Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Executive summary (English & local language)
• Royal Lytham & St Annes is recognised throughout the World as one of just 10 Open Championship venues and it is every bit a coastal links golf course even though it sits some 1 km or so from the coast line. The towns of Lytham and St Annes have over the years enveloped and totally encircled the golf course which now sits as a green oasis within the urban landscape. The links is characterised by its undulating duneland nature and by the extent of marram and marram with red fescue and the gradations in vegetation through to the prominent acid grasslands supporting Mat-grass (Nardus) and heather (Calluna). Scrub and trees are present around the margin and at intervals over the course and these provide excellent stepping stone habitat for smaller bird species. It is however without doubt the coastal grasslands and the extant sand hills that have given rise to the site being designated as a Lancashire biological heritage site (BHS). No formal National or International designations apply.
• The Club recognise the need for management to maintain the balance between the different habitat types and have in the past worked to a series of management plans (these now requiring revision and updating).
• The Club shows a good understanding of turfgrass management maintaining year round high quality putting and playing surfaces for 25,000 rounds and for the more prestigious annual and periodic events that are championed here. Evidence of fertiliser, water, herbicide and pesticide use were provided.
• A full automated irrigation system with individual head control provides irrigation water in addition to regular hand watering being sourced by abstraction licence.
• Energy uses monitored by the Secretary and Course Manager and in light of increasing energy requirements and costs the Club have over the last few years installed a whole series of LED lighting through most areas of the Clubhouse with motion sensors as and where appropriate.
• The Club energy and waste issues are included on the Agenda of each (monthly) house committee meetings. Furthermore the Club have in 2015 engaged in INENCO to carry out an energy audit through areas of the facility with a view to identifying opportunities where further efficiencies can be made.
• Interestingly but not particularly well documented in the “On Course” Application the Club engaged Sodexo to manage all waste streams, all food waste, cardboard, paper and plastics are collected and reused, recycled and/or burnt to produce bio fuels through Blakely’s (registered waste contractor). The Sodexo team working at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club has recently been recognised through certification (Better Tomorrow Plan) for their outstanding commitment to waste management.
• Royal Lytham & St Annes is a major business within the area attracting significant revenue to the area during major golf events, the Club also source all food products locally and are considering setting up herb gardens, etc. within the grounds around the Clubhouse.
• Sustainable working is a key part of golf clubs mantra and is an area that will continue to be developed. The Club were open to my suggestions and recommendations and to areas where continuous improvement could be made.
• Given the above and in light of the findings below I have no hesitation in recommending that GEO award Lytham & St Annes Golf Club with GEO certified.
The visit to Royal Lytham & St Annes took place on the 6th July 2015 and was carried out in the company of Mr Charles Grimley - Secretary, Mr Paul Smith – Course Manager and discussions were also held with Vicky Dyson - Sodexo House Manager. The visit concentrated on working through and discussing the application that the golf club had compiled, viewing areas of the golf course maintenance facility and Clubhouse, taking pictures as evidence of good practice and providing recommendations for continuous development with a debrief of protocols going forward.
The following report provides a true and independent account of working practices at the Golf Club.
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club supports the internationally renowned Championship course (one of 10 venues hosting the Open Championship), the site also supports a nine hole short course, the Clubhouse, maintenance facility and halfway house. Royal Lytham although situated within the expanding town of Lytham & St Annes and almost 1 km away from the coast line retains its links character through recognition and management given to the conservation of the important sand hills. Although not given any statutory protection the sand hills are recognised as a Lancashire biological heritage site (BHS) a citation, site assessment and management recommendations were provided. This report gives recognition of the importance of the site, appropriate management objectives and documents a comprehensive plant listing. The Golf Club recognise the importance of the fixed dune grasslands and provide ongoing conservation management by way of several (to be updated) management plans. Management largely involves scrub and tree control monitoring and acid grassland expansion. Management is appropriate but would best be guided by an up to date ecological management plan.
Management at Royal Lytham & St Annes is in many ways assisted by the number of spectators following the more prestigious tournament events and this is helping to maintain relatively open weak grassland conditions that provide ideal habitat conditions for lichens, mosses and weaker annual and perennial plant species. Rarities such as slender parsley piert, sand cat’s-tail and other species such as sand sedge all benefit from the more open conditions. The vegetation types grade from the fixed dunes dominated by red fescue and marram to the more acid grassland supporting sheep’s fescue, heath bedstraw, mat grass, dewberry, harebell and heather.
As well as high levels of spectator usage the Club supports over 25,000 rounds of golf each year and although putting surfaces are excellent the Club continue to work on a sward improvement programme aimed at controlling annual meadow-grass whilst improving the proportion of finer grass species. The Club are working with the retained agronomists to ensure water and nutrients are applied within target ranges and management is appropriate and working towards these targets. The greens at the time of the visit provided excellent putting surfaces, sward composition consisting of a strong blend of annual meadow-grass, bent and red fescue.
The Club have an abstraction licence running from 2013 to 2028 for 27,000 m3. The Club operate a full irrigation system with hand watering capabilities. Management policy centres around minimal water use together with use of water management products, to meet the requirement for irrigation. The system design (based on a drought irrigation cycle) operates to deliver deep daily flows of less than 507m3 this to cover the Championship Course, Short Course and Practice Ground. The total use has remained steady over 2013-2014 but was reduced in 2012 due to weather conditions. All irrigation working is designed to replace evapotranspiration and is backed by hand watering.
The Club operate a leak detection policy by carefully monitoring pump operation and flow data. Water use through the Clubhouse and maintenance facilities are regularly discussed during house committee meetings and the Club are working to identify water saving opportunities that will bring efficiencies. The Club have engaged an energy company in INENCO to cover water and energy management. Sodexo bring their own expertise recognising the need to adopt an efficient water management policy which includes thinking ahead and defrosting food items well before required and never defrosting foods under running taps, similarly water conservation is provided by ensuring all dishwashers are full before using. Low flush toilets have been provided within the staff area.
The Club have engaged a company in INENCO to provide an audit of energy management and conservation opportunities. This is an area that also receives regular discussion within the Clubhouse committee meetings where responsibility for energy has been given to the chair of house.
Over the last three years energy levels have risen slightly and this prompted the engagement of INENCO. The Club have (2014-2015) recently installed LED lighting through the main offices, men’s locker rooms, ladies locker rooms, snooker room, and through the trophy cabinets, committee room and the mixed bar areas. Sensors have also been installed within the ladies and gents toilets and visitors’ locker room. LED lighting has also been provided through the pro-shop all with a view to reducing electricity consumption going forward. The Club was advised to secure the INENCO report and where possible work through any opportunities identified, the Club should also consider further transport to work opportunities.
The Club only operate two golf carts both of which operate on grid electricity.
We discussed opportunities for further promoting public transport and whilst no policies are in place the suggestions made were looked upon favourably. Cycling through the right to work scheme could be a possibility for a number of permanent staff.
Sodexo are the Clubs retained contractors and partners and working within the structure of the Better Tomorrow Plan are committed to reducing waste and striving towards a greener environment. Within this context and as the principal catering provider Sodexo are challenged to be locally provident. All foods and beverages are purchased from a main local supplier having responsibility to source food items for other several other local suppliers. Deliveries are made to the Club on two occasions each week. This is directed through Sodexo who are tasked with sourcing suppliers local to the area.
Royal Lytham & St Annes provides a unique amenity experience for members and visitors and being an Open venue attracts in excess of 25,000 golfers a year into the region. This together with the major venues brings considerable revenue to the local town and region. The Open itself is likely to bring over £70 million in revenue into the region during an Open Championship year. Volumes of waste are controlled through forecasting and monitoring with provisions being made as and when required. Furthermore the Club are improving their waste management streams requesting through their suppliers that products are delivered featuring packaging that can be recycled or returned.
Kitchen wastes are all controlled though Sodexo with waste streams being managed through a company (Bleakley's) who have confirmed every single item of waste generated through the catering department is sent to their plant where they use new state of the art technology to separate all recyclable items. Items that cannot be recycled are packaged into bundles and shipped to Germany where they are burnt in a power plant and converted into renewable energy. The upshot being that no single item of the Club’s waste goes to landfill.
Waste streams through the maintenance facility include collection of oil filters, batteries, redundant equipment, etc. oily rags, oils, residues of oils and chemicals, etc. all of which are collected from an ISO 14001 accredited contractor (Seven Way Environmental Services). Cooking oils from the kitchens is removed through Sodexo. The Club have a good knowledge of waste management, for example through the Clubhouse are turning off lights/computers in the office when not in use.
Limiting use of dishwashers, etc. using fires only when required all activities in this regard will be reviewed by the energy and waste audit currently in progress (2015).
All cardboard and paper is managed on site through Sodexo, which includes the maintenance facility, clubhouse and any other waste streams. This is passed to the preferred waste management company (Bleakley's) for sorting and recycling. The Club working with Sodexo operate a no waste to landfill policy.
Alongside Sodexo the Club demonstrates an exceptionally close and good working relationship.
All chemicals used on the course are stored within secured metal cabinets and/or within stored under areas to ensure that leakages are contained. All equipment is regularly serviced and calibrated to ensure effective use and no waste.
The pests over the golf course are tolerated until economic thresholds are realised. Any pest and/or pest disease management is carried out using appropriate IPM policies and decisions backed up by pest scouting carried out when pest/or disease thresholds are likely to be high so that early and effective treatment can be applied. Fertiliser use is stable at around 70-90kg/ha per annum on both greens and tees and all inputs are determined through soil analysis to avoid waste and/or pollution. Pesticides are used on a need only basis again following pest scouting and importantly on levels noted.
All staff are trained to recognise and avoid potential for leachates and/or other potentially harmful chemicals and through careful use policies, i.e. no spraying within recognised buffer zones adjacent to waterways ditches, etc.
As indicated above all chemicals, detergents, lubricants including storage products through to pesticide containers, fertiliser bags, oil filters, batteries, etc. are all collected by reputable contractors’ evidence of such operations being made available during the visit.
Good signage is evident around the area of the maintenance facility and emergency spill kits are on hand should any pollution incident arise. Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club employ a strict 5 m buffer zone around and along principal water bodies. Wash down water is undertaken on a purpose built pad with grass collection tray with residues entering a class one interceptor with approved (EA) valve system. Ground waters are checked by the Environment Agency annually and the British Geological Society has also undertaken recent analyses of ground water.
A risk assessment is in place for chemicals and standard protocols have been put in place to deal with spillages including flexible bunding and/or absorbent gravels, etc. as part of its waste. All pesticides are mixed using up to date equipment, MOTs are not as yet relevant. Calibration is automatic and COSHH sheets are available.
Royal Lytham & St Annes attracts over 25,000 golfers each year which itself brings significant revenue to the region. This is bolstered by the Open Championship where upon over £70 million in revenue is attracted. The Club host a series of leading golf tournaments including the annual Lytham Trophy which attracts global entries. The Club is also an important employer with 12 greenstaff employed alongside the general manager, professionals, a full range of catering staff through to part time caddies. The Club provide training and guidance to course staff, with Sodexo being responsible for food and catering operate their own policy. The knock on benefit of the Club’s existence extend to the principal contractors responsible for food sourcing, waste handling, etc. The Club is working with its preferred advisors for course maintenance improvements, INENCO for waste energy auditing and is working with local historians to develop a library and archive collection of history of the golf club.
Newsletters and notices are provided by the course manager for members and practice staff meetings, quarterly updates are provided to members on golf course related matters. The Club does not engage directly with the local press, preferring instead to keep a more subtle profile within the community.
Given the above and in light of the findings below I have no hesitation in recommending that GEO award Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club with GEO Certified.
The Club is responsible for the ongoing conservation of a remnant dune system that is now remote from the coastline due to suburban encroachment. Wildlife interests are recognised and management is appropriate. The Club recognise the need for management to maintain the balance between the different habitat types and have in the past worked to a series of management plans.
The Club operate a very successful working relationship with Sodexo who ensure directed and focused expertise through all areas of working. Sodexo manage all waste streams - food waste, cardboard, paper and plastics. These are all collected and reused, recycled and/or burnt to produce bio fuels through Blakely’s (registered waste contractor). The Sodexo team working at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club has recently been recognised through certification (Better Tomorrow Plan) for their outstanding commitment to waste management.
The Club also source all food products locally and are considering setting up herb gardens, etc. within the grounds around the Clubhouse.
Royal Lytham & St Annes is a major business within the area attracting significant revenue to the area during major golf events, The Club shows a good understanding of turfgrass management maintaining year round high quality putting and playing surfaces for 25,000 rounds and for the more prestigious annual and periodic events that are championed here.