Royal Birkdale Golf Club

GEO Certified® 06/2015
England, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01704 552020

The Royal Birkdale Golf Club is not only a highly prestigious golf course, on the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Open Championship rota. But also a very strong and fully functional nature reserve with especially significant conservation value. Indeed, 80% of the golf course is set aside for nature that sits within a wider parcel of land, classified by Natural England as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Club evidently recognises its important role and responsibility in ecological stewardship and clearly demonstrates exem…

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GEO Certified® Report

GEO Certified® is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide – designating that a golf facility has met a credible standard in the areas of nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control, and community, and is committed to continually improve. GEO Certified® is widely trusted and endorsed by a growing number of organizations and people, both inside and outside golf.

Click below to read about the activities undertaken by this golf facility to operate sustainably.

Facility details

Golf Courses
Royal Birkdale (18 holes, 7173 yards, year opened 1889)
1 Pro Shop
1 Practice Facility/Facilities
1 Halfway House(s)
1 Other
1 Clubhouse(s)
4 Maintenance Facility/Facilities
1 Other


Royal Birkdale is a traditional links championship course located at Southport on the Northwest coast of England. It is an area of approximately 96 Hectares forming part of the Sefton Coast Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest. On its Western and Southern boundaries it adjoins the Ainsdale and Birkdale Local Nature Reserve. The whole area is important for a number of habitats including fixed dunes and wet dune slacks. These habitats support many rare animals and plants including Sand Lizards, Natterjack Toads, Marsh Helleborine, Southern and Northern Marsh Orchid. Other habitats include mixed woodland/scrub and areas of open water comprising 5 ponds and 1500 metres of ditches.

Consultation & Surveys

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding landscape heritage conservation:

  • Sefton Council
  • Natural England
  • STRI

No landscape assessments or surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding ecosystem protection and enhancement:

  • sefton council coast & countryside dept.
  • natural england
  • STRI

The following ecological surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Royal Birkdale GC - Bryophyte Monitoring M.E.Newton 2010/01/01
Royal Birkdale GC - Dune Slack Monitoring TEP 2009/01/01
Royal Birkdale GC - Vascular Plant Monitoring PG Vegetation Surveys 2010/01/01
Royal Birkdale GC - Wildlife Update P.J.Rooney 1998/07/01
Annual Ecological Monitoring Assessment on behalf of the R&A Bob Taylor (STRI) 2014/06/20
Annual Ecological Monitoring Assessment on behalf of the R&A Bob Taylor (STRI) 2013/05/13
Annual Ecological Monitoring Assessment on behalf of the R&A Bob Taylor (STRI) 2012/08/28
Annual Ecological Monitoring Assessment on behalf of the R&A Bob Taylor (STRI) 2011/08/01

Rare, protected and notable species occurring at this golf facility:

Local name Scientific name
sand lizard lacerta agilis
natterjack toad bufo calamita
dune helleborine epipactis leptochila

This golf facility does not monitor any species as indicators of environmental quality.

Habitats & Designations

This golf facility features the following landscape designations:

Description Designating Authority
Site of Special Scientific Interest Natural England
Special Area of Conservation Natural England

Area of habitats / vegetation types, and associated designations at this golf facility:

Title Estimated Area (Hectares) Designation
fixed dunes 25 hectares Self Appointed
Rough 'ecological' grassland 20 hectares Self Appointed
Scrub Vegetation 3 hectares Self Appointed
Open Water Features 4000 sq.m. Self Appointed
Non Native Plantation Woodland 3 hectares Self Appointed


Size and estimated species composition of amenity turfgrass maintained at this golf facility.

Estimated Area (Hectares) Turfgrass Species Sward Composition (%)
Greens 1.2 Hectares Festuca rubra 40%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 40%
Tees 1.3 Hectares Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 50%
Festuca rubra 25%
Fairways 8.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 70%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 20%
Semi Rough 8.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 50%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 20%

These turfgrasses are optimal for the circumstances at this club because:
These turfgrasses promote true links playing conditions for golf and thrive under a regime of minimal inputs of fertilisers, chemicals and water.

This golf facility assesses mowing patterns every: 1 years

This golf facility consults the following individuals / organizations regarding its grassing plan:

  • Martin Hawtree - professional golf architect
  • STRI

This golf facility is making the following efforts to manage the playing quality expectations of customers:

Activity Description
Establishing clear internal policies for irrigation, fertilization, colour, cutting heights, overseeding etc Policies are determined by need to favour true links turf. Minimal irrigation and fertilization, light and frequent sand dressings, sensible mowing heights and yearly overseeding with Fescue.

Promoting the playing quality values of more naturalized turf, particularly fairways and semi-rough The aim at Royal Birkdale is to maintain high quality playing conditions all year round. This fits very well with the characteristics of natural Fescue/Bent turf which thrives on minimal inputs of water and fertilisers. Fairways and semi-rough receive only sufficient inputs to aid recovery.
Promoting the financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces The financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces are actively promoted through good communication with members and visitors to the Club. It is also promoted to visiting students during course walks.
Improving customer understanding around greens maintenance A regular members bulletin is provided to keep them up to date with all aspects of course maintenance.
Demonstrating the direct relationship between environmental best practice and year round high quality playing surfaces Minimal inputs of fertiliser and water are encouraging a healthy turf which in turn provides good quality playing surfaces all year round. Performance is monitored through regular STRI agronomy visits where objective measurements are taken.

Conservation & Enhancement

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve landscape character:

Activity Description
Allowing seasonal variation of course coloration and texture Seasonal variation in colour and texture of both the main playing areas and the surrounding roughs is a welcome part of the natural links experience for both members and visitors.
Appropriately matching mowing lines to contours Mowing lines generally follow existing contours. This helps present a more natural looking course.
Discreet on-course signage and furniture Course signage is only used where necessary. All course benches are made of timber.
Conservation of specimen trees No specimen trees
Screening and softening unsightly man-made features Trees are primarily confined to the course perimeter to provide screening from adjoining properties.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the landscape ecology of the golf course:

Activity Description
Minimizing the amount of amenity grass only greens, tees, fairways, semi-roughs and immediate surrounds are regularly maintained, other areas are managed as typical fixed duneland habitats in line with S.S.S.I.
Increasing the size of habitat patches Regular scrub management has allowed habitat patches ( wet slacks etc) to be increased.
Connection of internal habitat patches Internal habitat patches are well connected to each other via the large areas of managed roughs surrounding each hole.
Connection of patches with external habitats Co ordinated scrub management by Royal Birkdale and the neighbouring authority has provided good cross boundary connection of habitats.
Creation of habitat corridors Habitat corridors are present through rough areas surrounding each hole.
Avoidance of habitat fragmentation A programme of annual scrub management ensures that habitat fragmentation is avoided. The Club consult an STRI Ecologist to advise on habitat management.
Improving and diversifying habitat edges Sections of gorse are selected and managed to help provide age diversification.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the quality of habitats on the golf course:

Activity Description
Creation of botanically rich rough grassland Annual Autumn mowing of wet slacks is promoting the establishment of rare plants, including Marsh Orchids and Helleborines.
Ecologically informed management of scrub vegetation Advice is sought from the ecology department of STRI when planning future scrub vegetation management.
Promoting species and structurally diverse woodlands Royal Birkdale is part of the Sefton Woodland Owners Forest Plan, and receives guidance to ensure the areas of woodland are diverse and well managed.
Establishment of littoral shelves and marginal vegetation in wetland areas The ponds have been excavated with shallow edges to provide suitable areas for tadpoles of natterjack toad and common toads to develop. Marginal vegetation has been transplanted to pond edges .
Maintenance of an appropriate balance of open water and aquatic vegetation Ponds are maintained yearly to provide a mix of open water, young vegetation, and mature vegetation.
Naturalization of linear habitats Linear habitats are curved to promote diversity and give a more natural appearance.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity on the golf course:

Activity Description
Provision of nesting and nectar for pollinators The diverse habitats provide many nesting sites and a varied source of nectar for pollinators. All out of play areas are left to grow naturally, with no pesticides or mowing.
Installation of nest boxes An owl box has been installed in the soil store. Barn Owls have successfully bred in this box for the past two years.
Control / management of alien species Sea Buckthorn and other invasive non native species are controlled to prevent loss of natural habitat.
Creation of micro-habitats (eg log and stone piles) log piles have been placed in many of the woodland areas to establish micro habitats for insects and mammals.


Water use at Royal Birkdale Golf Club comes from two sources, public/potable water used for the clubhouse and maintenance facility, and groundwater used for irrigation. The groundwater is abstracted from a set of wellpoints located as far as possible from the most sensitive habitats on the course. Excess groundwater drains from the course via a series of ditches to wet slacks on the local nature reserve, these are home to breeding colonies of Natterjack Toads. Rainfall levels are typically high in this area of the country and average rainfall is 840mm per year. The Club have made notable improvement to the course drainage system over recent years - particularly at the point where water exits from the course onto the adjacent sand dune system. This is regularly monitored to ensure that the system is working effectively and any necessary works are carried out when required. A series of piezometers are also located around the course to monitor the water table. Irrigation input to the course is kept to a minimum and is informed through use of a soil moisture probe. The aim is to manage moisture inputs to help encourage the indigenous links grasses on the playing surfaces. The irrigation system is to undergo large improvements over the next 2-3 years through the installation of directional sprinklers to help improve the accuracy of water application and minimise water wastage.

Sources & Consumption

No water audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

The water used at this golf facility is drawn from the following sources:

2014 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 1,917,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 98% 11,431,000 Litres
Public / Potable 1%
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 1,816,000 Litres
2013 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,548,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 100% 14,566,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 1,038,000 Litres
2012 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,501,000 Litres
Golf Course Groundwater 100% 4,531,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 769,000 Litres

Irrigation & Efficiency

The following areas receive irrigation at this golf facility:

Greens 2-3 days per week
Tees 2-3 days per week
Fairways Weekly
Semi-Rough Never
Rough Never

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:
Fully computer controlled

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:

Serviced every 1 years

Upgraded every 1 years

Re-calibrated and checked for efficient application every 1 years

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to maximize irrigation efficiency:

Activity Description
Selection of grass species Overseeding takes place on a yearly basis to help introduce drought tolerant grass species (fescues).
Soil decompaction and thatch management Regular aeration of tees ,greens, fairways takes place through Spring, Autumn, and Winter, along with some localised aeration to targeted areas in Summer.
Verticutting and regular topdressing takes places to remove and dilute thatch. Organic matter levels are assessed through laboratory analysis on a yearly basis to monitor organic matter levels and determine the level of management required.
Timing and dose of water application Automatic irrigation is only used overnight to help minimise water loss through evaporation. Supplementary handwatering is applied to target drier areas.
Analysis of soil moisture A soil moisture meter is used to measure soil moisture levels and determine water inputs to the course. Water application is managed to help promote the finer fescue species and discourage less-desirable grasses.
Incorporation of evapotranspiration rates and weather data The Irrigation system can be accessed from any location using remote computer software. This allows last minute alterations to watering programs after checking up to date weather information.
Use of wetting agents A wetting agent programme is in place for the greens, tees and fairways to help maximise water penetration and soil moisture distribution.
Overall reduction in irrigated area The irrigation system is currently under review. Plans are to potentially replace fairway sprinklers and pipework; which would include repositioning of sprinklers to confine coverage to fairways only.
Targeting of sprinkler heads Sprinkler heads are checked regularly to ensure accurate and even water application.
Optimizing system pressure System working pressure is controlled automatically to ensure that sprinklers are working to their maximum efficiency.
Adoption of cutting edge nozzle technology Nozzles are checked regularly to assess efficiency and are changed if not working to the required standards.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve / reduce / minimize water consumption:

Activity Description
Low-flow urinals and toilets Toilets in the Ladies Locker Room and both the toilets and urinals in the Gentlemen's Locker Room have been refurbished in the last six years and replaced with low flow units.

We will look at replacing the urinals and toilets in staff rooms and elsewhere in the Clubhouse in due course.
Use of efficient shower technology Showers in the Ladies Locker Room have been refurbished in the last year and replaced with modern efficient units. We will look at replacing the showers in the gentlemen's locker room and the staff rooms in due course.
Repairing leaks On-course leakage is monitored via a pump control panel to allow fast repair using large stock of spares kept on site. Isolation valves allow sections of pipe to be turned off to minimise water loss. The clubhouse supply was replaced six years ago to eliminate any leaks in the old system. Usage is monitored and compared monthly to detect any abnormal usage which may identify potential leaks.

All leaking appliances are repaired immediately.
Water awareness signage There is no water awareness signage currently on display but this will be considered for the future.


The Clubhouse and Course Maintenance facilities are powered by national grid electricity. The Clubhouse has a gas fired hot water and central heating system. The Clubhouse was originally built in the 1930's but has been developed over the years. The three most recent developments, in 1996/97, 2006/07 and 2013 effectively have refurbished the whole Clubhouse and where possible insulation to walls floors and ceilings have been enhanced. The Club enlist the services of an energy consultant who provides 4 yearly reviews of the Club's energy usage as well as on-going advice. Renewable energy sources are not currently used at the Club however have been investigated and are certainly a consideration for the future - in particular the use of solar panels. At present the Club are in the process of changing all their internal lighting to LED bulbs in a bid to reduce energy consumption.

The Course Maintenance building uses an oil fired central heating system. The facility was built in 2000 with insulation to floors, walls and ceilings.

Sources & Consumption

The following energy surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Royal Birkdale GC - Energy Strategy Overview Report Stuart Potter - Synergen 2009/01/01

This golf facility does not consume any renewable energy or resources.

Consumption of non-renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2014 2013 2012
Diesel (Litres) 10304 10260 11091
Heating Oil (Litres) 2000 2000 2100
Hydraulic Oil (Litres) 200 200 200
Natural Gas (Litres) 374924 378406 365547
Non-renewable Grid (kWh) 356475 361594 341385
Petrol (Litres) 800 1080 920

Energy Efficiency

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to diversify energy and fuel supply:

Activity Description
Installation of photovoltaic and / or solar panels At present there are no solar panels in place however the Club have investigated their potential installation on the clubhouse roof in the future. The Club will be guided by the advice of their energy consultant on this.
Use of geothermal and / or ground sources Alternative renewable energy sources have been investigated during energy assessments at the Club and are a consideration for the future. Their use/installation will be guided by their energy consultant moving forward.
Use of electric hybrid vehicles All small utility vehicles and golf carts used on the course are battery powered.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to reduce energy consumption:

Activity Description
Investment in low-energy heating and air conditioning systems The heating of the Clubhouse is an area where the Club are looking to improve moving forward. Upgrades to areas of the Clubhouse have taken place during renovation works over recent years. Both air conditioning and heating systems are regularly serviced and upgraded as necessary to ensure efficient usage.
Optimizing thermostat levels for heating and refrigeration The heating system in the Clubhouse is on a timer to help reduce energy wastage. The thermostats in the course maintenance buildings are regularly monitored and are set low in rooms that are not in regular use.
Enhancement of natural ventilation opportunities Natural ventilation is enhanced and utilised where possible. The clubhouse has a large amount of windows, sky lights and vents and many of these are often open through the daytime in summer to help enhance ventilation. The patio doors at the back of the clubhouse are also regularly open in summer for the same reason.
Upgrading of building insulation The Clubhouse has undergone several major renovations over recent years and during each refurbishment, the insulation has been upgraded to modern standards.
Use of natural light (e.g. sunlight pipes) The design of the Clubhouse is centred around the use of glass (in particular the back of the clubhouse facing the course). Therefore natural light is well utilised. During the 2006/2007 refurbishment a number of skylights were also installed to make further use of natural light.
Installation of low-energy lighting At present the club are replacing all internal lightbulbs with their LED equivalent to help reduce energy usage.
Use of motion sensor lighting Motion sensors are used on all lighting in the ladies and gents locker rooms and washrooms, ladies trolley store, bag store and drying room. Most of the motion sensors were installed during the 2006/2007 and 2013/2014 clubhouse renovations.
Transition to energy efficient appliances All cooking hobs in the kitchens have been replaced with induction hobs. At present, not all appliances are energy efficient however all future upgrades will be purchased with energy efficiency in mind.
Use of timers with appliances, heating and lighting Timers are currently used on the clubhouse heating system and car park external lighting. Motion sensors are widely used in the clubhouse.
Educating staff and customers Staff are encouraged to be energy conscious at all times. At present, no signage is in place for customers (e.g. 'turn off lights') due to the use of motion sensors in most customer-used areas of the clubhouse.

Vehicles & Transport

The maintenance fleet at this golf facility uses the following fuel sources:

Ride-on Mowers Walking Mowers Utility Vehicles
Petrol 100%
Diesel 62% 60%
Grid Electric 40%
Hybrid 38%

Additional vehicles operated by this golf facility use the following fuel sources:

Golf Carts Cars Buses
Diesel 100%
Grid Electric 100%

This golf facility has established the following schemes to encourage reductions in staff and customer transport emissions:

Activity Description
Car sharing incentives There are no car sharing incentives at the Club but natural sharing takes place with staff members.
Group transportation (e.g. buses) Group transportation takes place through use of coaches for junior matches and some away inter-club matches.
Secure cycle parking There is a dedicated compound for bikes and the Club are considering installation of a cycle park for staff.
Increasing equipment storage (e.g. lockers) 2 lockers per person are available at the course maintenance facility. Every staff member has a locker and most members of the Club also have a locker. The Club are in the process of increasing the capacity of their lockers. Visitors to the Club have day lockers available for use. The trolley storage facility has undergone a recent extension to increase storage capacity.
Staff showers Showers are available at the course maintenance building and Clubhouse for staff to use.
Tax breaking incentives for cycling There are currently no tax breaking incentives for cycling in place.

Supply Chain

At Royal Birkdale Golf Club we try to keep the number of suppliers to a minimum.
Where practical bulk deliveries and advance orders allow suppliers to manage deliveries to avoid extra haulage. Local suppliers are utilised in all areas of the Club, including: bar, catering and on the course. This helps to support local businesses and keeps the Club's environmental footprint down, whilst also reducing costs. Course maintenance strategies are centred around encouraging the finer grass species. These offer optimal links playing surfaces and are more drought and disease tolerant - therefore requiring fewer pesticide, irrigation and fertiliser inputs. Management of pests and diseases is carried out culturally where possible to help prevent disease/pest occurrence in the first place. However if chemical control is required, then careful selection of the appropriate product is made and accurate application then takes place. Spot treatment is favoured over blanket treatment to help keep pesticide usage down.
Waste management consists of recycling and re-use of some materials, however this is an area where the Club are looking to improve moving forward.

Purchasing Policies

This golf facility undertakes the following ethical / environmental purchasing activities:

Activity Description
Measures to avoid waste at source The Club carefully manages their orders and look to only order materials when required to avoid wastage.
Use of local suppliers The Club look to use local suppliers wherever possible to help support the local community and reduce their carbon footprint. The turf supplier and soil supplier are located within 5 miles of the course and local suppliers are used for bar and catering supplies (e.g. fish mongers and butchers).
Use of local products The Club use local products whenever possible. These include fish, meat and vegetables for catering. On the course, many indigenous materials are used such as turf, sand and cores. There is also a turf nursery on the course for returfing tees, greens and bunkers.
Use of recycled and recyclable products Many course materials are recycled, such as grass clippings and cores which are composted and reused in divot mix.
Use of accredited suppliers (e.g. ISO 14001) The Club uses accredited suppliers for clubhouse maintenance (e.g. electricians, plumbers) as well as catering and bar suppliers. STRI are also enlisted as consultants at the Club who are ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 accredited.

Supply Chain

An overview of the supplier network at this golf facility:

Total number of suppliers Total number of suppliers within 10 Kilometres Total number of suppliers within 100 Kilometres
Food & Beverage 26 19 7
Catering Supplies 6 2 4
Retail 25 15 10
Trade & Contractors 55 15 40
Maintenance Equipment 38 26 12
Course Supplies 5 2 3

Turfgrass Inputs

This golf facility undertakes the following IPM activities:

Activity Description
Encouraging drought and disease tolerant grasses Fertiliser and irrigation use is kept to a minimum to supply the turf only with what is required for healthy turf growth and performance. This strategy encourages the finer, more drought and disease tolerant grasses. Overseeding takes place each year to help increase fescue and bent populations.
Managing stress and wear Traffic management is well balanced to help spread wear and tear around the course - this includes use of signs, white lines, hoops and ropes.
Enhancement of soil structure Regular aeration is applied to help manage soil structure as well as on-going topdressing to enhance soil texture and dilute organic matter.
Optimization of the growing environment The greens are monitored yearly for firmness, organic matter levels, pH and soil nutrient levels to help provide an optimum environment for turf growth.
Soil moisture levels are regularly monitored using a soil moisture probe to help manage soil moisture to favour the finer grasses.
Managing thatch levels Frequent aeration and sand based topdressings are applied to help prevent thatch build up. Organic matter levels are tested each year to accurately assess levels.
Managing surface moisture Daily dew removal is carried out on the greens to help keep the surfaces dry and prevent disease occurrence.
Establishing thresholds for pests and disease Small amounts of pest and disease activity are tolerated. If levels became unacceptable, consideration is given to localised control rather than blanket treatments.
Scouting for pests and diseases Constant monitoring by experienced staff, encouraged to report any signs of pests and diseases.
Monitoring / improvement of plant health Regular review of turf areas takes place to ensure that current management practices favour strong links grasses that are less susceptible to pest and disease problems.

Fertilizer use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2014 2013 2012
Fairways - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - K - Organic 0 0 0
Fairways - N - Inorganic 23.8 10.2 10.2
Fairways - N - Organic 0 0 0
Fairways - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - P - Organic 0 0 0
Greens - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Greens - K - Organic 0 0 0
Greens - N - Inorganic 62.46 38 53.47
Greens - N - Organic 0 30 17.5
Greens - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Greens - P - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Tees - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Tees - K - Organic 110 0 0
Tees - N - Inorganic 0 21 18
Tees - N - Organic 55 31.5 21
Tees - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Tees - P - Organic 13.8 0 0

Pesticide use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2014 2013 2012
Fairways - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Fairways - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 5 3 6
Fairways - Herbicide - Total Weight 14.646 8.84 20.25
Fairways - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 3 2 3
Fairways - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 1 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 2.76 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 1 0
Greens - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 5 7 1
Greens - Fungicide - Total Weight 6.865 10.86 0.39
Greens - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 3 4 2
Greens - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 3 0 3
Greens - Herbicide - Total Weight 0.371 0 0.664
Greens - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 0 2
Greens - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 1 1
Greens - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 1.44 0.81
Greens - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 3 2
Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 3 0
Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 0 3.09 0
Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 1 0
Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 3 3 3
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Total Weight 2.55 8.84 8.94
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 2 1
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Total Weight 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Tees - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 3 3 3
Tees - Herbicide - Total Weight 0.547 0.885 0.22
Tees - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 2 1
Tees - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 1 0
Tees - Insecticide - Total Weight 0 0.72 0
Tees - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 1 0

This golf facility undertakes the following actions to optimize pesticide use:

Activity Description
Selection on the least toxic and lest persistent products Products are selected after referring to technical data available from MSDS and manufacturer literature. Considerations such as: hazard classification, toxicity, efficiency, and potential resistance are taken into account.
Selection of appropriate products for specific pests and diseases Careful identification of the disease takes place by experienced Greenstaff. If the disease cannot be identified then further analysis by STRI may be carried out. Following identification, the correct product is then selected that is best suited to target the pest or disease.
Spot-treatment with handheld sprayers and wipers Knapsack sprayers are used to spot treat problems thus reducing the amount of pesticides used, this method is particularly suited to smaller and less accessible areas.
Calibration and testing of sprayers Sprayers are inspected and recalibrated before all pesticide applications.
A regular replacement programme is in place to keep up to date with improving spray technology.
Use of shrouded sprayer and anti-drip nozzles Selection is made from a wide selection of nozzles (held in stock) to best match application rates and optimise droplet sizes.
Low drift nozzles are regularly used on mounted sprayers.
Non-chemical weed control Greens, paths and steps are hand weeded in preference to herbicide control.
Use of organic and biological products to improve plant health and resistance. Fertilisers and conditioners are applied in small doses to minimise flushes of soft growth that can leave turf more susceptible to diseases.

Waste Management

No waste audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility manages key waste streams as follows:

Re-use Recycle Landfill Incinerate
Glass false true false false
Plastic false false true false
Aluminium true true true false
Metal true true true false
Paper & Cardboard false true false false
Grass Clippings false true false false
Cores & Turf false true false false
Sand false true false false
Wood / Timber true true false true

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to continue the lifecycle of materials and resources:

Activity Description
Separation of recyclable materials Glass and cardboard are separated in preparation for recycling.
Establishment of recycling centers There is a waste area situated adjacent to the Clubhouse which is out of sight. The Club are looking at ways of establishing a recycling area within the limitations of space available.
Returning clipping to fairways and walkways All clippings are collected and removed from site for composting by a Contractor.
Education of staff and customer education Staff are briefed on waste management during their induction at the Club.

Pollution Control

Royal Birkdale Golf Club recognises its responsibility to safeguard the local environment. A closed loop washdown recycling system is used for cleaning equipment. Rainwater from car parks and maintenance facilities passes through interceptors before leaving the course through a system of drains and ditches. All areas of open water are kept free of pesticide pollution by LERAP assessment.

Water Analysis

This golf facility monitors water quality with the following frequency:

Chemical Biological Visual
Inflow Yearly Yearly Weekly
On-Site Yearly Yearly Weekly
Outflow Never Never Monthly

Waste Water

Waste water from this golf facility is managed as follows:

Discharges to Formal Discharge Agreement
Golf Course On-Site Treatment Plant N/A
Clubhouse Mains Sewer No
Maintenance Facility On-Site Treatment Plant Yes
Wash Pad Closed Loop Recycling N/A

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials at this golf facility are handled and disposed of as follows:

Secure Storage Registered Uplift
Detergents false false
Cooking Oils false true
Lubricants false true
Pesticide Containers true true
Fertiliser Bags false true
Oil Filters false true
Batteries false true

Pollution Prevention

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution from its maintenance facility and clubhouse:

Activity Description
Storage of equipment and hazardous products on covered, sealed impervious areas All hazardous products are stored in a chemsafe which is sealed, impervious and stored in a secure alarmed building.
Maintenance of equipment on covered, sealed impervious areas Maintenance equipment is maintained in a secure workshop with a sealed floor. All surface water leaving the maintenance areas passes through a full rention interceptor fitted with automatic oil alert. A yearly maintenance contract is in place to maintain it's upkeep.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers in covered areas All pesticides and fertilisers are mixed on the closed loop washdown pad
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers over impervious surfaces All pesticides and fertilisers are mixed on the closed loop washdown pad.
Installation of above-ground fuel tanks Bunded, above ground fuel tanks are located within secure buildings. A yearly inspection and maintenance contract is in place for their upkeep.
Installation of sufficient secondary containment for fuel Fuel tanks are bunded to help contain spills/leaks. Refuelling from the diesel tank takes place on closed loop washdown pad.
Provision of containment booms and absorbent materials Spill kits are located adjacent to all fuel storage areas.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution on its golf course:

Activity Description
Eliminating leachate and run-off through careful timing of turf inputs Inputs are timed to ensure that they are only made when weather conditions are suitable to avoid excessive run-off and leaching. Application rates are calculated to ensure appropriate and not excessive quantities are applied. Inputs are only made when required and the least hazardous products are chosen.
Establishment of vegetative buffer strips around water bodies LERAP assessment in place prevents pesticides and fertilizers being applied in vicinity of water bodies. Water bodies are located away from main playing areas.
Establishment of emergency spillage response plan An emergency spillage response plan is in place, using absorbent pads and materials, drain kits and degreasers.
Controlling erosion and sediment discharge At present, there are no real issues with erosion, however the Club plant marram grass during new works to help with stabilisation and minimise the risk of erosion.
Establishment of pesticide-free zones Pesticides applications are restricted to main playing areas only. All sensitive habitats are noted and mapped to exclude from pesticide applications. LERAP assessment is carried out for water bodies.


Royal Birkdale Golf Club contributes considerably to the local community, with local residents from the town being extremely proud of the Club's history and stature in the game of golf. The Club has been on the Open rota for many years and is due to host the Open Championship for a tenth time in 2017. The Club has also hosted many other important professional and amateur events - most recently the Ricoh Women's Open Championship 2014. Each time the Club hosts a large event, this brings considerable business to the local community (e.g. hotels, shops, restaurants) as well as the legacy of each event playing an important role in on-going golf tourism to the area. The Club are also actively involved in many golf tourism initiatives which not only helps bring custom to local businesses but also neighbouring golf clubs. Local businesses are utilised whenever possible to supply the Club and help support local business whilst also reducing the Club's environmental footprint.
The Club works very closely with the local government, particularly when hosting the Open, as well as local environmental groups such as the Sefton Coast Land Managers Group and Sefton Coast Woodland Owners Task Group. Planning for such an event is essential to help minimise the environmental impact on the area.
The Club invests well in the education and training of its employees and also contributes to the education of others in the sportsturf industry. This takes place through the Club hosting course walks for greenkeepers, students etc.

Employment & Education

Typical staffing levels at this golf facility are:

Full Time Part Time Seasonal
Club Management 4 1
Course Management 10 1
Food & Beverage 12 14 2
Golf Coaching 3
Retail & Leisure 4 2
Other 6

The sustainability working group at this golf facility is comprised of:

  • General Manager
  • Course Manager
  • Technical Specialist
  • Local Government
  • Local Environment NGO

Employees at this golf facility receive the following formal and informal environmental education:

Activity Description
Storage, application and disposal of pesticides All Greenstaff are expected to achieve competence to level PA1, PA2, PA6 in spraying. Refresher and up date training takes place every 3 to 5 years.
Efficient water management The Course Manager and Deputy Course Manager are responsible for water inputs to the Course however they do provide training to other members of the greenkeeping team for hand watering.
Management of accidents and emergencies All course maintenance staff are trained in first aid and four Clubhouse staff are first aid trained. There is a fire assembly and evacuation plan in place and this is communicated to all employees and the details are displayed around the clubhouse. The accident book is kept behind the bar and is regularly monitored. Five staff are trained for defibrillator use and there is one defibrillator situated in the Clubhouse.
Management of habitats and vegetation Staff members have undergone the following training to help manage habitats and vegetation around the course:
2 staff members hold chainsaw certificates.
1 staff member holds a licence to handle sand lizards and Natterjack Toads
1 staff member attends local land managers meetings.
1 staff member attends Woodland Owners Group meetings.
Staff members also have access to the STRI ecology reports to gain further knowledge on ecological management policies at the Club.
Waste minimization, separation and recycling Staff members are aware of the Club's policy of separating and recycling waste at the Clubhouse.
Health & Safety All course maintenance staff receive the following training: Basic health and safety, fire awareness, manual handling, use of abrasive wheels, NPTC PA1, PA2, PA6.
Energy Saving Staff are informed and fully aware of the Club's energy saving policies. During locking up on a night, 1 person will check that all lights, equipment etc are turned off.
Understanding of landscape and cultural heritage Greenstaff are fully informed and educated on the sensitivity of the dune systems and ecosystems across the course. Information on the flora and fauna on the course is also available on the Club's website for all staff members to see.
Environmental management planning The Greenstaff are briefed on environmental management and planning at the Club. The STRI ecological reports are also available for all staff to read to gain a greater insight.

Community Relations

This golf facility engages with local community groups in the following manner:

Activity Description
Neighbours The Club hold a strong relationship with neighbouring golf clubs as well as other groups such as Woodland Management and Sefton Council. The club also have good relations with local residents, hotels and businesses.
Local Government A close working relationship is retained with the local Government; particularly regarding planning or environmental issues. When Royal Birkdale hosts large events such as The Open, Seniors Open or Women's British Open, the Club working very closely with the local Government regarding transport, access and policing.
Local Environmental Groups The Club are members of the Sefton Coast Land Managers Group and Sefton Coast Woodland Owners Task Group, and work closely with both groups to help restore and manage the Sefton Coast. The Club also work closely with English Nature.
Media The Club hold a good relationship with local media (i.e. local, regional newspapers and TV) and are often regularly featured whilst hosting large golfing events. The Club are also investigating the use of social media moving forward.
Local Businesses The club has a good relationship with many of the local businesses and purchases many of the clubhouse catering and bar supplies locally. They are also members of the local Commerce, the Sefton Council Businesses Group and Liverpool Economic Partnership. The Open brings much revenue to local businesses. The Club is also part of England's Golf Coast which plays a large role in golf tourism to the area and supports many local businesses for accommodation and leisure. The Club also has an excellent relationship with neighbouring golf clubs.
Schools & Colleges Trainee greenkeepers use Myerscough College to study for NVQ Levels 2 and 3.
Myerscough students occasionally attend Royal Birkdale for course walks and discussions.

Land Use & Cultural Heritage

This golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:

Activity Description
Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing) There is a public right of way adjacent to the golf course which provides ideal dog walking for local residents. Bridge and snooker is played in the clubhouse for members as well as social functions held for members and guests.
Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland) The Club works very closely with the Sefton Coast Land Managers Group and Sefton Coast Woodland Owners Task Group on projects to maintain and manage conservation along the Sefton Coast.

No archaeological or heritage surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding the conservation of cultural heritage:

  • The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI)
  • English Nature
  • Sefton Environmental Authority
  • Sefton Woodland Management

This golf facility does not undertake any activities to conserve cultural heritage features.


This golf facility undertakes the following internal environmental communications:

Activity Description
Provision of newsletters, notice boards & poster display Environmental issues/news affecting the Club and surrounding area are put on the members notice board along with local environmental publications. There is also a 6 monthly newsletter which is distributed to members and this discusses course ecology and wildlife.
Course guides / brochures Wildlife guides were produced for 1998 and 2008 Open Championships. Information on course flora and fauna is also available on the Club website and has been previously published as a brochure.

This golf facility undertakes the following social and environmental advocacy activities:

Activity Description
Website, press releases & brochures Information on course flora and fauna is available on the Club website
Course walks / open days Course walks for Myerscough College students and other industry organisations (e.g. Architects, greenkeepers) often take place around the course.