Prince's Golf Club

GEO Certified® 03/2016
Kent,
England, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01304 611118
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Prince's Golf Club is situated in Sandwich Bay, Kent on a section of coastline that is also home to Royal St George's and Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club.

The Club was originally established in 1906 and over the 110 year history the course has hosted Professional and Amateur tournament as well as the British Army during the Second World War. During this period the course was used as a live firing range, and to this day live munitions occasionally still appear during excavation and course maintenance.

The course was eventually reinstated after being the requisitioned, and in 1949 and the current 3 x 9 hole layout was developed incorporating 17 of the original greens from its original layout. Recent additions to the Club include The Lodge complex for visiting golfers, and also a par-3 course to provide an additional facility for novice golfers and families.

The additions of these facilities go to underline the original concept behind the development of Prince's Golf Club to provide an accessible site to promote and develop new golfers which was seen to be important in the early 1900s, and is certainly a vital element of golf’s survival in the 21st-century.

Nature

The 3 x 9 hole courses that make up the Prince's Golf Club run parallel to the coast and provide a typical open and undulating course that is both beautiful and demanding.

The topsoil is predominantly sandy with some areas of clay, providing fast drainage across the majority of the site, with some wetland areas in the lower lying reaches where groundwater combines with rainfall to increase the variety of habitats provided across the site.

The sand dune complex around the Sandwich Bay area has numerous designations due of the rarity of the combination of sand dune habitat and the resulting ecological diversity.

The result is that Prince's Golf Club provides a refuge for a number of rare and protected species including the Lizard orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum), now used as the logo on stationary and signs. The adoption of such an iconic plant underlines the sympathetic management style and helps to increase understanding amongst members and visitors of the enlightened environmental activities undertaken by the club.

Prince's golf club had been involved in numerous studies and consultations on their site. More importantly, they have promoted and encouraged significant scientific study providing both access, and man-hours, to assist with the observations and field studies undertaken.

The Club have been actively engaged with Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust and Canterbury Christ Church University, in the person of Dr Graham Earl, together with some local organisations and enthusiasts. The result is detailed, and greatly enhanced, knowledge of a nationally important habitat.

Tests being undertaken to understand and identify the best management for the target species and to prevent naturally occurring species being out completed. One long-running testing included test areas with the typical management styles including cut and remove, scrape and burn to help understand the optimal management technique to ensure the continuation, and re-establishment of colonies of the target species within the important great dune habitat.

The conclusions have formed the basis of numerous academic papers, and the adoption of these management technique will be undertaken at Princes over the coming years and at other clubs in the area.

Significant and regular discussions with the various stakeholders, and consultees, have resulted in a truly collaborative approach. The sixth hole on the Himalayas course has been identified by the club as a good example of this collaboration between the club and Natural England. The fairway was moved a short distance due to water logging issues, however the waterlogged area was used to create a wetland habitat area. The result is a better playing experience for the golfers and the creation of additional habitats.

The course is predominantly cultivating and encouraging Festuca rubra and Agrostis tenuis across the golf course, providing more drought resilience given the predominantly sand subsoil. Significant sand top dressing across the course is designed to encourage these species and to assist in the reduction of invasive broad leaflets species that may also negatively impact on the wider plant communities of the grey dunes network.

A combination of management techniques including spiking, slitting and reducing water inputs, is intended to encourage deep rooting and to favour these fine grass species, Benefits to the Club from these management techniques include both reduced water consumption and enhanced playing characteristics

Prince's golf club have introduced a number of projects to enhance wildlife areas and connecting green corridors throughout the course. The latest of these projects incorporates wetland habitat creation together with the use and re-establishment of an area of the course previously cultivate conifer plantation in the early 50s. The project to the side of the clubhouse involves the excavation of a wetland and pond habitat through the use of the resulting sand for top dressing. The area is currently surrounded by pine trees which will be removed and an area of additional habitat will have been created.

The Club also have ambitions to introduce a herd of cattle in an area of dunes being colonised by Sea buckthorn (Hippophae sp.). The nature of the terrain makes mechanical removal almost impossible, however cattle are to be introduced to help graze and breakdown these shrubs to allow native species to re-establish.

Water

Prince's golf club’s water consumption has shown a year-on-year reduction over the three years covered by the Geo certification and it is clear, from discussions with both Course Manager and General Manager, that water has always been considered a valuable resource for the club. Rainfall monitoring is particularly important at Sandwich Bay because of the microclimate resulting in significantly less rainfall than the surrounding areas.

The main club house at Prince’s, together with The Lodge, have potable mains water supply with the wastewater being treated off mains and returned to the 37,000 m³ reservoir for use as irrigation on the course. The maintenance buildings are connected to the mains potable supply, with waste water channelled to a septic tank and collected on a regular basis.

The Lodge was constructed relatively recently and it is clear that they have taken opportunity to specify a range of new technologies to help reduce consumption including dual flush cisterns and PIR sensors on the urinal. It is understood from discussions that the original clubhouse will be upgraded over the next few years with similar technologies being installed to help reduce potable consumption on-site.

The potable supply for club house and Lodge consumption has fallen by nearly 10% over the period reviewed. Irrigation consumption from the reservoir has also fallen year on year which is likely to come from a combination of targeted lower moisture levels and climatic conditions.

Irrigation consumption is being minimised and has already been discussed with the natural environment management programme, to encourage fine turf-grass species, and discourage competition to the target species within the Grey Dunes habitat from being out completed by broadleaf varieties.

Prince's golf club encourage members of staff and other stakeholders to be aware of consumption of resources across energy and water. The course manager issues a monthly newsletter to the members to provide updates on course management issues including the consumption and wider habitat management.

The ongoing programme of upgrades for the existing clubhouse will no doubt assist in reducing the potable consumption over the coming years.

Energy

Prince’s Golf Club energy is supplied by grid electricity and a Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). The building stock on-site varies insofar as the main clubhouse dates back to the mid-1980s and consequently does not benefit from the same insulation that was a requirement of The Lodge building which is a more recent addition.

Grid electricity consumption has increased slightly over the three years of the period due largely to a combination of footfall and changes to building occupation within the main clubhouse. Heating is provided for the clubhouse from a combination of a wet central heating system and electric heaters with clubhouse gas supply coming from LPG.

The Lodge has an electric Air Source Heat Pump providing heating and controlled with advanced room management systems to prevent guests leaving lights on when the rooms are unoccupied.

Discussions are ongoing currently for the possibility of replacement of the maintenance yards which will provide an opportunity to orientate the new buildings in such a way as to potentially benefit from the installation of solar panels stop

The discussions on site with both Course Manager and General Manager have indicated that this is a potential project for inclusion within the next three-year period.

Some of the waste oils used on site are currently collected by the waste contractor and used for the production of bio fuels. It is possible that at some point in the future these oils may be used on site to provide an element of heating.

The Lodge buildings have a number of elements designed in to ensure minimum use of energy. The accommodation rooms have keyless access which require the smartcard to be placed in a holder that includes a sensor which will only allow the room power to be flow once the card is in place. This ensures that lights cannot be left on whilst not occupied by the guest and in addition the rooms have passive infrared sensors on their extractor fans with lighting throughout the building is provided by the LED luminaires

Over the coming years it is the intention of the management to provide upgrades to the existing clubhouse building which clearly was built in a different era and therefore contains older technologies. It is the intention of the management to review the lighting over the next 18 months, and to upgrade throughout the building to the latest version LEDs together with PIR sensors to ensure lights are not left on in areas which are unoccupied.

In a similar way the heating consumption for the clubhouse will be relatively high due to the lower thermal efficiency of the building and its insulation. The insulation may be upgraded, dependent on cost, together with a review of the heating system within the clubhouse. It is likely that there are opportunities which will be addressed by the management to reduce the consumption of LPG for heating purposes as part of the wider review.

Supply Chain

The location of Prince's golf club near sandwich in Kent limits are opportunities for local suppliers in certain supply sectors. The summary of suppliers does show that the purchasing policy implemented encourages the purchasing of food and beverage supplies from local suppliers wherever possible.

The Clubs’ trade contractors currently identify just under a third as being within 10 miles. Their policy does encourage review to promote local procurement wherever possible.

Local supply is encouraged and has been more successful on food and beverage suppliers, and particularly local farm produce for use in the restaurant’s at both Clubhouse and The Lodge.


Certain specialist suppliers are more distant due to the nature of the Club’s geographical location in the extreme south-east of England. However the continuing review process being undertaken will hopefully result result in increasing local supply chain and the local economic multiplier.

Close physical management of the turf grass is designed to to encourage fine grass species which also falls in line with a wider management of the ecology.

Improving soil structure through top dressing, managing thatch levels and reducing the moisture content and irrigation encourage fine grass species from being out completed by broadleaf grass varieties.

Diseases are routinely monitored through visual inspection and previous records highlighting potential stress factors which benefit from preventative applications of pesticides. These preventative applications result in a regular pattern within the data provided.

The recycling element of supply chain management process has resulted in ongoing discussions with suppliers to encourage a reduction in waste and an increased recyclables.

Separation to enhance the value and usability of waste coming from the club, together with a significant composting programme of organic matter allows reuse on the course.

Pollution Control

Prince’s Golf Club sited within a SSSI, SAC and Ramsar site and have a programme of close control to ensure that potential pollution risks are managed.

The maintenance yards are about to be significantly upgraded, and as part of that process additional measures are being suggested to provide increased security to help prevent potential pollution spills and reduce their impacts.

Wastewater from both the clubhouse and The Lodge are recycled and pumped to the reservoir for reuse on the course. The reservoir is tested for water quality annually to ensure that it is compliant and is safe for use in sprinkler irrigation.

Packaged treatment plants are located at The Lodge and clubhouse to treat the sewage and wash water prior to pumping into the reservoir. The systems are proprietary and monitored on a regular basis to ensure efficacy.

Staff training in the handling of chemicals and fertilisers is undertaken with three staff externally Certified. Chemicals and fuels are stored in bunded specifically designed systems, with mixing taking place on a self contained closed loop water recycling pad.

The maintenance area has a significant quantity of diesel which is stored in a double skin funded fuel store with dispensing nozzle, with a raised bunded trays for empty oil containers. Intermediate bulk containers are stored in an area covered for drainage by the closed loop recycling pad to ensure that any spills are retained on-site.

The management operate a system of buffer zones to prevent leaching to watercourse, with an assessment of the wind speed and direction prior to spraying to prevent drift.

Community

Prince’s Golf Club engage with a number of local organisations, charities and educational facilities. This engagement includes the monitoring of species on-site as well as the in leisure, commercial and employment aspects of the game of golf.

Prince’s Golf Club are working with local education and colleges to encourage and promote the golf industry as an employment opportunity for both on course and the catering and service side of the industry.

Direct connections with Thanet College and the Plumpton College provide benefits to club and to the colleges and is a relationship that the Club is keen to continue.

The management and staff have regular discussions on the environment, the importance of Sandwich Bay and the role of Prince’s Golf Club as a custodian. The discussions on sustainability extend across waste, energy reduction and water use, with staff being encouraged to provide suggestions as to more efficient working methods to help reduce the club's environmental impacts.

Prince’s Golf Club have worked extensively with the local Rotary Club, ornithological groups and Canterbury Christ Church University over the years.

The club has a footpath running along the dunes with discussions and consultations with National Authorities regarding the Coastal Path and its route within the course and its surrounds.

The site on which Prince’s Golf Club owes more to natural heritage than many golf clubs based in and around historic estates and parks. It is more appropriate to discuss the natural capital; the value to the natural environment of a site rich in a variety of rare species and habitats which, in historic built environment protection terms, would easily justify Grade 1 listing.

Staff communications include management meeting notes and memos with regular discussions at meetings.

Monthly newsletters form the major part of communications to members and stakeholders.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Prince’s Golf Club is located in a beautiful, but challenging site for a golf course. It provides a beautiful links course with significant challenges for players, course management, natural environment and location.

The level of effort involved in managing, maintaining and improving the natural environment goes well beyond the these requirements, and speaks volumes for all involved in the management of the Club. The Club clearly understand their role as custodians of an important facility for the community, and an extremely rare habitat providing a home to a host of protected species.

The development of the Lodge has incorporated the latest technology, and the plans for the clubhouse refurbishment will no doubt also include the latest innovations. The clear determination from all involved make it very easy for me to allow me to recommend GEO certification without any hesitation.

Certification Highlights

The scientific studies promoted, undertaken and backed by the Club are remarkable and provide detailed knowledge of dune management Prince’s Golf Club. Dr Graham Earl has worked with the Club over many years to show clearly that the golf industry can work with the scientific community to the benefit of both.

The self-reliance of their water supply, in terms their own reservoir and also recycling the water from clubhouse and The Lodge, is unusual bearing in mind the clubhouse was constructed in the mid-1980s this could certainly be considered 30 years ahead of its time.