Viksjö Gk

GEO Certified® 11/2017
Järfälla,
Sweden
Telephone: 08-580 313 10
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Executive summary (English & local language)

The club bought Viksjö Gård (Viksjö Farm) in 1963 to establish a golf course. In 1966 the driving range was established and in 1970 the first 9 holes could be played. In 1969 the club bought Fjällen Gård (Fjällen Farm), and the farmhouse from that farm is today the clubhouse. In 1995 the club started to establish a 9 short-hole course, and in 2007/2008 a number of greens were rebuilt to fulfill USGA-standards. The course currently has 27 holes including an 18 hole golf course and a 9-hole short-hole course.

Water for irrigation consists mainly of surface water from municipal roads and places located around the course. Irrigation is conducted on greens and tees during the season and fairways are watered when surface water is available. Water from the municipal water supply (drinking water) is only used to irrigate greens and tees in special situations with long-term dry weather. It has been agreed with the municipality that additional surface water will be lead to the golf course to be used for irrigation, which will reduce the need for drinking water for irrigation.

A very small amount of pesticide is used for managing the course and pesticides are only used on greens. A relatively large amount of electricity is used for operating the original old farmhouse and a relatively large amount of fertilizer is used for managing the course.

Nature

Viksjö GK is located in Järfälla, 18 km from Stockholm. Several important habitats from the old cultural landscape have been preserved on the golf course, while the urban area has spread and engulfed much of the old cultural landscape in the surrounding areas. Above all, the fragmented dry meadows, forest edges, hardwood forests and ponds are important habitats on the course. There are a great variety of habitats which gives more transition zones where conditions are favorable for many species. The course is located in an area with inland climate with cold dark winters, lots of rainfall and clay soils.

A number of studies have been conducted to describe nature in and around the golf course, as Ylva Berry has conducted a very large and thorough study in connection with an exam project at Stockholm University. The studies provide suggestions for action to improve conditions and these suggestions are followed to some extent. A number of bird cages are mounted on and around the course. The many lakes found on the course are to some extent taken care of. The lake that acts as a reservoir for water for irrigation has varying water level during the season but the water level is only lowered about 60 cm relative to the maximum water level which leaves enough water in the lake to have a good environment for animals and vegetation. The water level is controlled by an overflow to the watercourse downstream the golf course. During periods when there is no overflow from the lake, the watercourse downstream the golf course is dry.

The bark is removed in a ring from some large trees so that they wither and form a habitat for a large number of insects and birds.

There are large amounts of Poa on greens, tees (bent / fescue) and fairways even though greens are built according to USGA standards. This may be due to the fact that the course is watered and fertilized relatively much. As a consequence, the root system on greens are relatively short (4-8 cm), although extensive aeration is carried out.

The course is situated on clay soil and therefore there are no indications that the maintenance of the course including relatively large amount of fertilizer is having a significant impact on the surrounding environment. If the club can accept the relatively large amount of poa, there is no need for changing the maintenance strategy except that it will probably be possible to reduce managing costs.

Very small amount of pesticide is used and pesticides are only used on greens.

Water

As mentioned above, large amounts of surface water are reused for watering the course (typically about 35,000 m3 / year). Fairways are watered as long as there is water available in the lake which constitutes the reservoir. When there is not enough water available, fairways will no longer be watered. Drinking water from the municipal water supply is used for watering greens and tees when the water level in the lake is at its minimum. The club is trying to limit the consumption of drinking water for irrigation but in 2017 about 3,500 m3 drinking water was used for irrigation. No amount of salt and oil has been recorded in surface waters in amounts that pose a problem in connection with use of the water for irrigating the course.

A moisture meter is used to detect when greens should be watered which helps reducing the water consumption and ensure that watering is conducted when needed and in amounts necessary.

As the course reuses surface water for irrigation, there is no environmental argument for reducing water consumption as it is expected that the clay soil binds possibly excess fertilizer. A modified strategy for fertilization and irrigation of the course may reduce the amount of poa, but if the club can accept the relatively large amount of poa, there is no environmental argument for changing the managing strategy. However, it is important not to fertilizing is conducted so close to streams and lakes so that excess fertilizer could be supplied to the watercourse downstream the course. With the relatively large amount of rainwater available, the use of drinking water should be avoided or reduced as much as possible.

Energy

The clubhouse is largely the old former farmhouse. All energy for heating and producing hot water is derived from electricity, and consumption is very high. In addition, the high consumption of water for watering also causes a high consumption of electricity.

The machines for maintaining of the course are new and maintained well why it is likely that the consumption of diesel and gasoline is as low as the managing strategy allows. Driving range is mowed and balls are collected by robots driven by electricity.

It is recommended that the club focus on reducing the consumption of electricity. It is therefore recommended that a thorough review of the club's electricity consumption by an energy consultant be conducted. It is also recommended that secondary meters are mounted for selected areas so that a strategy for reducing the consumption of electricity targets the areas where the potential for reduction is greatest. It is also advisable to consider installing solar cells, heat pumps and similar installations to reduce power purchases.

It is also recommended that the club consider purchasing hybrid mowers both to reduce energy consumption and reduce noise from managing the course.

Supply Chain

The club has a procurement strategy that emphasizes goods to be purchased locally. The kitchen uses organic products to a large extent. Sorting waste is carried out so that the waste fractions correspond to the municipal waste sorting system. An agreement has also been reached with a private operator in connection with the collection and recycling of waste products from the maintenance facility.

It is recommended that the club's waste handling system be constantly updated to correspond to the municipal system, and that it is constantly investigating to what extent it is possible to increase local purchases. In addition, it is also recommended to focus on recycling grass and other waste products from managing the course.

It is recommended to explore the possibilities for further local shopping including eco-labeled products. Finally, it is recommended to continue to include environmental impact when purchasing machines including mowers.

Pollution Control

All areas including the area for washing machines are designed according to Swedish legislation, so the risks of contamination from these areas are minimized.

Pesticides are stored together with some chemicals in a locked room.

Wastewater from the clubhouse and maintenance facility is lead to the municipal waste water system. Surface water is discarded to the lakes and reused to irrigate to course.

Products like fuel, pesticides and fertilizer are stored according to Swedish legislation.

Overall, there is a very small risk that the golf course poses a risk of pollution of surface water, groundwater and soil.

Community

There is contact with the municipality in connection with managing the woodlands on the course. An annual report is submitted to the municipality including consumptions on the course (i.e. pesticides, water, fertilizer, oil and diesel) as well as results from analyzing the outlet from the lake used as a reservoir for watering the course. In addition, there is contact with the municipality in connection with the supply of further surface water for irrigation.

The club uses to a some extent mails and electronic media when informing club members.

There is limited contact with the neighbors and the press.

In order to further expand the scope of contacts with the community, it is advisable to further investigate the possibilities for connecting school classes to activities on the course. Activities could be playing the course and/or activities concerning the environment on the course.

In addition, it is advisable to try to increase the contact with neighbors and the press so that no myths arise in relation to, for example, environmental impact from managing the course. This information could include environmental actions on the course.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Viksjö Golfklubb has implemented a number of very fine actions to reduce environmental impact from managing the club. Consumption of pesticides is thus very low and reuse of surface water for irrigation of the course is also a very environmental friendly action. An extensive sorting of waste is also being implemented and the club has new machines with low energy consumption. On the other hand, the consumption of electricity is very high. It is therefore recommended to implement a strategy for reducing consumption / purchasing electricity.

The club has no systematic strategy for implementing actions to reduce the environmental impact. An example is the very fine reports that the club has produced in connection with the care of the natural areas around the course. These reports include a number of fine actions that are not implemented systematically in the daily management. It is therefore strongly recommended that a strategy being implemented to ensure that ongoing actions are implemented resulting in an ongoing reduction of the environmental impact from the club's operations. The strategy can advantageously being prepared in cooperation with the club's employees who thus will be involved in environmental work in a very practical way. Such a systematic approach to environmental work will also make it easier to document environmental measures during the period until recertification.

It is also advisable that contact to the surrounding community e.g. neighbors and the press is increased.

This report represents the opinion of an independent environmental professional accredited by GEO. The environmental performance of Viksjö GK was assessed against the GEO Certification criteria.

Based on the above, I Ole Riger-Kusk, GEO Accredited Verifier, recommend that Viksjö GK be awarded GEO Certified status for excellence in environmental management.

Certification Highlights

Low pesticide consumption
Reuse of surface water for irrigation
Extensive sorting of waste for recycling
Investment into new energy efficient technology for course machinery