Coventry Golf Club

GEO Certified® 05/2012 GEO Re-Certified 08/2015
Coventry,
England, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)24 7641 4152
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Coventry Golf Course has demonstrated a high level of environmental stewardship over the last three years since initially being awarded GEO Certified. Clearly the Club has taken its responsibilities seriously and have managed to improve in all areas with a number of new initiatives in place. The always remains room for further improvement. The conclusion of this assessment is that Coventry Golf Club should be re-certified by GEO.

Nature

Coventry Golf Course is characterised by an attractive parkland landscape that is being proactively managed to restore and provide a number of key characteristics of this habitat including older and younger trees, grassland and standing and fallen deadwood. Areas of grass within the course are allowed to grow longer and flower, whilst a new wildflower area has recently been created and is now started to provide good opportunities for a range of pollinators, birds and small mammals. A former turf farm has been allowed to re-wild and ponds provide aquatic still water habitats. The River Sowe provides a dynamic riverine character to the course and significantly increases its biodiversity value. Significant management effort is given to the river corridor and its flora and fauna. Wildlife boxes and logpiles have been created, together with an artificial otter holt that has been successfully used! The course supports a range of bird species and provides opportunities for a wide variety of mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians. The team at Coventry Golf Club are very committed to fostering its biodiversity and are looking forward to further enhancements.

Coventry Golf Club has an on-going and very successful relationship with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency amongst other organisations. This facilitates training, delivery of on-site conservation activities, access to experts, working groups and wider communications about the positive work the Club is doing.

The course continues to include a wide range of habitats in good conditions including, semi-natural grassland, wildlfower areas, scrub, ruderal plants, low growing ephemeral perennial habitat, individual, scattered and rows of trees, woodland, standing and fallen deadwood, areas of bare ground, buildings, reedbed, flowing water, standing water, and marginal habitats.

The Club carefully selects its turfgrass species to minimise demand on water and fertiliser. Greens are dominated by Poa annua, with some Agrostis tennis/capillaris (efforts are being made to increase this), tees are dominated by Poa annua with some Lolium perenne and the fairways are dominated by Festuca rubra with some Lolium perenne. These are seen to represent suitable species for this course, taking into account the local soil conditions and arrangements with Severn Trent Water for irrigation (see below).

In addition to general conservation management through the day to day green keeping activities, the Club organises a range of other conservation projects. These include purchase or building bird boxes, provision of log piles, conversion of a disused buildings to become an artificial otter holt (including member involvement and donations of materials). Significant volunteer time is given to the management of Himalyan balsam along the River Sowe corridor though the club and it appears to be having some success. Trees are planted through the course to provide future replacements for the aging trees. Careful consideration is given to felling and replacement trees are always provided. Deadwood is made safe and left standing where possible.

Water

The Club led an innovative approach to water management with Severn Trent Water and re-uses grey water for irrigation. To develop this further, the Club has invested in the cost of new infrastructure to allow this process to become more effective and to continue this provision for the foreseeable future. Water abstraction from the River has not been needed for a number of years and measures to reduce water use in the Club are being progressed.

Potable water support the activities in the clubhouse and the volumes used have decreased since 2013. Greywater from an adjacent waste water treatment works is used for the course and the volumes used in this respect have increased as the facility has been improved, although 2014 usage is lower than 2013.

Greywater from an adjacent waste water treatment works is used for the course and the volumes used in this respect have increased as the facility has been improved, although 2014 usage is lower than 2013. Irrigation is restricted to the greens and tees and the fairways and semi-roughs are not irrigated.

The Club has implemented a range of measures to help reduce its water consumption including: decreasing water hungry grass species in the greens, effective management of soils and thatch, use of a computerised irrigation system to control the application of water to greens and tees, upgraded sprinkler heads for increased efficiency and use of an agronomist to monitor soil moisture. A new boiler has been fitted.

Energy

The Club has previously commissioned energy assessments and has sought advice leading to a number of measures to reduce energy consumption. These include the installation of on-site solar, a new fleet of fuel efficient greenkeeping equipment, electric buggies, and a range of measures within the clubhouse.

Coventry Golf Club operates using gas and electricity. The on site solar has resulted in a net increase in electricity generation from 2012 to 2014, year on year. Diesel use has fallen from 2012 levels, as has the use of other hydrocarbons (natural gas, petrol and non-renewable grid electricity).

On site solar helps to diversity the energy supply to the club. New fleet vehicles include hybrid technology with stop/start features. Timber from the club is dried on site and sold to members for use in personal log burners with money raised being used for onsite conservation activities.

A range of measures have been implemented including: new and more efficient air conditioning, optimised heating settings, use of natural ventilation, low energy lighting, motion sensor lighting, use of times, educational materials and continued use of an energy monitoring company, cycle to work scheme and an on site shower for greenkeepers.

Supply Chain

The Club is passionate about using a local supply chain. This is particularly the case within the clubhouse.

Wherever possible, the club purchased from local sources, notably food and drink, paper products, toiletries and maintenance and supply equipment. IT equipment is certified for energy efficiency. All chemicals and fertilisers are certified from trusted sources.

The club has 5 food and drink suppliers, 4 of which are based within 10 miles. Of the 11 course suppliers, 6 are located within 10 miles.

Greens are being managed with an ever increasing percentage of bent grasses as these are deep rooted and maximise drought tolerance. Other turf management activities are employed to reduce the need for turfgrass inputs (e.g. autumn and winter green cut heights, moving of golf holes on the greens, thatch management, re-routing of pedestrian and buggy routes to minimise erosion. Fertiliser inputs on the greens have reduced since 2012. Pesticide use has either remained static or fallen since 2012 with hand pulling of weeds a common occurrence.

Paper is re-used where possible and efforts continue to move the club towards an increased use of electronic documentation rather than paper. This also reduces the use of toner. The club maximises what is can recycle from waste generated on site with separation also occurring on site. Contractors are selected who recover and dispose of cooking oils and chemicals. Green 'waste' is recycled and used on the course including turf cores, clippings and efforts are being made to find a contractor who will re-use leaf litter as a fuel.

Pollution Control

The club has a well organised and maintained greenkeeping compound with appropriate pollution prevention and response measures in place. The staff are very knowledgeable and are suitably trained. The good relationship with the Environment Agency assists in this respect.

Visual checks on water quality are made on a daily basis.

No waste water from course management is disposed of on site. All wash-down water is recovered and cycled through an on-site reed bed for treatment. The use of greywater from the adjacent waste water treatment works reduces the volume that would otherwise be discharged into the River Sowe.

Chemical and hazardous products are stored in a secure ChemSafe , inside a secure shed and on impermeable flooring. Maintenance of equipment is carried out on hard standing. Mixing of chemicals only occurs on hard standing and within an area draining to an interceptor tank. Only suitably trained personnel undertake these activities.

The volumes of chemicals on site are minimised through efforts to reduce material consumption. Spill kits are present. Hazardous materials are kept in secure environments. Suitably trained staff carry out work associated potentially polluting substances. An emergency spillage plan is in place. Diesel is stored in a double skinned tank.

Buffer strips are maintained adjacent to watercourses and ponds. Visual inspections of water quality are made on a daily basis. An emergency spillage plan is in place.

Community

Although a private members club, Coventry Golf Club is an outward facing golf club, encouraging the community to participate. It communicates its events and activities in the local press and through wider circulation e.g. via the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

The club typically employs 15 full time staff and 13 part time staff. It encourages personal and professional development and facilitates training in relevant areas. Personal development is also encouraged through self-taught methods and the involvement of external organisations as appropriate.

The club has a Sustainability Working Group which includes the course manager, committee members but the work of the group is directed at all members and the wider community with regular updates being provided, working parties and information presented on a specific notice board.

The club only has one neighbour (Severn Trent Water) due to its geography. It has a good relationship with the local community with its work and activities being publics and through its corporate membership of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The Trust runs a range of community conservation activities within the course. University projects have been carried out at the club. School work experience students have attended the Club and the pro shop holds after school clubs.

The remains of Bagots Castle are located within the course grounds and these have been restored under the management and control of English Heritage. The course is designed and managed sympathetically to its parkland and agricultural roots.

Internal communications are posted on a specific notice board and refreshed at regular intervals. Copies of the sustainability information presented is retained on file. A quarterly newsletter is provided to all members.

External communications are released to the Press and via the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Copies of the sustainability information presented is retained on file. Sustainability success (GEO Certified) is provided via the GEO website. Otters using the artificial holt is being broadcast via You Tube.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

In my opinion, Coventry Golf Club has continued to live up to the expectations set when it was originally Certificated and has clearly demonstrated its ability to manage the Club in a responsible and sustainable manner, making environmental improvements wherever possible. I fully recommend -re-certificating the Coventry Golf Club.

Certification Highlights

A wide range of high quality measures are in place. The investment in the ongoing use of greywater from Severn Trent is fantastic and shows real commitment. The condition of the course is very high with substantial gains in biodiverse habitat since the initial audit. The conversion of an artificial building into a successful otter holt is very pleasing. The staff clearly know how to management course to a very high standard with efforts made on waste reduction, water consumption, energy use and fertiliser and pesticide use all lower over the last few years. Very well done!