Ljunghusen Golf Club
Executive summary (English & local language)
The facility was the first one in the world to achieve the GEO-certification, June 2009. And the club has for decades been one of the leading ones in Sweden when it comes to sustainability. The facility is within a nature reserve and is situated by the sea, a dominating feature is heath land, and is constantly trying to improve the management of the nature in order to enhance the biodiversity and has cooperation with NGO: s and authorities. The landscape has links characteristics, changed over the centuries because of different usage. Remains of this are found in form of old fisher huts, tong walls, peat pits and the heather meadows. When becoming GEO-certified the first time the club already was on a quite high level in sustainability compared to most of the other clubs in Scandinavia. But, this has not stopped the club from wanting to constantly improve its sustainability work. Since 2012 the club has, among other things, introduced renewable energy for the electricity and organic fertilizers used on the course. These improvements are not doable without a deep insight in the world of sustainability at the board, course manager and members. The club is also well conscious of other improvements needed, such as refined irrigation system and a thorough energy survey. At last it must be mentioned the club’s deep collaboration with the local community. The club is in many ways an obvious part of the community, constantly having discussions on how together improve the sustainability work together. This is a very, very important way of improving sustainability and at the same time keeping the game of golf alive and kicking in todays and future society.
Small bushes and trees are being removed at critical places every year. A large part of the beaches, wetlands and water hazards are being restricted in spring and early summer in order to protect birds and amphibians. Fences are protecting nesting birds on the actual course.
The facility is constantly trying to improve the management of the landscape and is now discussing having part of the heath being managed by fire. The sea is constantly taking land from some parts of the course; the erosion is about ½-1 meter each year. In order to control erosion by the sea the facility is continuously putting up shields and fences.
An inventory of the flora, including management suggestions, includes 377 species. The facility is following the suggestions of management included in the inventory. Three new inventories have been carried out 2015, focusing on the heath land with the heather and an updated inventory of the amphibians is carried out for the moment. The facility has a number of endangered species.
The course has been within a Nature designation since 1986 and is considered a links course with heath land and beach meadows, hay made by the staff.
Festuca rubra, Agrostis tenius/capillaris and Poa annua are the main grass species used on the course and they are all seen as drought tolerant. The vision is to have a mix of native turf grass species, like a good wine from Bordeaux. Improvements have been carried out on several holes since 2012. New burns have been created and a few dams have been converted into burns. These improvements have been done in order to increase the playing quality and help the water from the heath wetland through the course.
It is prohibited to get the balls out of the dams from 1st of May until 15th of June due to the amphibians are mating at that time. Outside the fence of the facility Highland cattle is grazing the heath and beach meadows and the facility still want to let the cattle, maybe including sheep, come nearer the course.
The course manager has a very good picture of the different needs of irrigation on the different areas and patches on the course and also has a very good local knowledge of “reading” the weather and is putting in data of rainfall and temperatures for statistics. The services of the Danish and Norwegian national meteorological authorities are being used.
The irrigation water is taken from boreholes and surface water. The amount of water used is neither high nor low compared to other courses in Sweden.
Manual irrigation of small dry patches is being carried out and a new technology with a special nozzle is being used since a couple of years in order to minimize the use of wetting agents. The latter is also in an intricate way helping otherwise wet areas keeps fairly dry and thus avoiding diseases caused by water and at the same time make it easier for the golfers to play.
Some area of the course is meant to be dry due to the landscape and is therefore not being irrigated less than needed. Constant improvement of irrigation efficiency is being carried out. The club has invested in a new soil meter in order to make the irrigation more effective. The club is continuously trying to reduce water use in the clubhouse. Examples of this is new toilets using less water and new water taps demanding active effort to get hot water while washing.
The facility has since several years a cooperation with the municipality in order to reduce the energy consumption even more but due to restrictions in the municipality it is unable to construct its own windmill on the course. The facility is trying to purchase more local food in order to among other things keep down the fuel consumption of the transportation.
The facility did change Energy Company in 2013 in order to use only renewable energy sources for their electricity, which now is a fact. And the thing is that the cost, at least when introducing it, decreased. Great!
New hybrid mowers have been bought in 2015 and it’s going to be interesting to see the, hopefully, decrease of used diesel. The course staff now can run the irrigation system from the mobile phones, which decreases the fuel used before for transport on the course. The oil consumption has been reduced by about 90% in the last decades, much due to a change into using geothermal heating sources, also used for the fans in the restaurant.
The facility is continuously trying to improve its energy saving capacity for example with better insulation, energy saving light bulbs, sensors for lights in the facility’s houses and meters on all consumption.
The grass clippings from the greens are being taking care of by being put in the local compost and mixed with wood and soil to become good fertilizing agents.
Since the 1980:s the facility has reduced the use of fertilizers with about 80%. Soil- and grass analyses are being carried out continuously and the course manager is using fertilizers only when necessary. No alien grass species are being used on the course and smell, sight and touch are often used as analyzing tools both when it comes to fertilizing and pesticide use. Due to the facility is within a nature reserve the restrictions on these two things are quite high. The management lets some areas of the course get dry because it’s part of the landscape.
The purchasing policy is a part of the environment policy, revised 2015, and is used in the daily management of the facility. One example is when the producer of the sort of bunker sand used stopped producing it, the club chosed to use another sort of sand instead of buying the same sort from Bornholm, a Danish island, quite far away from the facility. The new bunker sand was as least as good as the old one.
The club is always trying to get food and beverage, especially local food, and retail from local producers.
Since 2013 the club has started using organic fertilizers for greens and tees, and the course manager see the introduction of this as a success, although a little more expensive. For example, less water is needed and less application of fertilizers, although the same amount of P, K and N is used. Pesticide use is being kept to a minimum. Of course the facility is managing the course according to the new (since January 2014) national laws on IPM.
Recycling, re-use or land filling of all waste is being carried on the facility. The recycle bins at the half way house is working well. The cardboard is being pressed and sold and the organic waste from the restaurant is being transformed into biogas. The recycling company is carrying a waste audit out yearly.
There is a section in the maintenance plan for the nature reserve that describes how the golf course is supposed to be maintained. These guidelines are a natural part of the facility’s management plan
The yearly analyses of the quality of the water running into the course and the water leaving the course show no signs of the facility being a giver of nutrients and chemicals to the out flowing water.
The wastewater from the clubhouse and maintenance facility is going in to the mains sewer, a secure way in Sweden to take care of the water.
All hazardous waste are being taking care of in a most careful way.
The mixing of pesticides and fertilizer is carried out on a grassed area, which acts as a natural biobed just nearby the maintenance area. If there is any spilling, the grass and the soil takes care of it. This is all ok according to the municipality. But, the club realizes that this is not an optimal solution in the long run. It will therefore, in the coming years, invest in a solution that takes care of both the wastewater from the wash pad and spilling from mixing pesticides and fertilizer. The club is planning to invest in a product from for example the company Clearwater.
A 15-meter safety zone is used around ditches and open water and on the course there are plenty of zones where pesticides are not used.
Close partnerships with local NGO:s, municipalities, and national governments are going on continuously. There are many paths for the public crossing the course, among others a trail called “to-the-beach-path”. The board continuously have the environment on the agenda and the issue is well integrated in the facilities other issues. All the statistics needed to run an effective environmental work are well at hand on the facility. The comprehensive documentation has been slightly improved with developed environmental plans including detailed action plans.
The facility has environmental and health & safety education for the staff 1-2 times a year and sometimes including members of the board. The course staff has yearly education seminars about nature care, for example taking care of amphibians in a proper way.
The sustainability group is compiled excellently with general manager, course manager, technical specialist, board members and representatives from a local NGO and the local government.
The facility has a good cooperation with authorities concerning emergency control and knows what to do when accidents occur.
On the course you can still find remains of old fisher huts being used by the facility, tong walls, peat pits and the heather meadows. The tong walls only exist in this region and on the island Mön in Denmark, and is thus very rare. You can also find border stones for eel fishing from the early 18th century
The notice board in the clubhouse is very effective in keeping the members and guests aware of the environmental work and e-mails with newsletters are continuously being sent out to the members. The management has produced a very instructive and beautiful painting of all the habitats and some of the frequent species on a central place in the clubhouse.
Several times a year nature guiding on the course is being held, using guides from the local NGO.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Management Plan
- Environmental Policy
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
- Minutes of Meetings
It’s always a treat to visit Ljunghusens GK, being the first club in the world to achieve the GEO-certification, and spend some hours talking sustainable management of a golf course. The facility has a long genuine interest and engagement in the environmental work. It was one of the first golf facilities in Sweden to join the late Committed to Green in the early 2000: s. During the last three years the facility has improved in several areas. Renewable energy sources for the electricity are a fact and the use of organic fertilizers for greens and tees since 2013 is great steps forward in being sustainable. But there are of course things to improve, like energy saving program and replacing large area sprinklers with small area sprinklers put up more back-to-back-sprinklers. Even though the environmental thinking is deep and sincere the fact that the facility is being included in a nature reserve has undoubtedly had some impact on the environmental improvements on the course and the rest of the facility. The care of the very specific nature and landscape is very outspoken and the facility is doing everything to constantly improve it, not least by having close partnerships with local NGO:s and authorities. The managers and board have for a long time been on the right track when it comes to sustainable management, not the least because it takes a lot of feeling and experience to manage golf course situated in a place like this in a sustainable way.
• The change to renewable energy is great, especially as it ended in lower costs. This is the way it always should be; renewable energy must be cheaper than for example fossil fuel.
• The use of organic fertilizers for greens and tees since 2013 is a great step forward in being sustainable and the fact that the course manager see the introduction of this as a success, although a little more expensive for the moment, is great.
• The vision is to have a mix of native turf grass species, like a good wine from Bordeaux, is an interesting approach to get a sustainable turf.