Golfbaan Burggolf Wijchen
Executive summary (English & local language)
BurgGolf Wijchen is a commercially run golf course and wants to be recognized as an organization that takes care of the environment. With respect to nature development they preserve and improve the habitat for several endangered species. Chemicals are only used when necessary and applied spot-wise as much as possible. Storage of chemicals and fertilizer is according to law, and energy consumption and rates of irrigation are very acceptable for a course of this size. It is their intention to reduce energy consumption by another 5% the next 3 years. Based on the course visit, discussions with the manager and the documentation, BurgGolf Wijchen has shown that sustainable golf course management and economics can go hand in hand.
Burggolf Wijchen can be characterized as a typical parkland course. Approximately 12 ha is managed as nature area and largely consist out of native woodland. Many old trees are still present and are checked regularly on vitality. Soil fertility especially of the rough areas is reduced by mowing and removing the clippings once a year. This will in the final end result in a less dense rough where balls can be found more easily and in a higher species diversity. The head greenkeeper is well aware of the plant and animal species living on the course. For instance fitches, badgers and kingfishers are regularly observed and actions are taken to preserve the natural habitats of these species as much as possible. Furthermore woodpiles are now created to stimulate species diversity, especially of insects and small mammals. Exotic species like the aggressive black cherry are removed as much as possible. Greens and fairways unfortunately consist for a fair amount out of Poa annua. It is their intention to reduce the amount of annual bluegrass using mechanical practises and appropriate fertilization schemes.
Minimizing water use both on the course and in the clubhouse is part of their management strategy. The manager clearly indicated that an environmentally friendly water management also results in economic savings. Standard practises like vertidraining and application of wetting agents on dry spots are used to prevent soil compaction and excessive thatch development and so further lead to an acceptable usage of irrigation water. The club uses groundwater for the irrigation of fairways, tees and greens and the annual rate varies between 15.000-20.000 m3. Modern water saving equipment is used in the clubhouse to further reduce water consumption.
As for water use, the management is also keen on reducing energy consumption as much as possible both from an economical as from and environmental point of view. Already in 2011/2012 all traditional lightening was replaced by LED-lightning, which resulted in clear reduction of the energy consumption. The management is following closely new developments with solar energy. Burggolf Wijchen uses solely renewable electricity for lightning, kitchen equipment, buggies and other electric vehicles. In recent years electricity use varied between 140.000-170.000 kWh, and it is their intention to reduce total energy use structurally by 5% in the coming years.
Burggolf Wijchen only uses chemicals for their greens and foregreens when necessary. Tees and fairways are not treated. Rates of fertilization are within an acceptable range, and varied e.g. for greens between 130-140 kg N per annum per ha. Standard mechanical practises like e.g vertidraining are used to sustain a healthy sward. The management is keen on reducing the amount of waste. Plastics and glass are separated from other waste, and in winter time waste is collected less frequently.
All chemicals are stored according to legislation, and their use is registrated. Waste water from the clubhouse and maintenance is discharged via an oil separator to sewer. All vehicles are maintained and washed on impervious floors. Greenkeepers are well informed on risks with respect to the use of chemicals and know how to handle in case of emergency. This also holds for the staff in the clubhouse. Use of chemicals and fertilizers near surface waters is restricted to 4 meters from the water. Unfortunately quality of the their surface waters is only analyzed visually. From 2016 onwards chemical analyses of the surface waters will be standard routine.
Until now little attention has been paid on communication with respect to nature development on the course. From 2016 onwards a sustainability workgroup will be responsible for communication via website and magazine on all GEO items. A public footpath crosses the course, however the course itself is not open to the public. Both the clubhouse and greenkeeping staff are informed and on trained sustainability issues. Several staff members know how to handle in case of emergencies. All handlings are clearly written down in their emergency plan.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Certification Report
- Emergency Incident Plan
- Environmental Data
- External Surveys and Reports
BurgGolf Wijchen has shown that an environmentally friendly management can go hand in hand with economics. I, Adrie van der Werf, GEO Accredited Verifier recommend that BurgGolf Wijchen be awarded for the GEO certificate.
Group-wide waste management policy for economies of scale
Clubhouse with full LED lighting and 100% renewable electricity contract