Golfclub Holthuizen

GEO Certified® 04/2016
Telephone: 050-5015103

Executive summary (English & local language)

Golf course Holthuizen was established in 1985. The course consist of a 9 holes championships course and a 4 holes PAR 3 course and measures in total approx. 28 ha. The course is situated next to a an old estate dating back to the 14th century. Part of the old landscape on the course is now being restored, i.e. vegetation around old oaks is now being removed. The course was built on an impermeable heavy clay soil, resulting in a soggy top layer during heavy rainfall. As a consequence large areas of the course are covered with Poa annua. They now have a new management plan to counteract the negative effects of the heavy clay soil. The club has good overview of species present on the property. In 2015 over more than 200 plant species were recorded. Water- and energy use is relatively low compared to other Dutch courses of similar size. Pollution control and safety issues is high on their agenda, and the GEO-team consist of highly knowledgeable people with respect to these issues. In close cooperation with the contractor the club has clearly shown that they are ready for the future.


The course was built on a heavy clay soil resulting in a rather wet top layer during rainfall. As consequence large parts of the course consist of Poa annua and Lolium perenne. Even though these species (especially Poa) are generaly considered to be undesirable they may be the best possible option for the club. Still, the club and the contractor clearly indicated that they will search for alternative management options to reduce the amount of Poa. The club also wants to reduce the surface of the semi-rough, but also clearly indicated that due to the extremely high nutrient-rich soil a very dense semi-rough is present during the growing season and that balls are hard to find. Typical elements like old oak lanes are still present on the course, but unfortunately were not visible any more due to severe competition with other fast growing trees and shrubs. Now, part of the surrounding trees and shrubs have been cleared such that golfers can once more enjoy the old oaks. With a total surface area of only 10 ha non-managed grassland and forest, over more than 200 plant species were recorded in 2015. The club further wants to increase biodiversity coming years.


The club uses both groundwater and rainwater for irrigating their greens and tees. Fairways are not irrigated. Total annual consumption is very low for Dutch standars, i.e. only a few thousand cubic meters. Groundwater is firstly pumped into a retention pond. This automatically results in irrigation water with a higher temperature and thus decreases stress on irrigated grass areas. The club only analyses the quality of irrigation water and surface water visually. Coming years they also will analyse the chemical composition and they will improve their drainage system. Standard measures like low-flow urinals and toilets help to further reduce water consumption in the clubhouse.


The club is clearly very active on reducing energy consumption, both in the clubhouse and for the maintenance machinery. The club stimulates transport by bike, and charging stations for bikes and cars are now being considered. Surface area of the lockerroom will be increased further stimulating transport by bike and or bus. Standard measures like motion sensors and LED’s further help to reduce consumption. Installation of solar cells is being considered, but this will depend on the financial position of the club. Recently a modern boiler has been installed.

Supply Chain

The club is now already taking possible Dutch political decisions with respect to the use of chemicals on turf grasses into consideration. Together with the contractor they are searching for new management techniques that will further reduce pesticide and fertilizer use. One such (biological) strategy is the stimulation of the presence of starlings on their course via the installation nest boxes. Starlings are known to be very effective grub hunters. To minimize damage of vulnerable areas in the course handicarts are equipped with GPS. The last years fertilization rate of especially greens decreased significantly, and now they are testing the absolute minimum for their conditions in relation to grass species composition. Local products are obtained from a series of their sponsors. They will contract a new caterer in the nearby future, offering more possibilities to obtain products from local suppliers. Waste is separated according to local legislation.

Pollution Control

During my visit it became clear that Holthuizen has a very competent GEO-team, not only with respect to nature issues, but especially with respect to environment and pollution control. Both the club and contractor clearly showed their competence with respect reduction of environmental pollution. It is their intention to be fully prepared before the “green deal” comes into action (it could well be that pesticides will be forbidden in The Netherlands in the nearby future).


All personnel is properly instructed on safety issues, furthermore instructions for personnel and golfers in case of emergency is published on their website and on the scorecard. Maintenance activities are well communicated via the internal newsletter and the website. Each year the club organizes an interesting golfing day for primary schools in the neighbourhood (with over more than 600 children participating in 2015). Furthermore, the club has special arrangement for disabled people. A few of them, highly talented, are allowed to intensively practice on the course as they will participate in the Special Olympics. The members and greenfee players are requested understanding for their possible slightly slower play.

Documentation Reviewed


The club has shown knowledge of all GEO-themes. With respect to legislation and safety rules they belong to the frontrunners in the Netherlands. They are open minded with respect to new developments and they have shown to be ready for the future. I, Adrie van der Werf, therefore recommend golfclub Holthuizen to be awarded with the GEO-certficate

Certification Highlights

Welcome opportunities for disabled golfers to practice for competing in the Special Olympics

Annual golfing day for local primary school children with 600 present in 2015

More than 200 plant species recorded in 2015 within only 10 ha of non-managed grassland and woodland, proving the natural value inherent in golf courses

Nest boxes to encourage starlings on the course - one of nature's pest control methods