Hill Side Golf & Country Club

GEO Certified 07/2012 GEO Re-Certified 03/2017
Jokikunta,
Finland
Telephone: +358 20 7411 280
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Hillside is about to mature as a facility. The latest opening was in 2011, which resulted the course to the 2*18 holes size. Official regulation during the development set requirements for the buildings and the management of the golf course on a level, which is adequate even today.

Being built on former farming and forestry area with no special natural or heritage values means that the limitation for operation are directly involved with water, nutrient, pesticide and energy usage. Clubhouse, as well as the maintenance buildings have been planned according to the applicable standards.

Hillside course is faithful to its name, being constructed on typical Finnish smoothly rolling hill and farm field landscape.

The approach to environmental management of the course has been typically Finnish, doing more than stating.

Running the operations include efficient resource utilisation, conservation of water usage and water quality and the critical evaluation of materials used and purchasing decisions made. Sustainable development is part of everyday work.

Future plans show, that there is willingness to constantly, step by step, to improve operations.

Hill Side on rakennettu perinteisenlle maa- ja metsätalousalueelle. Kentän sisällä ei ole tunnistettu erityistä huolenpitoa tai tarkkailua vaativia luonto, maisema tai kulttuuriperintökohteita.

Uudehko teknologia yhdistettynä aktiiviseen ja tavoitehakuiseen kestävän kehityksen mukaiseen toimintaan varmistaa, että kentän toiminnoista ei aiheudu edes maatalouden harjoittamisen mittakaavaisia kuormituksia ympäristölle. Osana paikallista yhteisöä on mahdollista tuottaa myös yhdyskuntateknisiä palveluja ratkaisuilla, joihin muutoin ei haja-asutusalueilla olisi BATNEEC - ajattelun mukaisesti olisi mahdollisuutta.

Arjen toiminnoissa näkyy yhteinen sitoutuminen kestävän kehityksen ajatteluun.

Nature

The flora and fauna of the area is protected and taken in consideration better than tehy would be through the not original usage (farming and forestry) of the area. Planning has identified the typical features of the landscape and ecosystems and maintenance work keeps to good level of balance, taking steps to further improve the situation.

The ecosystem is also taken in consideration through using only slowly reacting and diluting nutrient sources.

There are no new surveys done at the site. Those have not been addressed in earlier audit and there is no apparent need for specific surveys at the time.

This doesn't mean though, that there wouldn't be monitoring. Actually a way of working, active and in some cases the leading solutions for monitoring, means that instead of having large 5 to 10 year periodic surveys, the site is monitored on an ongoing bases. From daily measures of the soil to yearly reviews of energy consumption brings surveying to the highest level.

The site has no special attention requiring habitats nor specially designated areas.

Turfgrass species are cultivated and chosen according to the environment. They look good and as the results of pesticide and nutrient usage combined with irrigation requirements, they are the right choice for the area

The proactive approach taken on the course is among the best in the business in Finland. The entire course is carefully evaluated on an ongoing base and actions are planned in order to conserve the nature. Erosion risks are predicted and actions taken accordingly.

Running a golf course in sustainable manner is a never ending work. Making the results visible becomes harder day after day, as the course reaches the highest level of operations. Continual improvement at Hill Side is done in small steps, and often proactive. The continual improvements actions taken at the course include proactive development of fairways, building ditches and reviewing earlier decisions and their outcomes. The management has reviewed energy solutions in respect with the latest knowledge and technology and updated the energy depletion plans.

Water

The water ecosystem at course is running smoothly. There are no signs of any problems of water quality or pollution. There has been implemented a new system for measuring (as a pilot in Finland) the soil moisture. This has already had an impact on irrigation levels (reducing the need for irrigation).

Like at any other course in Finland, irrigation water is not really an issue. Water usage is based on closed system with reservoir, which gets the needed refilling from river Vanjoki. There are no visible problems with the water (i.e. no excessive foaming etc.). Water quality monitoring has been frequent and consistent and the programme for monitoring has been developed by an independent specialist.

Consumption is on normal level, and is expected to be reduced with the implementation of only-to-need irrigation procedures.

Irrigation is based on the need, not on a schedule. This means, that the efficiency is on the highest possible level. The pumping systems are up to date.

As the site is fairly new, all the equipment and utensils are on low level of water usage. There are two paths to further reduce water consumption; the one with irrigation and the one with player awareness improvement. Irrigation is well on its way. Player awareness improvement is an ongoing process. The results will be hard to see, but the work is worth doing anyhow.

Continual improvement is implemented in the everyday work. Actions include irrigation mitigation and player awareness and hence behaviour improvement. This course is reaching the level, where future improvements are less visible and tangible. In the years to come, the main actions will be in ensuring that new players learn the sustainable culture.

Energy

Energy consumption has been monitored on an ongoing bases. Evaluations of sources and mitigative actions have been way of life for quite some time. Critical thinking and re-evaluation ensures that solutions are done on long term bases, not just following a certain hype. The site is effectively using energy sources, taken in consideration the options available.

Energy sources are utilized well. The opportunities for improvements and changes are limited, due to the site location. Consumption is on a level, from which improvements and mitigation opportunities are small. Never the less, the management is evaluating and discussing opportunities and optional solutions on yearly base.

The options for supply diversification are limited. The main option would be increasing solar energy. Due to the seasonality and huge differences in power generated from solar sources, the environmental and fiscal benefits of solar energy usage are fairly low.

Light bulb udgrading, airheating, reduction of inhouse temperature during of season, vehicle evaluation and mitigation of irrigation are all action taken for reducing energy consumption.

Future improvements include choosing equipment with lowest economically viable energy consuming power supply. The work on evaluating of opportunities for increasing sustainable energy sources must be carried on on yearly base.

Supply Chain

Supply chain is running according to sustainable management and taking in consideration the local situation. Opportunities for nearby purchases are limited, as the course is at some distance from a lot of suppliers. Purchasing is done taking in consideration the usage and focusing on keeping the stock on levels, which do not lead to increase of waste (ie. due to spoilage).

Policy is looking for holistic solutions. Environmental elements are taken in consideration and given preference accordingly. The policy well exceeds the local public standards and requirements.

As the sources for supplies are limited, the options for optimizing supply chain are also limited. Using the local suppliers, when possible, reduces the environmental load from the supply. As the planning is working well, orders can be, and are, placed well on time, which gives the suppliers opportunity to connect orders from different parties and hence improve the environmental balance sheet.

Turfgrass inputs are well planned and their impact exceptionally well monitored. This has lead to good supply management and optimal usage of materials. As the course is actively monitoring and also on the leading edge of developing more in depth understanding of impact of actions, the usage and hence purchasing of materials is also on very high quality level.

There are very few places, where I haven't been able to identify reasonable options for improvement on waste minimization, reuse and recycling. At Hill Side, taking in consideration the location and indirect impact of potential activities, there is not much room for improvements. Focus is to be maintained and the new employees (seasonal specially) are naturally to be taken on and in the culture, in order to maintain the high level of quality.

As the society evolves, new service providers and new solutions appear to the market. Maintaining openness and curiosity for new solutions is the key for finding new areas for improvements. Also using the "new eyes" of seasonal employees is to be used for identifying new opportunities. The basic level of operations is on such high level, that improvements are likely to appear as small ones. Never the less, they are to be shared with players, local community and also in the wider community of golf courses. Improvement opportunity lies in player attitude and collaboration. As the course is at distant location, building up service and solutions where players could collaborate and use joined transportation (sharing drives), is one area for further development

Pollution Control

The site runs all the operation according and exceeding the local standards. Logs are maintained properly and storage is done "by the book". Hill side is a place where to take students to see how things can and should be done.

Water quality is monitored according to the locally set guidelines. Results indicate no environmental problems, risks or harm.

Waste water disposal is running according to plan and taking in consideration the remote location. Treatment of waste water is under control and on good level.

All hazardous materials are handled properly and local storage is done so, that risks are mitigated. Volumes of hazardous materials are optimised so, that there is not too much on site and that the transportation of them is not causing excess environmental load.

Areas and materials causing risks for pollution are well under control and in proper storage facilities. Operations are lead and done in a manner, which ensures that pollution risks are mitigated. Personnel has been trained for accidents for pollution prevention / mitigation.

As the usage of all materials is optimised, the course is on very low level of pollution risk. Risks are in the machinery failure side. These have been taken care of by training the personnel and by maintaining the machinery in such manner, that it mitigates the risks.

Improving pollution control comes from identifying materials and solutions (ie. evaluation of machinery power source), which further reduce the pollution risks on accidents. Maintaining personnel awareness and training is the key for finding future solutions. Training and monitoring subcontractors is the next step for reducing risks further.

Community

The course is a living and supportive part of the local community. There is a good collaboration between the course and the community.

Employment opportunities are provided to local people. Specially as seasonal workers. This has lead to supportive climate in local community. It also spreads the knowledge of quality and environmental issues locally

Sustainability is not a thing aside of other things. It is included in all operations, meetings and planning. At Hill Side sustainability has reached the level, where it is integrated into the planning, leading and operations. Hill Side is not leading sustainability, it's lead with sustainability.

There is close and easy going discussion with the local community. As many of the local people are or have been working on the course, relationships are smooth.

Land usage is following the permits and not causing any risk or harm to local cultural heritage. Land usage and development is done in such manner, which further reduces risks and erosion.

Internal communications are good, open and proactive. Issues are dealt openly and shared with the community. The climate appears to be easy going, which tells about the trust and good leadership.

External communications are good. There could (as always) be more and specially there is room for sharing the good news from the course. One thing, that there is to be remembered, is that in the larger area, there are coming new people, who have not been reached by the earlier information. Hence repetition of also the old achievements would be beneficial.

Improving result and knowledge sharing outside of the local village is recommended (ie. getting the local newspaper to write an article). Sharing results with players (ie. making a environmental annual score board) could increase their knowledge and increase the value of the course

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

The course is on the leading edge on environmental management and proactive work. Actions taken prove that less can be more, mitigation of nutrients is actually good for the game and the turf. Hill Side is setting the bar for good golf course management very high.

Certification Highlights

The highlight of the certification was seeing how the soil and turf conditions are measured and conclusions for action drawn from that.