

“As part of the renovation of the course, I started asking questions about whether you can turn a golf course into an eco-friendly place. It turns out you can," he wrote on his website. "The clubhouse will be Platinum LEED certified when it is complete and that is an extremely grueling process but very rewarding. While we have several initiatives that make Mirimichi eco-friendly, one of the greatest in my opinion is that while we use 80 percent of the energy we produce, we return 20 percent to the Tennessee Energy Grid.”

According to Ecorazzi, the 300-acre course features only 80-acres of mowed grass -- leaving the rest to transition back to native species. To avoid the use of chemicals, most weeds are picked by hand. Where they are needed, the course uses organic or slow-release products to cut down on runoff throughout the property. Plans are also underway to build greenhouses to propagate the native species and provide educational opportunities for those interested in the wildlife and horticulture at Mirimichi.

To find out more, check out the official site here.

Also on MNN: 

• MNN local correspondent shares more about Timberlake's green course.

MNN homepage photo: Jason DeCrow/Associated Press