Executive summary (English & local language)
Golf club Emmeloord Club is run almost entirely by volunteers, thereby reducing annual exploitation costs considerably. This also resulted in a relatively low annual contribution for the members. The course is built on a former landfill and the architect succeeded in creating a dune-like landscape with some breathtaking holes. Now, almost one decade after its opening several rare plant and animal species are encountered. The GEO-team showed ambition and it is my true believe that they will further increase their sustainability management. They also indicated and showed that there is still improvement for nature development on their course.
An inland links golf course on a former landfill. Is it possible? Yes it is. Settled in a typical flat Dutch agricultural landscape, the golf course architect managed to turn the former landfill into a dune-like landscape with some breathtaking holes. As one would expect, this course does not blend into the surroundings, but neither did the former landfill. The landscape now consists of mainly grassland and shrubs like gorse. The 9 hole PAR 74 course opened in 2009 and now after 7 years many plant species (>170) thrive well on this 48 ha large course. During the growing season rare and protected species, like e.g. Epipactis helleborine, are marked with sticks and members are informed on the rarity of these species. The fairways were seeded with the typical links grass species. However, as the landfill was covered with a very fine clay soil, fairways can be extremely wet at certain places. Not surprisingly the fescues do not thrive well there, so the club is now experimenting with other grass species at these places. Nest boxes for little owls and kestrels have been installed, and it is the club’s intention to install a large amount of nestboxes for starlings in the hope that the starlings may help to reduce to Tipula pests on their greens.
The golf club analyses its water consumption for clubhouse and golf course separately. Fairways are irrigated weekly, whereas the greens are irrigated daily during the growing season. For the irrigation surface water is being used. Irrigation management is based on weather forecast and soil water content of the top 6 cm. The head greenkeeper managed to reduce the irrigation rate by using the appropriate wetting agents from 2014 onwards. Quality of surface water is analysed visually and on the basis of pH and concentration of several elements. They intend to analyze their surface water for macro-nutrients in the nearby future.
Recently a first informal energy audit has been conducted with special attention on renewable sources (solar cells) and on a reduction of energy consumption in the clubhouse and by the maintenance fleet. Energy (electricity) use in their small clubhouse is relatively low compared to that of other clubhouses in the Netherlands. Still it is their intention to reduce energy use as much as possible. Energy efficient lightning is now gradually being installed.
Waste is separated as much as possible. The club will now also separate plastics from other waste. Course maintenance is based on an integrated turf management program developed by the contractor. The last few years fertilization rate has been reduced systematically. Still the annual application of especially N and P on the greens seems slightly high for Fescue greens. Pesticide use is rather low and are only used when absolutely necessary. They now also try to biologically control Tipula outbreaks through the introduction of starlings in and near the course.
The club complies with all the legal requirements, except for a oil/grease separator. During my visit they clearly indicated that it will installed by 2016 and also showed tenders and cutlery drawings. The small amount of pesticides are stored properly and sufficient absorption material is present in case of leakages. When necessary pesticides are only used on playing surfaces and such that run-off to surface waters is avoided.
The club is almost entirely run by volunteers which is exceptional in The Netherlands. This has resulted in relatively low annual exploitation costs and low annual contribution for the members. Together with local nature organizations the club organizes hikings in and around the course for those who are interested. In 2016 they will appoint an internal communication expert with the aim to improve both internal and external communications.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
The club clearly demonstrated their GEO-intention and also showed that they are willing to progress with their sustainable management in the future. I, Adrie van der Werf, recommend golf course be awarded for the GEO certificate.
- the former landfill has been turned into a nice golf course with some spectacular holes which require strategic play
- the club is run almost entirely by volunteers, which is quite rare for the Netherlands