Golfbaan 'T Zelle
Executive summary (English & local language)
Golf course ‘t Zelle is part of an old estate and is situated in the beautiful landscape of the Achterhoek area in the Netherlands. The golf course holds a GEO certificate since 2014 and the people are willing to take extra measures to become more sustainable. The GEO committee is anticipating on the new legislation for the use of chemicals, they are improving the quality of the nature areas and there are plans for the installation of a large amount of solar panels. These examples reflect their ambition for sustainability in general. The golf course is planning a big restoration of the clubhouse and that provides opportunities for further saving of energy and water use.
Due to circumstances, new members are active in the GEO committee. The audit took place with a new course commissioner and a new head of greenkeeping. Based on the audit it was clear that they take the GEO plans seriously.
Golf course ‘t Zelle is part of an old estate and has a surface area of approx. 95 ha of which 42 ha are appointed as nature area. These nature areas consist of woodlands, grasslands and heather. They are trying to improve the quality of these heather areas (removal of small trees, mowing and removal of grasses) and where possible they are being extended In 2015 an ecological survey took place of the flora and fauna that is present on the golf course. Many animal and plant species have been found including a large number of protected species. In addition there is still a lot of potential for improving the ecological quality. The survey report is completed with recommendations for the improvement of the ecological quality. These recommendations can be incorporated into the short and long term management plans for the golf course.
The water consumption is carefully monitored and the course is conscious of the use of water. They recently diversified the use of water sources. They now clean their greenkeeping machinery with surface water from the ponds that are present on the golf course.
In the clubhouse there are twin toilet flushes. The planned renovation of the clubhouse is a natural moment to take further steps to save water and examine the possibilities of capturing rain water from roofs etc. They are planning to do so (water audit).
‘t Zelle had already done a lot to reduce the energy consumption in 2014 and since then they have taken extra steps. The lights of the parking area have been replaced by LED lights and they are planning the installation of a large amount of solar panels on a locker shed that will be built later this year. The greenkeepers location is replaced by a modern, light and energy efficient facility.
The renovation of the clubhouse offers an opportunity to take further measures in order to reduce the consumption of energy (electricity and gas – energy audit).
The (new) catering company in the clubhouse makes use of local products. Paper, plastics and glass are being separated and ‘t Zelle is planning a change in their waste policy. It was however not clear yet what these changes will involve.
Since the last audit the course has made several changes in the management of the greens. An agronomist has adviced the club during these changes. Greens now exist for a large part of Festuca species and there is less shade on the greens due to the cutting of trees. This change has resulted in a lower rate of fertilization and the greenkeepers keep on experimenting with the fertilization rate.
‘t Zelle tries to use as less chemicals on the greens as possible. So far no chemicals have been used in 2017 (date of audit was September 4th), according to the head greenkeeper. By this way they are trying to be ready for the Dutch green deal on the use of chemicals on sports fields (2020).
With the new greenkeepers location ’t Zelle has a very modern facility for the storage of chemicals, lubricants, etc. And also for the storage, maintenance and washing of the machinery.
A point of continual improvement from the last audit was the chemical analyses of surface water from 2015 onwards in order to compare their water quality with the surrounding waters. These analyses have not taken place so far. The reason for this is most likely due to staff and committee changes over the period but ‘t Zelle is willing to start with these analyses in 2017.
Apart from the cooperation with local organisations mentioned in the audit report from 2014 (estate owner, Bosgroep), the people of ’t Zelle also communicates with the local water council about the water level on the course.
They have tried to cooperate with the local IVN nature group but so far they haven’t been able to find the good contact persons of the local group. They will keep on trying to contact them, in order to find out if they can work together (for example on monitoring of ecology or the organisation of excursions).
The golfclub published a small book with information about nature and landscape on the course for their members. The book offers good and atractive information (with drawings) about nature per hole. In september 2017 they organised an open day and to celebrate its 25th birthday in august the golfcourse organised a nature walk, which was also open for non-members.
The new greenkeepers location is a modern building with good working conditions for the greenkeepers staff.
Golfclub ‘t Zelle has made several steps in favour of a sustainable and nature friendly golfcourse. They are even planning new measures and are exploring the possibilities of further improvement. I therefore recommend that golf club ‘t Zelle can be awarded with the prolongation of their GEO certificate.
• High diversity of plants and animals
• Low input of chemicals (no chemicals used in 2017)
• Modern greenkeepers location
• Installation of large amount of solar panels (planned for late 2017 / early 2018)