Executive summary (English & local language)
De Semslanden is situated in the northern part of the Netherlands, in the province of Drenthe. The golf club was founded in 1986. The club has an 18 holes golf course and a smaller 9-holes par-3 course. The golf course lies on border of the higher Hondsrug area and the valley of the Hunze river. The southern part of the course reflects the Hondsrug landscape. There are more trees and patches of heath. The northern part is open and wet, with flowery grasslands and ponds. On the south side the course is bordered by a main road and some shrubs. On the other sides there are agricultural lands and some houses.
The interview for the audit took place with the chairman of the Golfclub and the head Greenkeeper. For the management of the golf course De Semslanden cooperates with a neighbouring landscaping company (Hoveniersbedrijf Dijk BV). The greenkeeper of De Semslanden directs the employees of the landscaping company.
De Semslanden is a golf course with a variety of natural elements: 10 ha of forests, 6 ha of flowery grasslands, 2 ha of open water with several natural margins and some small patches of heathland. And there are over 500 solitary trees on the course. A global ecological survey has been conducted by NLadviseurs. The results show a range of species, some of them are rare and protected. A full ecological survey will be conducted in 2017 – 2019. For this survey the club intends to work with local volunteers as much as possible. There is a management plan for the trees and forests on the course. With this plan they point out the trees that they want to keep. They try to establish a large variety of trees that are also attractive for wildlife. The area of flowery grasslands and the patches of heather are being enlarged. For the heather patches they bring in heather clippings with seeds from another golf course in Drenthe.
For the irrigation of the greens and tees De Semslanden makes use of ground water. From 2019 onwards they plan to make use of the natural ponds on the course for irrigation. They are working on a new automation system for the irrigation, which will lead to more efficiency. The used grass species on greens and tees are able to grow with a minimal irrigation and they can survive periods of drought. At this moment there are flush stop buttons in the toilets of the clubhouse. The showers and toilets in the clubhouse are being renovated in 2018 and then they will look at measures to reduce the water use in the clubhouse.
The lights in the club house have been replaced by LED lights and that has led to a saving in energy use of 20%, according to the chairman. In the toilets and showers there are motion detectors. In 2016 and 2017 they purchased new, energy efficient central heating boilers. The ventilation system of the clubhouse has recently been renewed, in favor of the energy use. De Semslanden is researching the option for solar panels on the work shed. By doing that, the work shed, the driving range and the irrigation system can become energy neutral. The board is hoping to make a decision about this plan in 2018.
Most waste streams on the golf course are separated, or reused. The grass clippings are collected and used on agricultural lands as fertilizer. Plastics however, are not recycled yet. The restaurant in the clubhouse is responsible for its own purchase policy. The products that are being used are not local or explicitly sustainable. The golf club has spoken to the restaurant about the purchase policy, but there are no agreements yet on sustainable or local product.
Golf course management is done by the landscaping company. The machines are financed en owned by the landscaping company. But the golf club does have something to say about the type of machines that are being used. The landscaping company and the golf club purchase new machines in consultation with each other.
The storage of hazardous materials and maintenance of the machinery is a responsibility of the landscaping company. This takes place at the yard of the landscaping company, about 300 meters away from the golf course. This company is certified for the construction and management of golf courses. The greenkeeper does not want to use any chemicals on the course and the landscaping company agrees on this approach. Since 2016, no chemicals have been used on the course (except for 1 kg of fungicide in 2016). In recent years the use of fertilizers has also gone down. The greenkeeper tries to use organic fertilizers as much as possible. He is experimenting with a fertilizer based on compost, with some extra minerals added. The board of the golf club gives him the opportunity for these experiments. There are two different water systems on the course. The ponds are isolated from the ditches in the surroundings of the golf course. And there is a separate ditch running through the golf course, which is connected to the water system of the surrounding agricultural lands. Chemical surface water analyses from the beginning and the end of this ditch give information about the quality of the water that enters and leaves the golf course.
De Semslanden is working together with the Hamerlanden association. This local association brings the cultural-historical values and the biodiversity of the landscape to the attention. The Hamerlanden will open a new walking route in 2018 that also crosses the golf course. Local schools can come to the golf course for golf workshops. And De Semslanden offers internships for students from schools in the area, also students with learning disabilities.
For the full ecological survey they want to cooperate with local volunteers, such as IVN groups. These groups could also be interested in excursions.
Golf course De Semslanden is situated in an interesting part of Drenthe, on the border of two types of landscape. The course reflects these two landscape types and there is a large variety of natural elements. All this offers good opportunities for different types of wildlife. The golf club is very active in reducing the use of chemicals and is experimenting with organic fertilizers. The head greenkeeper and chairman of the board are very much involved in sustainability. I recommend that golf club De Semslanden can be awarded for their GEO certificate.
• Diversity of landscape types and of plants and animals (based on global survey)
• Low input of chemicals (no chemicals policy)
• The experiments of the greenkeeper with special compost based fertilizer
• Possibility of internships for students from neighboring schools, including students with learning disabilities.