Executive summary (English & local language)
The club has noticed that for the last years a trend at golf clubs in Sweden, moving towards a necessitation of having a much more managed and “better” golf courses and clubhouses. This means especially that players, both members and greenfee guests, wants to have greener golf courses. The trend may complicate the sustainability work for Nacka GK, and of course other golf clubs as well, in some ways as the club for many years has been one of the forerunners in this field, really focusing on combining a sustainable managed golf course with the ability of attract members and guests. One of the main ways of conduct sustainable management is to let the fairways get dry and brownish during dry periods. However, if players start to reject courses acting like that the club could be in serious trouble. This is especially complex for Nacka GK as the part of the course that houses in the municipality of Nacka is a nature reserve, which leaves the club with very strict rules of how to manage that part of the course. Anyway, despite this, the club continues its sustainable work in an unforced and committed way. The new ecological survey being the base for the plan of re-shaping the course is a perfect sign of this. To let the nature statue the framework of the future re-shaped course is the way to go. Coming to this, the club has no intentions of turning off from the thinking of manage the course, as much as it goes, on the terms of nature and the environment. This thinking is in many ways driven by the committed course manager but of course the rest of the sustainability group together with the board and club manager is on the train of sustainability. Putting efforts in marketing itself as a genuinely sustainable and “green” golf club will in my opinion create a positive result not only for the club, but also for the rest of the golf community on the road to sustainability.
Nacka GK is situated in two municipalities, Nacka and Värmdö and in one of metropolitan Stockholm’s ten valuable green wedges. The area in Nacka is a nature reserve, which leaves the club with very strict rules of how to manage that part of the course. The entire area is part of the archipelago of Stockholm which has risen from the sea for the last 12,000 years due to the latest ice age and has a very exciting history with human inhabitants for more than 4,000 years. The course is hilly with small grassy valleys and this makes the course sometimes very narrow and challenging and at the same time very beautiful with different kinds of biotopes with several rare and endangered species.
A number of surveys have been conducted over the years. A survey conducted in 2016 shows the overall nature on the course. One of the aims of the survey is to function as a base for possible coming new-shaping of the course. The club has serious plans of re-shaping some holes that today are “problem holes”.
One of the surveys, made in 2014, focus on seven of the ten ponds on the course. The survey reveals that the Northern Crested Newt was found in five of the ponds. This newt is a receipt for the high water quality. The survey also revealed that some of the ponds show signs of eutrophication. So, from then on the club manage the ponds to have one side for golf and one side for nature. That is, some sort of management plan for the ponds has been done.
The club is responsible for the management of part of the nature reserve that is within the area of the club. The dominating habitat is woodland, around 85-90% of the nature areas, which gives a clear hint of the character of the course.
The turfgrasses being used, Agrostis stolofinera on the greens and Poa pratensis together with a smaller amount of Festuca rubra on tees, fairways and semi rough, are suitable for soil and climate and has a good healing ability and wintering capacity. Poa annua is continuously coming in to the greens and seeding more Agrostis stolofinera battles this. But, Poa makes it extremely to as fast as you can see signs of fungus in order to put as little fungicide on as you can. The club is continuing to battle the Poa.
A large weeding of trees was made 2012-2013 in order to enhance the habitat for oaks and other broad-leaved deciduous trees. This is now a measure done continuously. The beehives set up in collaboration with the Beekeepers Association is a great success and the honey from the beehives is sold in the clubhouse. During 2015 the club built one more beehive made in the most environmental friendly way. The amount of pollinating bees is going down not only in Sweden, but also in many parts of the world and the ecosystem service of pollination is very, very important for our food supply.
The sources of water are of three kinds: own ponds and wells and from nearby lakes, lake Insjön and lake Koviksträsk. The ponds, with help from the lakes, provide water for the course and the wells provides water for the facilities.
Water meters are placed at seven spots, two new since 2011, on the course and in the clubhouse, which gives clear data for the amount of water used from the different sources. The meters show water consumption slightly below a roughly estimated average in the Stockholm region.
Due to a lightning strike one of the irrigation systems was destroyed and the insurance money covered a new one connected to the newer one, creating a much more effective irrigation system. The strategy of irrigation is to do it when it’s absolutely needed and therefore a daily visual inspection of the course is being carried out. The irrigation is not pre-programmed but instead the irrigation for the next day is decided by the greenkeeper the evening before. But, still there is a problem that some irrigation sprinkler heads sometimes refuse to go back down in the ground when ordered and therefore continue irrigating even when not needed. This has to be fixed by the staff continuously.
New filters for the drinking water makes members and guests use less water because of cleaner water direct instead of waiting 10-20 seconds. The water machine in the clubhouse was removed, which gives reduced water and energy consumption.
A simple assessment of energy consumption has been conducted and initiatives in order to reduce the consumption have been carried out, such as the course staff using walkie-talkies in order to minimize transports during maintenance, which has proved to be very effective and energy saving.
Since three years back the club has reduced its use of grid electric to well below 200,000 kw/h. This is probably due to ground source heat pump and the solar cells.
The change to renewable grid electricity has been done and is a great step forward toward a more sustainable management of the club. Ground source heat pump and solar cells, installed in the summer of 2014, works very well and now produces around cell 5,700 kw/h a year. This gives a decrease of the grid electricity used. The meter for the solar cells is visible for the members and guests, which increases the interest for them.
The club has started a discussion with one of the municipalities with the aim of constructing a safe pavement from the bus station to the club. Now the municipality has started projecting this and hopefully a safe pavement will be in place in some years. The club used to buy water in bottles but now they are coordinating the staff’s water supply with the clubhouse.
The economy is better and new investments are planned but for some years the club had financial problems, a fact that forced the club to reduce its costs and in some areas also inhibit new investments. The positive side of this was that the club by economic reasons was forced to be creative without slowing down its sustainability work.
The purchasing policy is used in the daily management. Of course this is done when the club is considering new maintenance machines. An example is when the club should buy new washing machines and dryer. The club was offered machines with high-energy consumption but refused and bought more energy effective ones.
The club has made an investigation about the club’s supplier’s environmental work.
The club, together with many other clubs in Sweden, has for the last years had an increased problem with green moss and is testing different ways how to handle this. One of the strategies is using amino-based fertilizers on some greens and fertilizers containing more iron. The iron fertilizers went well with the green moss but the fungus became a larger problem. The amino-based fertilizers took care of the fungus but had no effect on the green moss. The greenkeeper has increased his efforts to make good fertilizer strategies and at the same time reducing the fungus and other pests on greens. For example the club still, by hand, removes the silvergreen bryum moss (Bryum argenteum) and green moss from greens attacked by these.
The aim is to make good greens for putting and at the same time make it in a sustainable way. To some part due to the agreements with the municipalities and the fact that a large part of the course is within a nature reserve, the only sort of pesticide being used is fungicide for the greens, and this only when absolutely needed.
The fact that the club sort 20 fractions of waste is a strong evidence of its sustainable thinking and acting. Regarding the plastic, the club has a recycling facility five hundred yards from the golf club and the staff handles much of the waste management. The club has reasoned that this saves transport for the community and money for the golf club. The recycling plant produces district heating for a factory nearby. This is why plastics are incinerated for the moment.
The Swedish Greenkeepers Association (SGA) awarded the club the prize Sustainability Club of the Year in 2012. The laws for pollution control are fairly strong in Sweden. In order to have the license to run a golf course in Sweden you have to fulfil all the regulations. And, the club is acting according to those regulations and, when those exist, directions from national and local authorities. The club has a very good collaboration with the both municipalities and an annual report of the environmental impacts and use of fungicides, fertilizers etc is yearly being provided to the municipality of Nacka.
The club is implementing analysis three times a year of the water entering and leaving the course on seven locations. The level of phosphorus has been fluctuating a little bit but the level of nitrogen is constant. Notable is that the water on the course keeps the same high standard as the lakes in the municipalities.
The wastewater from the outdoor wash pad goes to a small ditch. But, the municipality has said OK to this. The club can only use water for cleaning the machines from grass and no detergents at all, and the water runs from the ditch to one of their ponds and is later used for irrigation. Due to better economy the club now is on its way for a more proper cleaning of the water from the wash pad.
The regulations in Sweden for handling hazardous materials are quite rigorous so the club has to do it very well in order not to breaking the law. The handling of hazardous materials is done in a more than proper way.
Due to better economy, the club is planning to fix some direct cleaning of the water from the outdoor wash pad. With help of the prize money for the Sustainability Club of the Year the club bought a spill container for the liquid fertilizers. The maintenance facility has a closed tank for the wastewater.
The fungicide sprayer regulates the pressure according to the speed of the vehicle. It also has sensors according to the ground and is much safer to fill with no spill. This is good according to the new directions from EU. During 2017 this sprayer has to be inspected in order to fulfill the regulations.
The club has a very good relation to the surrounding community. The area of Nacka GK is well visited for recreational purposes all year round. During snowy winters it is very popular with cross skiing on and around the course and the facility has a very good collaboration with the local cross-skiing club. As the area contains a lot of mushrooms and berries this is also a reason for non-golfers to visit the domains of the facility. Apart from this Nacka GK has a very well implemented collaboration with all kinds of different interest groups, such as ornithologists and local history societies.
The staff has a thorough education in the things concerning the management of a golf course in a sustainable way, such as minimizing irrigation and turf grass input and also how to reduce energy consumption. Adding to that the staff also has education in forest management, a need because of the responsibility the club has to manage the nature reserve.
The sustainability group is comprised of a few but very dedicated members and staff with the course manager playing one of the major roles.
The club annually report the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used to the Nacka municipality and also to the County Administrative Board about the water taken from the lake Insjön. The collaboration with Karparna, an NGO supporting the biodiversity in a nearby lake, is still going very well. The process of the collaboration is that the club let Karparna arrange a golf competition at the club to a reduced cost. The revenues from the competition go straight to Karparna. In return the club gets publicity at the arrangements by Karparna by the lake, for example a hole in one competition in the lake. The club donate the prices, for example greenfee cheques, in that competition.
The club has made serious plans for a multifunctional centre but Värmdö municipality has so far not been on the same page. The two re-shaped holes are a part of this plan and are situated in Nacka municipality.
The club has for a couple of years worked with getting the historical hiking trail in place. The municipality is on the project and pays for most of the information signs on the trail. In order to make the signs the club for the last years has intensified its collaboration with Boo hembygdsförening. The trail is almost done but the signs are still not in place, but will be soon. The problem has been the cooperation with one of the landowners, a large constructing company.
Several historic buildings are still remaining in the area and the club is responsible for the management of these and the fruit gardens connected to them. The club very well documents the history of these buildings and areas.
The new website has improved the visibility of the sustainability work with the GEO certified sign on top of the opening page. The sustainability work has its own tag when looking through the section about the club itself, which clearly shows how important the club think this work is.
Several articles about the club’s sustainability work have been published in the local newspapers and the course manager has made several presentations about this work at conferences and at other clubs.
Being a frontrunner for sustainability work on golf clubs, Nacka GK had for some years some rough times concerning the financial situation. The economy is now is now in a much more brighter mood, but, the rough times in some ways forced the club was forced to be creative without slowing down its sustainability work. Being sustainable means, in a very literally way, keep up and stay alive and it’s my opinion that a golf club that doesn’t act sustainable will have lower changes in surviving in the future. The club proves this in many ways. The survey conducted in 2016, which shows the overall nature on the course is a great marker of this, especially as one of the aims of the survey is to act as a base for possible coming new-shaping of the course. A part of that plan is to re-shape some holes that today are “problem holes”. Another marker is the solar panels on the clubhouse, a long-term investment one of the main reasons the use of grid electric has reduced to well below 200,000 kw/h.
Nacka GK is thinking ahead when it comes to managing the club and the course and is continuously trying to think out of the box. Not at least when it comes to external collaboration with the surrounding community. I believed and still believe that Nacka GK will go a bright future ahead with its sustainability work, not at least by promoting itself as a sustainable golf club, with all that it includes.
The solar panels put up during summer of 2014 is one of the main reasons the use of grid electric to well below 200,000 kw/h.
The new irrigation system has created a much more effective way of irrigate the course.
It’s good to see how the club, in an almost scientific way, is trying to solve the problems with green moss on the greens.