Executive summary (English & local language)
Les deux golfs se situent au cœur de la station balnéaire d'Hardelot, ils sont entourés de zones naturelles reconnues d'intérêt écologique, faunistique et floristique (ZNIEFF), garantes d'un écosystème fragile. Entre d'un côté des dunes et de l'autre la forêt, le golf des Pins et celui des Dunes se composent de 18 trous chacun. La forêt d'Écault se situant à côté permet une grande variété d'animaux. On croise parfois sur les parcours des chevreuils, biches, lapins, renards et sangliers. Il existe même sur certains parcours des passages de gros gibiers. La proximité avec la mer en fait un passage obligé pour les mouettes, cormorans et autres oiseaux marins. L'implantation du golf s'est donc faite en prenant garde de ne pas déranger la présence de ces animaux tout en assurant une qualité de jeux satisfaisante pour la clientèle. La très grande présence des zones boisées dans un relief naturel rend la végétation particulièrement riche (dunes blanches, dunes grises, argousiers, etc...) mais qui par endroit ne sauraient être laissée au hasard. Malgré un ensoleillement parfois difficile, un grand soin est apporté à la création de passage d'air, rendant les parcours moins humides. Cependant, de nombreuses zones restent sauvages et accueillent différentes espèces d'oiseaux.
Historiquement, le golf créé en 1906 par Tom Simpson, démarré au château d'Hardelot. Récemment le golf céda une partie de son terrain autour du château afin de protéger ce patrimoine culturelle et écologique. Il en va de même pour le lac de la Claire Eau, propriétaire de cette source de puisement, le golf céda le lac à la forêt domaniale d'Hardelot, aujourd'hui sanctuaire d'une colonie de cormorans, avec plus de milles individus.
La direction du golf a opté pour une bonne occasion de mieux intégrer son environnement naturel à ce milieu naturel typique pour les dunes. Des efforts était pris du démarrage du golf pour intégrer le terrain de golf avec la nature environnements du parc naturel régional. Les plans visant à améliorer encore ses installations s'ajoutent aux étapes précédemment prises pour réduire au minimum son empreinte environnementale. Ce ne sont que les étapes nécessaires pour appliquer avec succès la reconnaissance GEO. Parce que ce label exprime non seulement l'approche environnementale mais aussi le respect pour la communauté locale.
Un facteur important pour le terrain de golf dans ce climat typiques pour les dunes, fait que maintenir un gazon sain sur les parcours un véritable défi. La sélection de graminées plus fortes en combinaison avec des traitements de fertilisation spécifiques et la maximisation des activités d'entretien mécanique rendent le besoin de traitements fongicides minimal.
De plus, la construction est prévue d'une station de lavage moderne à technique de pointe avec une installation de récupération d'eau, minimisera encore l'impact environnemental du club de golf.
Le golf a créée une promenade naturelle qui peut être utilisé par les écoles locales pour donner aux jeunes locaux la possibilité de profiter de l'environnement agréable et d'apprendre sur la nature en même temps, ainsi que pour les visiteurs golfeurs et non golfeurs pour faite connaissance avec l'écosystème fragile typique pour les dunes.
Les résultats et les actions sont régulièrement communiqués au public afin que chacun puisse voir comment le golf et la nature peuvent facilement coexister en développant et en préservant la richesse botanique et faunistique typique de cette région, même dans un open golf club qui vise à rendre le golf facilement accessible à tout le monde.
En tant que tels, tous les critères sont remplis pour accorder la reconnaissance GEO pour un club de golf durable.
The two golf courses are located in the heart of the resort of Hardelot, surrounded by natural areas of ecological value for fauna and flora, containing a rich but fragile ecosystem. Located on the dunes of the Hauts-de-France coastline, in the middle of the seaside resort of Hardelot and next to Mont Saint-Frieux, the Pines Golf and Dunes Golf Club consist in 18 holes each and are surrounded by pine trees and some hardwoods. The nearby Ecault forest allows a wide variety of animals. There are deer, wild pig, rabbits, foxes and boars. There are even large game passages through the courses. The proximity to the sea brings in seagulls, cormorants and other seabirds. The golf was build taking into account the presence of the natural value of the area.
The large forest areas in a natural relief makes the vegetation particularly rich. Despite the limited sunshine caused by shade, great care was taken to create air passages making the courses less humid. However, many areas remain wild and host different species of birds and plants.
Historically, the golf started at the castle of Hardelot. Recently the golf course yielded part of its land around the castle in order to protect this cultural and ecological heritage. Same story for "Lac de la Claire Eau", once again, the golf sold the lake to the Region and it is now a bird and natural sanctuary.
The golf management opted this a good opportunity to better integrate its natural environment to this typical natural dune environment. Efforts have been made from the start of the golf courses to mingle with the surrounding nature of the regional nature park. The plans to further improve its facilities add up to the steps previously taken to minimize its environmental foot print. These were just the needed steps to apply successfully for GEO recognition. As this label also expresses not only the environmental oriented approach but also the respect for the local community.
A major factor for the golf courses are the typical dune environment what makes that maintaining a healthy turf on the courses is a real challenge. The selection of stronger grasses in combination with specific fertilization treatments and maximization of mechanical maintenance activities, make the need of fungicidal treatments minimal. Also the planned construction of a state of the art washing station with water recuperation will further minimizes the environmental impact of the golf club.
The golf created a nature walk that can be used by the local schools to give the local youth the opportunity to enjoy the nice environment and learn about nature at the same time, as well as for visitors golfers and none golfers to learn about the typical fragile dune ecosystem.
The results and actions are regularly communicated to the public so that everyone can see how golf and nature can easily co-exist by developing and safeguarding the botanical and faunal wealth typical for this area, even in an open golf club that aims to make golf easily accessible for everybody.
As such all criteria are met to grant the GEO recognition for a sustainability conscious golf club.
The course has a relaxing impression with the maritime woods and open grassy place placed on a slightly hilly dune landscape. It is a well balanced landscape surrounded at certain areas with residential houses that have nice vistas on the golf courses on the one hand and green natural wooded dunes on the other hand. The two golf courses are closely situated to each other but have clearly their own distinct character.
Not all dead wood is removed from the wooded areas, which provides valuable habitat for invertebrates and other small organisms.
They have installed an educative path for the visitors and schools around bees and pollination, with some bee hives at the end of the path. Also they have abandoned an area with a holes on it, for wildlife development (dunes used for big game to migrate and the lake the lake that was used to irrigate the golf courses and this is now developing as a bird sanctuary).
The dune surface is now developing naturally, but this made that new holes needed to be constructed involving a partial deforestation of dune woodland. This has been compensated by planting new forest at another location in agreement with the government agency. The course mingles well with the dune landscape (some sandy areas, maritime pine trees).
Specific studies have been performed in the past for development of the big game corridor and a study to evaluate the possibility to use groundwater instead of water coming from the lake.
No detailed inventory of plants/animals is yet at hand, however from time to time some rare birds and plants typical for the dune area are discovered (e.g. Meadow Saxifrage - Saxifraga granulata, Burnet rose - Rosa pimpinellifolia,...).
The club tries to better cope with the typical dune landscape by keeping certain areas open, so that typical herbal dune growth can develop.
The club uses grass varieties that thrive best under the local conditions to minimize the need of treatment against fungal diseases. A consultant is involved to optimize the turf quality with a minimum of treatment and irrigation.
The club has allowed the dune vegetation take over the abandoned hole, so that animals can migrate freely without damaging the golf course.
By switching to groundwater to irrigate the golf courses, the lake has be left to develop, so currently already a colony of cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) is present.
The irrigation water will soon be sourced 100% from a well at the site. In the last full year of reporting (2016), still 50% was sourced from the lake. A permit has been obtained recently for the drilling of the second borehole. According to the studies of the groundwater system there will be no influence of the pumping for the environment due to the local underground geology.
Some water audits have been performed in the past, resulting in changing of the water supply from lake water to ground water. Drinking water is obtained from the public mains water. Waste water is connected to the public sewer. There are no field toilets on the courses. Regular toilets are fitted with a dual flush.
The current washing zones are not equipped with water pre-treatment tanks (sludge, hydrocarbon separator) and is directly connected to the sewer system. An investment plan is lined out to built a state of the art washing combined with the new planned technical building. Waste water is connected to the public sewer.
Irrigation is done at night to reduce loss by transpiration, and based on meteorological information. Fairways are also irrigated but less intensive than tees and greens, because of the dune environment this is necessary to keep vegetation alive on the fairways.
PVC pipes have been replaced by PE pipes to reduce bursting of the pipes what created huge water losses in the past. Also spraying heads are modernized to further optimize irrigation results with smaller water quantities.
Installed low flow toilets. Water recycling installation is planned in the new technical building for 'the Pines'.
No energy surveys have yet been undertaken at this golf facility. Practice areas and roads on the site have no lighting (opening hours only during daylight) so that no energy is needed for artificial lighting.
Electricity is obtained from the mains network, which is for 14,4 % coming from sustainable sources (rest is mainly nuclear in France). Heating is done by gasoil and natural gas. Most of the buildings have large windows, so that natural light is entering the building.
No photovoltaic or sun-boiler are installed. No plans to do so are currently considered.
Diesel is used for the heavier maintenance vehicles, smaller ones are electrical. The diesel is stored in a tank with a secondary containment.
Several hybrid mowers have been purchased and are used.
Energy saving lighting has been installed in most rooms. Remaining 'classic' lighting is replaced with an energy friendly when the bulb is broken.
Machines are maintained in optimal condition to reduce repair costs and save on energy consumption.
Insulation of the building in the Dune Golf club house. Refurbishment of the Dunes Club house takes into consideration energy savings, apart from the insulation of the building, also ovens and other appliances are replaced with more energy efficient ones, as is the case in the Pines. The new ovens and dishwashers in the Dunes are equipped with automatic start system so that these can be programmed at off-peak hours.
Technical staff has been made aware of the importance of energy saving measures. Automatic motion light switches have been installed in the locjker rooms and toilets. Nighttime lighthing regime has been inytroduced in the clubhouses.
As the golf is part of the Open Golf organization, they have the advantage of using preferred suppliers to reduce price, however they can use also local suppliers, which they favour the most. This helps to promote the golf club locally (everybody knows each other) as part of the local economy. So about half of their suppliers are located in the close environment (30-100km), and this policy is clearly illustrated in the clubs restaurant.
They are in favor of environmentally certified suppliers (ISO 14001) and short chain products from nearby producers/suppliers.
They buy mainly locally as this reduces stocks and is faster when they need support. The majority of food materials is coming from the broader area (<100 km). More specialized products need often to be purchased from the nearest dealer but these can be located in other departments.
The course uses strong and disease tolerant varieties as advised by their consultant. They add fertilizers and sometimes herbicides which they purchase from the nearby located supplier.
The green keeping prefers to try more mechanical treatment to improve the root zone of the turf as this proves very helpful to obtain more solid turf matt. This also helps to remove soil compaction and so is a better irrigation obtained and better aeration what results in deeper rooting and healthier turf.
Currently some of the equipment is used for both golf courses, so that good planning is required.
The dew concentrations are carefully followed and when felt necessary the turf is brushed, and in some extreme situations an anti-dew product is applied.
Diseases are closely monitored, and when problems are noticed, local corrective actions are taken.
The grass clippings are left on the fairway during mowing. The clippings from the greens and tees are sometimes stored and later used for mulching the neighboring olive trees.
They would like to compost all the clippings, but currently no adequate method or system has been determined for implementation (but currently it seemed only a vague idea they did not really explore). Currently most clippings that are collected are distributed in the undergrowth of the wooded areas. This practice should be stopped in conjunction with a composting plan, as it is a point-source pollution risk, bringing in nutrients to unwanted local areas and encouraging weeds and wrong species. However in general it is hard to notice any effects of this working method.
Wood, when not left on the place to rot, is chipped and distributed around the woody plants.
Waste streams in the clubhouses are collected separately.
Only limited quantities of pesticides are kept on the premises (special cupboard as required by law) as most products are supplied when needed, whereas the local supplier also advises about the best suitable products (see above).
Oil crates are not always placed on containments as required. But this will be improved when the new building is constructed. Currently price quotes for secondary containments are requested from possible suppliers.
Waste is collected by the municipal services and waste water is treated on site of municipality. Certain waste products are separated and are collected separately by the municipality.
Waste collection bins are present on the course. Currently also separate waste collection on the courses is studied.
No real data of the water quality of the groundwater is known yet (new well).
Waste water from the club facilities are connected to the public sewer system. The planned washing facility (2017) will have a water recycling system and will use rainwater.
Pesticides are used according the guidelines and only by certified persons only (green keeper and his helpers that have a license), there is only a limited risk for accidents.
Currently filling and rinsing is done in the open, but on a contained space. In the future this will be done on the new washing site facilities. Spill prevention materials are available in the storage room. Spill absorbing materials are also present in the mechanical room as well as at the diesel pump.
The new washing installation will have separate tanks to avoid that possible polluting materials (such as hydrocarbons from grease on the machines or fuel) will be discharged to the sewer.
The people using dangerous products are trained with regular updates, as is legally required for handling pesticides. Where possible environmental friendly alternatives are used. Some liquid products are stored on a containment containers.
They sell biodegradable tees that should be used on the golf courses.
The golf club tries to link with the local community to neighbourhood by opening the educative nature trail. Youngster can come to work and combine this with school apprentice).
Mowing schedules are adapted to not interfere to much with the neighbours.
Participate in the beauty contest (Miss Opal Country).
City Cup every 14th of July.
Participates in the local festival activities for kids during the holidays.
Restaurants are open to visitors.
Participating in the Mr Goodfish program (sustainable fisheries fish) in combination with the local fishing companies.
Free classes in the primary school about sustainable issues and in the future using ecological educational path of the local ecology (newly installed at the Dunes)
Staff (full time and seasonal) are regularly informed and trained to work safely and have attention for the environment (as is legally required in France).
A person was engaged in the decision and process to GEO certification, but, as with most processes in the golf, no formal structure is given to such a group (two persons). Depending on the theme external help is brought in.
In partnership with local cities free golf initiations are organized for city employees and/or inhabitants of those cities, depending on the agreement with the partnering city. From time to time people start a real golf course afterwards.
No specific studies on land use or cultural heritage have been performed.
Cooperation with O.N.F. to manage the forest (reforestation project) and restore a part of the golf as a natural dune to make free migration of some animals possible. Dunes are kept into its natural shape (no major transformations).
Part of the castle grounds have been seeded to create a natural space around the castle. (Historically the golf course started from the castle).
Internal communications are direct and informal (no memo's, written procedures...). There is a regular newsletter for the members and display with information for the visitors.
External communications usually take the form of press release and, articles in the local golf press.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Environmental Data
- External Surveys and Reports
- Register of Accidents
- Training Log
Hardelot Golf has the past years put a lot effort to comply with the voluntary GEO international standard, and with the planned environmental investments and continued attention they are a good example of how to combine using larger surfaces of for sport/recreation and dosing that in a sustainable way with respect of the local environment and offer extras to the local people.
In general there is a high environmental awareness, and the club is mainly oriented to the local community and economic activities (tourism), and as such is well integrated and cooperates in several local programs.
Although no real management plan exists, all relevant information has been brought together in an extensive file that contains a lot of information on which the application has been based.
With a little effort this could lead to an integrated environmentally oriented management plan, mainly specific data about biodiversity elements present on the golf are lacking today and as a result a conservation plan for some rare species present on the golf courses.
In general the club has taken a major step to implementing sustainable criteria in the day to day activities and should be considered as a sustainable golf club and although they can still improve on certain fields they should be granted GEO certified status.
Hardelot Golf Club started working according the voluntary industry standards that GEO introduced for a sustainably managed golf club. With its lean staff most communication is done informally internally.
Water supply will be changed to preserve the lake with its nature. The groundwater uses some of the deeper groundwater that flows to the sea, but without interfering with the sweet water table.
The golf created also a local nature path that can be used by local schools to offer the schools to bring the pupils in direct contact with the local nature in a unique dune environment. This is a nice illustration how nature development can be linked with a modern sporting environment with a lot of natural elements. But the major achievement for nature lies in the protection of rare species and to return some of its former golf area for natural development.
It has taken steps to reduce its energy and pesticides consumption and also took steps to increase the local nature by moving some playing grounds and giving old playing zones back to nature so that delicate ecosystems can be restored and freely develop.