Sigtuna Golfklubb

GEO Certified 10/2014
Sigtuna,
Sweden
Telephone: +46859254012
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Sigtuna Golf Club is situated in the municipality of Sigtuna, which has a nature characterized by agriculture since the Stone Age. The club is beautifully situated at Garnsviken, a shallow and nutrition rich lake, which used to be a part of the large lake Mälaren. The area is regarded as a regional interest to preserve and many of the species found there is strongly connected to the agricultural landscape, including the grazing land. A coming limnic nature reserve will affect the club in several ways, but the club is very positive about. A since 2013 on-going ecological survey, which includes management suggestions, conducted by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is now being carried out. The course manager is not afraid of letting the turf get brown during summer and this has not met any complaints from members or guests, rather the opposite. The club’s strategy of wanting dry soil when the fall arrives with the aim of minimize the risk of fungus is combining the use of less irrigation water.
The municipality is trying to develop a plan for solar energy and the club is very interested in participating in this. Since 2013 the club is hiring a greenkeeper entrepreneur, which is certified by ISO 14 000. With the certification comes that the entrepreneur has promised to reduce its emissions by 15% the next years. The club seems to have a clear picture of in which way it has to act in order to reduce the amount of resources, from pesticides to energy and food transported a long way, on the club. To ad to this, the club has its own gardening for producing salad, aubergine, beetroots etc used in the restaurant. The club is very well aware of all the risks of all kinds of pollution that comes with running a golf course and is continuously trying to develop it’s prevention of this. The internal rules of who is doing what and in what manner in sector of the management is very clear and well communicated to all parts of the staff, members and club management. One of the corner stones in the club’s attitude to sustainability work is collaboration. This is not the least shown in the collaboration project “The Sigtuna project – a landscape for all”, a project involving the municipality, the national government, other organisations, land owners, residents, companys.

Nature

Sigtuna Golf Club is situated in the municipality of Sigtuna, which has a nature characterized by agriculture since the Stone Age. The club is situated at Garnsviken, a shallow and nutrition rich lake, which used to be a part of the large lake Mälaren.
The area where the golf course is situated is regarded as a regional interest to preserve and many of the species found there is strongly connected to the agricultural landscape, including the grazing land. Large areas are now being overgrown due to lack of the “right” form of management, which disfavour the biodiversity.

A large ecological survey of the whole area of Garnsviken, including the golf course, was carried out by Stockholm University in 2008. A new survey, which includes management suggestions, is now being produced and started in 2013. This one is carried out by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and will have a first report during a seminar in October 2014. This seminar is conducted by STERF and one of the aims is how to implement the suggestions for management of the nature areas in an optimal way.

A coming limnic nature reserve will affect the club in several ways. The shore meadows connected to the course, and some other parts of the course, will sometimes be flooded due to the increased water level in Garnvsiken. All the activities, including the golf course, will have restrictions in minimizing their emission of phosphorus to Garnsviken. Despite this, the club is very positive to the reserve and the risk of flooding can be fixed by the construction of a new pond.

For the moment the dominating species is Poa annua and Poa pratensis. Especially the first one is not optimal for the climate in the region. But, the club is actively trying to enhance the amount of creeping bent grass (Agrostis stolofinera), a much more optimal species, and in the last year seems to succeed. Much due to large scale IPM work. The greenkeeper is very keen on letting the turfgrass get brown during hot summers, not at least because the roots then have to seek themselves deeper, which makes them stronger. The surveys of the opinion of members and guests show that everybody is more pleased with the course of the last year.

The now started meadow project is very ambitious and will be connected to the SLU report and the inventory from 2008. The regional inventory of large oaks shows that the course contains many valuable oaks. In order to strengthen these oaks the club now continually disforest small bushes and trees surrounding them.

Water

The greenkeeper has thorough numbers for the irrigation for each sprayer, which gives quite accurate amount of consumption of irrigation water. This shows that the greenkeeper has a very good knowledge of how much water is used and why.

Given the numbers above the total consumption of irrigation water is around 32 000 millions litre, which is a quite normal amount of irrigation water used for a club in Sweden. All the water for irrigation is taken from Garnsviken.

The weather station is used every morning to check the night and day’s weather (wind, rain, temperature etc). The statistics from the weather station is used when deciding the irrigation. On the day for the on-site visit the club hadn’t irrigated at all for last weeks due to a heavy rainfall about six weeks ago. This shows the greenkeeper’s thorough understanding of the turfs need for irrigation and also his ability to “play it cool”.

Low flow toilets have been installed. The water used for cleaning the machines is taken from Garnsviken and not from groundwater. The club’s strategy of wanting dry soil when the fall arrives with the aim of minimize the risk of fungus is combining the use of less irrigation water.

Energy

Until 2013 the club bought its energy from the Wenngarn castle but has since 2014 changed supplier. New machines (some of them are now petrol instead of diesel) have been bought during 2013. They are better concerning energy reducing and thus more environmentally friendly. Since 2013 the greenkeeping is handled by outside contractor, which is certified by ISO 14 000. With the certification comes that the greenkeeping contractor has promised to reduce its emissions by 15% the next years, which hopefully will be shown in the figures for energy use for the next years.

The system for the water heating was changed 2010 with the result that the consumption went down with around 30 000 kw/h. The main reason for the increased use of petrol is the increased mechanical management of the course in order to enhance the quality of the course and at the same time reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers. One must bear in mind that the figures showing the amount of diesel and petrol used in some part are showing the fuel used by the greenkeeping contractor by going to other courses from Sigtuna GK.

The municipality is trying to develop a plan for solar energy and the club is very interested in participating in this.

New energy saving washing machines has been installed. The club has a constructive dialogue with the municipality and the castle concerning getting the bus to stopping at the club.

Supply Chain

The club seems to have a clear picture of in which way it has to act in order to reduce the amount of resources, from pesticides to energy and food transported a long way, on the club. An example of this is the thorough waste management with 8 fractions being recycled, including over left food, and 2 fractions being reused, grass clippings and core and turf.

The club has a purchasing policy used in the daily management. One example of using the policy in the practical management is the leasing of golf carts with the aim of getting the most energy effective ones every year. As the greenkeeping contractor is ISO 14 000 certified it has to make environmental choices continuously. The company, SITA, taking care of the waste management is also ISO 14 000 certified.

The club has its own gardening for producing salad, aubergine, beetroots etc used in the restaurant. The restaurant is using organic food products when available.

Compost tea is used since the start of 2014, for the moment, as a complement to the ordinary fertilizers. The compost tea is also good for both the greens and the nearby oaks when it comes to water use. The greenkeeper is continuously trying to reduce the ordinary fertilizers in favour of organic ones. The input of pesticides is this year being reduced due to the new greenkeeper is using more IPM. As an example of this, the mechanical management done on greens and tees has increased very much since 2013. Two good results of this strategy is the recovery of the greens on hole 13 and 14. In 2013 the greens were practically dead but due to compost tea, vertical cutting and some irrigation the greens are now back in shape. They now have a mix of creeping bentgrass, bentgrass and Poa annua, and this without any support sowing.

The waste from the maintenance area is taken care and sorted out, except for the hazardous waste, which is sorted out on the club, by the waste entrepreneur (SITA). The restaurant and clubhouse is using a different entrepreneur (Ragnsells) to take care of the food waste and the other fractions. The club has had discussions with the restaurant concerning the size of the dishes served and they are now smaller, with the result that less food is thrown away. The club is now planning to have a more comprehensive waste management together with the castle Wenngarn.

Pollution Control

The club is very well aware of all the risks of all kinds of pollution that comes with running a golf course and is continuously trying to develop it’s prevention of this. The internal rules of who is doing what and in what manner is very clear and well communicated to all parts of the staff, members and club management.

The water quality analyses from the well to the clubhouse etc, are conducted every month and shows no negative effects. There is no direct outflow from the course to Garnsviken, which makes it hard to analyze if the club is a netto giver of nutrients or chemicals to it.

No water is directly leaving the course to Garnsviken and the clubhouse is using the mains sewer for its waste water and maintenance facility uses a septic tank, emptied and cleaned by the municipality once a year.

The regulations in Sweden for handling hazardous materials are quite rigorous so the club has to do it very well in order not to breaking the law. The handling of hazardous materials is done in a more than proper way, as an example, it’s only the greenkeeper and his closest staff that has the key to the pesticide storage.

A new filter for the drinking water is installed this year with the purpose, among other things, to filter out salt from the water (taken from the well). Salt in the taken groundwater can occur during dry summers. The on-site treatment plant for the wash pad cleans the wastewater in three steps.

The club has several pesticide free areas, like for instance near waterways and drainage.

Community

The club has indeed a very good a creative relationship with the surrounding community. It has for several years actively participated in the discussions concerning the development of the areas both within and outside the course’s borders and within the club, the sustainability work is one of the prior subjects.

The education of the staff when it comes to, among other things, handling pesticides and management of accidents are genuine and the staff is closely connected and involved in the club’s sustainability work.

The sustainability group was formed in 2010, has had around 10 meetings during 2014, and consists not only of persons connected to the club but also persons from local NGOs and governments, which is a great plus. The members have divided the different areas of sustainability work and the group gives continual reports to the board.

The club has from the start been the driving force behind the collaboration project “The Sigtuna project – a landscape for all”. Some keywords in the project are “comprehensive view”, “participation”, “inspiration” and “approach” and the project involves the municipality, the national government, other organisations, land owners, residents, companys. Two of the several aims of the project are to create a comprehensive view of the current landscape where special interests are subordinated the comprehensive view and to enhance and capitalize the multifunctional possibilities of the golf club.

The subject of land use and cultural heritage is taken well care within the above-mentioned project. Some ancient tombs has their place on the club’s area and will be investigated within the next years.

The club has a well structured scheme for internal communication, concluding Club Nights, newsletters, website and a new course guide.

A new folder presenting the abovementioned project has recently been released. It is made by having other golf clubs and organizations as target audience with the aim of promoting the “vision-governed” strategy for having similar projects come true. This folder together with, among other things, a appendix in the local newspaper and some articles in the Swedish Golf Federations two magazines, gives that the club has a very functional and effective communication with the surrounding community.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Sigtuna Golf Club is a role model for how a club can collaborate and integrate with the surrounding community. Being one of the driving forces behind the project “The Sigtuna project – a landscape for all” shows that the nice words about comprehensive view and participation are not only words, but also put in practice. Since 2013 the club has totally changed its way of manage the course, since a new greenkeepeing contractor has been hired. The new greenkeeper is thinking in new, for the club, IPM-directions heading towards a more environmentally friendly way of managing the course and letting the nature, climate and weather conditions rule much more than before. This is very interesting and will be nice to follow. These two examples of how the club wants to develop in the future gives that the club not is afraid of head in new, innovative directions. It also stakes out one way for golf clubs to go who wish to create great golf courses, move towards sustainability and be a crucial part of the future society. This said, I must say that to visit Sigtuna Golf Club was a real treat.

Certification Highlights

- The project “The Sigtuna project – a landscape for all”, which involves the municipality, the national government, other organisations, land owners, residents, companys, is a fantastic way of promoting a sustainable golf course management.

- Meeting the new greenkeeper was great experience. He really knows what he’s doing when it comes to managing and developing the course in a sustainable way without letting down the game of golf.

- The very sustainable restoration of the 13th and 14th greens. It was great to see the result of pure IPM in these two greens, who were practically dead before the sustainable treatment.