Golfbaan De Hoge Dijk

GEO Certified® 09/2013 GEO Re-Certified 10/2017
Amsterdam,
Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)294-285373
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Golf course Hoge Dijk clearly demonstrated that sustainable awareness and care for nature development is part of their management philosophy. Over the years the club clearly improved their performance within sustainability boundaries. Where several years ago the focus was clearly on nature development, nowadays this shifted more towards energy-, fertilizer- and chemical use. Being one of the first certified clubs, Hoge Dijk has shown that even after years there is still room for improvement with respect to sustainability issues.

Nature

The 27 holes golf course Hoge Dijk is located south-east of Amsterdam and partly enclosed by highways. The course, located on peaty soil, is intensively maintained, also further away from the playing areas. Despite this intensive maintenance species diversity is still remarkably high. During a two day survey in 2015 over more than 200 plant species and 100 bird species were recorded. In recent years several areas have been designated for the introduction species-rich grasslands. It is the club’s intention to further promote species-rich grasslands. Locations of protected and/or rare plant species have been recorded on a map such that greenkeepers can this into account during their maintenance work. During our course visit we discussed the possibility to extensify maintenance on those spots where the ball is generally not in play. Furthermore the committee indicated that a next survey will be held in 2018/2019. Several years ago the greens consisted out of a fair amount of Poa annua (50%). The last few years the percentage has down to approx. 35%, partly due to re-sowing with specific grass mixtures combined with reduced fertilization rate, and regular hollow tinning and sand dressing.

Water

All playing areas are irrigated regularly and the club only uses surface water for irrigation. The annual irrigation rate varied between 12.000 – 16.000 m3 the last three years, which is very acceptable for a 27 holes course. It is advised to analyze the irrigation rate for greens, tees and fairways separately coming years. Standard measures, like e.g. shower timers, have been taken to keep water usage in clubhouse to a minimum. An internal energy/water audit has taken place and investment costs, pay-back time and final revenues have been properly described. It is their intention to reduce water use in the clubhouse by 1200 m3 by the year 2020.

Energy

Electricity use at the Hoge Dijk is relatively high. Based on the energy audit undertaken recently, measures to reduce it have been properly described in their energy management plan 2017-2022. Special attention is given to lightning of driving range and practise putting green, i.e. the conventional lightning will be replaced by LED lightning. Also special attention is given to energy consuming kitchen equipment. By the end of 2017, beginning of 2018 they will make start to replace the clubhouses’s conventional lightning by LED lightning. Recently Hoge Dijk switched from non-renewable energy to renewable. Clearly Hoge Dijk showed that a reduction of energy use is high on their priority list the coming years.

Supply Chain

Waste is separated according to legislation and collected by a certified company. Until now all clippings from the course were left on the fairways or distributed near the surface waters. Clearly this may lead to eutrophication of the surface waters. In 2017 the club decided to change their waste management with respect to clippings. Several possibilities, like e.g. composting are now being analyzed and it is stated in their action plan 2017-2020 and discussed during my visit that an alternative for the present way of dealing with clippings should have come into action by 2018/2019. As for many golf clubs in the Netherlands, fertilization rates and the use of pesticides has been greatly reduced over the years. This also holds for Hoge Dijk. Not only out of financial reasons and abandonment of specific chemicals, but also out of greater awareness for the environmental effects of chemicals and fertilizers. Specifically, Hoge Dijk reduced their rates of fertilization over the years to further decrease the presence of fungi-susceptible grasses like Poa annua. It is their goal to further reduce the presence of Poa below 25% of the surface area of the greens.

Pollution Control

All use and storage of chemicals and fertilizer complies with Dutch legislation. Chemicals are stored in a locked ventilated cupboard and machines are cleaned on regularly inspected impervious floors. The effect of chemical use on the environment, specifically insects, is now being analysed by students from Nijmegen University. Also Hoge Dijk participates in this research, and is one of locations of this research activity.

Community

Several public footpaths are present on the course. Further, the club offers artist to exhibit their work along the footpaths. The club also offers opportunities for bee-keepers to install beehives on their premises. For consultation on environmental and nature issues Hoge Dijk relies on both commercial and non-organizations. Members are informed on sustainability and nature issues via the regular channels, i.e. website, Facebook and newsletters.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Over the years, golf course Hoge Dijk has shown that sustainability issues are part of their philosophy and that they are still improving. I, Adrie van der Werf, therefore recommend golf course to be re-awarded with the GEO sustainabilty certificate.

Certification Highlights

Provides space opportunities for beekeepers and their beehives
More than 200 plant species and 100 bird species recorded present
Location map of protected areas and species to inform course management
Collaboration with Nijmegen University to study the effects of chemical use on insects
Energy audit and resource management plan to cover the next 5 years
Water audit to advise on reducing consumption in the clubhouse
Plan to introduce and promote species-rich grasslands