Frilford Heath

GEO Certified® 07/2016
Abingdon,
England, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01865 390864
Frilford_heath_image_club_image

Frilford Heath Golf Club is a large golf club that encompasses a nationally important Site of Scientific Interest. As such, the course management is aligned to the conservation of this natural heritage whilst promoting a high quality golf facility. It has taken the opportunity to implement a wide range of environmental and sustainability initiatives as well as identifying future opportunities for improvement. this assessment has concluded that Frilford Heath Golf Club should receive GEO Certification.

Matt Johns, GEOSA, Accredited Verifier Read verifier report.

GEO Certified® Report

GEO Certified® is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide – designating that a golf facility has met a credible standard in the areas of nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control, and community, and is committed to continually improve. GEO Certified® is widely trusted and endorsed by a growing number of organizations and people, both inside and outside golf.

Click below to read about the activities undertaken by this golf facility to operate sustainably.

Facility details

Golf Courses
Red (18 holes, 7015 yards, year opened 1908)
Green (18 holes, 6015 yards, year opened 1927)
Blue (18 holes, 6750 yards, year opened 1994)
1 Clubhouse(s)
2 Maintenance Facility/Facilities
3 Practice Facility/Facilities
1 Halfway House(s)

Nature

Frilford Heath, Ponds and Fens was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1950. The SSSI encompasses 110 Hectares of land on which is situated Frilford Heath Golf Club. There are three golf courses, the Red, Green and Blue Courses. The SSSI includes all of the Red and Green golf courses and extends onto a third or so of the Blue Course, in effect only 25% of the Golf Clubs land is not part of the designation.

In 2009 a Condition Assessment was made of the Frilford Heath, Ponds & Fens by Natural England and they deemed the status of the SSSI as 'unfavourable'. This resulted in the STRI working alongside Natural England and the Club to formulate a management plan to allow for the areas of concern to be addressed.

This management plan or prescription included a significant amount of work and hence was turned into a 10 year working document. These spreadsheets have been uploaded as they clearly identify the seriousness with which this environmental work is being tackled. The Club are a significant way through this process. It is clear the the Head Greenkeeper is very passionate about re-instating the valuable habitats for which the SSSI designation was made and all of this work is completed in addition to the more routine management of three golf courses and the presentation of a first class golf facility.

Consultation & Surveys

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding landscape heritage conservation:

  • Natural England
  • The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI)

The following landscape assessments and surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Report on surveying of different habitats and species undertaken for Natural England Susan Erskine & Camilla Lambrick 2010/11/01
Ecological Management Plan Red Course Frilford Heath Golf Club 2010/01/01
Ecological Management Plan Blue Course Frilford Heath Golf Club 2010/01/01
Ecological Management Plan Green Course Frilford Heath Golf Club 2010/01/01

This golf facility consults the following organizations regarding ecosystem protection and enhancement:

  • Natural England
  • STRI

The following ecological surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Initial Bat Survey Freddy Brookes 2010/04/13
Invetebrate Survey 2010 - 2011 Matthew Smith 2011/09/02
SSSI Notification for FRILFORD HEATH, PONDS AND FENS Natural England 1977/01/03

Rare, protected and notable species occurring at this golf facility:

Local name Scientific name
striated catchfly Silene conica
maiden pink Dianthus deltoides
smooth cat's ear Hyperchoeris glabra
shepherd's cress Teesdalia nudicaulis
spring vetch Vicia lathyroides
hoary cinquefoil Potentilla argentea
field mouse ear Cerastium arvense
birds foot Ornithopus perpusillus
annual clover Trifolium striatum
dense silky bent Apera interrupta
mat grass fescue Nardurus maritimus
solitary eumenid wasp Microdynerus exilis
uncommon solitary bee Panurgus bankianus
fly Cheilosia mutabalis
fly Epsitrophe diaphana
scarlet tiger moth Panaxia dominula
common comfrey Symphytum officinale
blunt flowered rush Juncus subnodulosus
black bog rush Schoenus nigricans
spike rush Eleocharis quinqueflora
bog pimpernel Anagallis tenella
common butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris
adder's tonhue Ophioglossum vulgatum
cotton grass Eriophorum latiofolium
marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris
southern marsh orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa
early marsh orchid Dactylorhiza incarnata
fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea densiflora
narrow leaved marsh orchid Dactylorhiza traunsteineri
common green bryum moss Bryum pseudotriquetrum

This golf facility does not monitor any species as indicators of environmental quality.

Habitats & Designations

This golf facility features the following landscape designations:

Description Designating Authority
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Natural England
Local Wildlife Site (LWS) Natural England

Area of habitats / vegetation types, and associated designations at this golf facility:

Title Estimated Area (Hectares) Designation
Calcareous Fen 2 National Government
Lowland dry acid grassland with heathland 7 None
Dry Acid Grassland with Heathland 110 National Government
Rough 'ecological' grassland 20 None

Turfgrass

Size and estimated species composition of amenity turfgrass maintained at this golf facility.

Estimated Area (Hectares) Turfgrass Species Sward Composition (%)
Greens 3.0 Hectares Poa annua 60%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 40%
Tees 3.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 30%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 70%
Fairways 50.0 Hectares Festuca rubra 60%
Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 40%
Semi Rough 10.0 Hectares Agrostis tenuis / capillaris 30%
Festuca rubra 70%

These turfgrasses are optimal for the circumstances at this club because:
This golfing facility is maintained for year round golf and it is important to present the golf courses to a high standard 12 months of the year. These grasses have developed over time in response to the local soils, environmental pressures and ongoing maintenance and generally are well able to cope with the variety of stresses placed upon them.

This golf facility assesses mowing patterns every: 1 years

This golf facility consults the following individuals / organizations regarding its grassing plan:

  • Paul Woodham, STRI Agronomist

This golf facility is making the following efforts to manage the playing quality expectations of customers:

Activity Description
Establishing clear internal policies for irrigation, fertilization, colour, cutting heights, overseeding etc The Head Greenkeeper makes the key decisions on how best to achieve a high standard of visual presentation, playability and playing quality of the prepared courses. The Head Greenkeeper works with the General Manager, Greens Committee and the three 1st Assistants to achieve this.
Promoting the playing quality values of more naturalized turf, particularly fairways and semi-rough The philosophy behind course management practices is traditional greenkeeping, favouring the low fertility, low disturbance and minimal irrigation approach to naturally favour the desirable grasses that should naturally be present in this acid grassland/heathland environment and which provide such excellant surfaces for year round golf.
Promoting the financial benefits of presenting sustainable surfaces The management regime which favours the grasses that are promoted here is also regarded as sustainable greenkeeping and consequently there are financial and environmental benefits to following this model.
Improving customer understanding around greens maintenance The General Manager circulates a weekly newsletter to Club members to provide information on the reasons for certain maintenance treatments particularly for any maintenance planned that might impact on the golfing experience. Information is also circulated through the Club's website and social media.
Demonstrating the direct relationship between environmental best practice and year round high quality playing surfaces It has been proven through research and field experience over many years that managing turf for golf through environmentally sound, sustainable practices based around minimal fertiliser and irrigation practices, good drainage, reduced disturbance and effective aeration and top dressing practices works extremely well in producing high quality turf that performs well year round.

Conservation & Enhancement

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve landscape character:

Activity Description
Allowing seasonal variation of course coloration and texture Large areas of all three courses have significant parts maintained as eco rough where mowing frequency is once or twice a year. Acid grassland is ideal habitat to show off seasonal variations of colour and texture, the perfect backdrop to more intensively managed areas of close mown turf. Hare, partridge and skylarks are a few examples of wildlife that need this type of grassland cover.
Appropriately matching mowing lines to contours Holes are designed and mown to flow naturally through the site following natural and original contouring.
Protection and restoration of historic features Not relevant.
Discreet on-course signage and furniture Signage is kept to a minimum, there are discreet wooden benches in some areas.
Conservation of specimen trees There is only the odd specimen tree on the site. The occassional Scots Pine was planted 50 or so years ago to improve the strategy of individual holes. As a general rule Natural England demand indigenous planting only.
Screening and softening unsightly man-made features The Blue greenkeeping complex has been screened off with planting from passing golfers to maintain the aesthetics of the playing environment. There has also been some planting to protect those using the practice ground from stray golf balls off the course.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the landscape ecology of the golf course:

Activity Description
Minimizing the amount of amenity grass This was the intention of the original course layouts and also the direction form Natural England in the management of the SSSI.
Increasing the size of habitat patches Valuable habitats are maintained and managed appropriately, increasing size where course design permits. This is something addressed by the SSSI management prescription and has included projects such as reestablishing original fens through tree removal etc.
Connection of internal habitat patches There are wildlife corridors maintained across the site. Blackwater and Pilling Brooks traverse the site and these also provide valuable linking corridors.
Connection of patches with external habitats Unfortunately it is more difficult to link with outside habitats off the courses as the site is bordered on all sides by busy roads and stone walls.
Creation of habitat corridors Constant maintenance of habitat corridors is something that is included in the long term management plan and work programme.
Avoidance of habitat fragmentation This is something that also forms a part of the management prescription for the site.
Improving and diversifying habitat edges Wood edge habitats have been identified and subsequently improved through the management prescription. The SSSI designation and extensive amount of work completed in the past few years is testament to the commitment of staff and Club Committee's to increase the value of the very important habitats found on this incredible site.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to improve the quality of habitats on the golf course:

Activity Description
Creation of botanically rich rough grassland This continues to develop over time through processes including the annual Amazone Groundkeeper cut and collect process, widescale tree removal and acid grasslandmanagement. This holistic approach has been guided by Ecologists including Lee Penrose, STRI and driven by the Head Greenkeeper and his staff.
Ecologically informed management of scrub vegetation Advice has been received over recent years by a number of ecology specialists including those from Natural England and STRI to assist the greenstaff and the Club more widely in developing good management practices.
Promoting species and structurally diverse woodlands On this particular site some wood edge habitat work has been completed however woodland management and species diversity has not been as important as re-establlishing the quality of the acid grassland and fenland areas.
Establishment of littoral shelves and marginal vegetation in wetland areas Pond management of the streams, ponds and wetland areas is carefully planned, taking account of current good practice. This work sits under the umbrella plan for the site as directed by Natural England.
Maintenance of an appropriate balance of open water and aquatic vegetation Ponds are managed to ensure there is an effective balance between vegetation and open water. This is managed on a programme of rotation.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve and enhance biodiversity on the golf course:

Activity Description
Provision of nesting and nectar for pollinators The Club are to look at the practicalities of introducing Operation Pollinator and if there is the space to do this and no conflict arises with Natural England this is something that the Club are interested in pursuing.
Installation of nest boxes There are at least 12 bird boxes, 8 bat boxes and 2 Barn Owl boxes on site.
Provision of feeding tables There are no feeding tables planned.
Control / management of alien species Ragwort is picked annually. Himalayan Balsam spreads onto site as it is not being managed upstream and is a constant problem to address.
Provision of hibernation areas This is a project for the future.
Creation of micro-habitats (eg log and stone piles) Where woodland thinning or felling has been done a significant proportion of the felled trees have been retained and stockpiled as eco-piles where this is situated within woodland areas. The intention being to provide important habitat conditions for insects, fungi, rodents, mosses and lichens, reptiles and amphibians.

Water

The Clubhouse, Greenkeeping Maintenance Facilities and the Stewards Cottage are all on mains water supply.

Water for the three golf courses comes from Pilling Brook. Water is pumped into a purpose built reservoir and this supplies the irrigation systems as required.

The abstraction licence permits 35 m3 per hour, 568 m3 per day, 46,000 m3 per year. The quantity of water that can be extracted means that there is only sufficient water to irrigate greens and tees. This ties in with the irrigation philosophy of only applying low quantities of water during dry spells to maintain turf health or to help with maintenance treatments.

There is a borehole known as Sandy Wood but it not used due to low flow rates and low yields. No water has been abstracted from this borehole for over three years.

The irrigation systems are due to be replaced in time with a new irrigation design. The design work has been completed and plans are in place. The new system will allow for a more efficient watering system for the courses with more efficient use of applied water.


The water consumption data shown below for the golf course is the total consumption figure for water used across the 54 holes on site. The set up of the irrigation systems, resevoir and pump system does not allow data to be grouped according to individual course. The approach or philosophy to watering as well as very similar green construction types means that almost identical amounts of water are used on each course during the year.

The Clubhouse is due to be renovated or rebuilt and there are plans to start this building work in the short term. The new Clubhouse will be designed to take advantage of modern technology in respect of reducing water usage. At present it has not been possible to make significant changes to or investment in infrastructure knowing that a new Clubhouse is to be built.

Sources & Consumption

No water audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

The water used at this golf facility is drawn from the following sources:

2015 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,692,000 Litres
Golf Course Surface 100% 36,672,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 920,000 Litres
Other Public / Potable 100% 1,179,000 Litres
2014 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,117,000 Litres
Golf Course Surface 100% 37,417,500 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 920,000 Litres
Other Public / Potable 100% 886,000 Litres
2013 Source(s) % of supply Total Consumption
Clubhouse(s) Public / Potable 100% 2,415,000 Litres
Golf Course Surface 100% 40,764,000 Litres
Maintenance Facility/Facilities Public / Potable 100% 920,000 Litres
Other Public / Potable 100% 910,000 Litres

Irrigation & Efficiency

The following areas receive irrigation at this golf facility:

Greens Weekly
Tees Weekly
Fairways Never
Semi-Rough Never
Rough Never

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:
Fully computer controlled

The irrigation system at this golf facility is:

Serviced every 1 years

Upgraded every 3 years

Re-calibrated and checked for efficient application every 1 months

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to maximize irrigation efficiency:

Activity Description
Selection of grass species There is a proactive bentgrass greens overseeding programme currently being undertaken to develop a more stress tolerant, including drought tolerant, sward to be developed. Improving sward species composition is a key objective in the short to medium future.
Soil decompaction and thatch management There is an effective aeration programme in place. Demonstrating the Club's committment to effective soil management the Club have been the first to purchase a VGR Topchanger machine from Campey Turfcare. This machine combines the actions of aeration and sand filling in one efficient action allowing organic matter reduction to be achived with minimal disruption to putting surface quality.
Timing and dose of water application Use is made of a pre-water cycle to prime greens surfaces ahead of the main irrigation cycle. Watering is done at night time to maximise infiltration and minimise evaporation of applied water.
Analysis of soil moisture The Club have their own Delta T Theta Kit and monitor moisture content weekly during spring and summer across a number of indicator greens on the three courses. Visual observation is also used and along with with the data collected allows sound, informed decisions to be made in respect of water use.
Incorporation of evapotranspiration rates and weather data Unfortunately the Club do not have a weather station nor evapotranspiration (ET) data available. This is something that will be considered in the future alongside the planned installation of a new irrigation system to all three courses.
Use of wetting agents There is a robust wetting agent programme in place with applications to all greens budgeted for from April to September. Alongside regular aeration and sensible irrigation inputs this works well to present putting surfaces good playing characteristics even in dry weather.
Overall reduction in irrigated area At present only a relatively small area of the site is irrigated, consequently there are no plans to alter the areas which are watered.
Targeting of sprinkler heads At present the system uses 360° sprinkler heads, watering full circles even when not required. There are detailed plans for a new irrigation design although the timing for proceeding with this significant investment has not been agreed. The new system will employ targeted sprinkler heads to ensure a more efficient system to maximise the benefits of the available water in terms of turf health.
Optimizing system pressure This is monitored continually to ensure the system is working under optimum conditions.
Adoption of cutting edge nozzle technology Upgrades take advantage of new technology and are completed as required to maximise the efficiency of the existing system.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to conserve / reduce / minimize water consumption:

Activity Description
Low-flow urinals and toilets The Clubhouse is due to be redeveloped or possibly rebuilt completely. This has an impact on the level of work that is appropriate in the short term. Clearly any new bathroom facilities would be designed to ensure water consumption is reduced, however in the meantime sensors have been installed on the urinals to reduce water wastage. There have also been some minor adjustments to toilets to reduce water use by reducing the amount of water used in a single flush.
Use of water efficient appliances There are timers installed on hand washing facilities through the Clubhouse however in respect of installation of wider use of water efficient appliances this is also tied in to the redevelopment of a new Clubhouse.
Use of efficient shower technology The Clubhouse redevelopment plans have reduced the level of work and investment that is appropriate in the short term. Any new shower facilities would be designed to ensure water use is minimised through efficient technology.
Repairing leaks One of the Club's members is a plumber and he carries out any Clubhouse repairs that are required quickly and efficiently.
Water awareness signage Within the existing Clubhouse and Greenkeeping Complexes there is at present no water awareness signage in place. This is an area that the Club will look to address.

Energy

The completion of a TRACTOR audit in 2010 highlighted areas the Club should initially look at. Indeed in 2014 LED lighting was installed across the Clubhouse and has already resulted in significant financial savings.

The Club are fully aware of the environmental and financial benefits of investing in additional technology to further reduce energy and resource use. At present the Club are in the middle of planning a Clubhouse redevelopment project with the intention to rebuild the existing or build a completely new Clubhouse within the next couple of years. As a result plans to invest in new technology within the existing old Clubhouse have limited value and additional improvement work is on hold.

On the golf courses vehicles are run on diesel as this is the most cost effective fuel at present. There is one electric utility vehicle however there are power issues for electric vehicles when working across this very large site. In time this technology will improve and there will be more options for the Club to consider.

The Club are aware of the environmental benefits of promoting car sharing, public transport and cycling to and from the Club - be this for members or staff however the site location severely restricts what is practical. The Club is located in countryside 7 miles outside Oxford. Access is only from fast unlit A-roads with no pavements. The Club is not on a major bus network and there are no bus stops nearby. There is very little affordable housing close to the Club and for many staff they are working unsocial hours.

Sources & Consumption

The following energy surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility:

Title Author Date View document
Tractor Audit Environmental Information Exchange 2010/03/01

Consumption of renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2015 2014 2013
Biogas (Litres) 0 0 0
Biomass 0 0 0
First Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0 0
Hydrogen (Litres) 0 0 0
On-site Hydro (kWh) 0 0 0
On-site Solar (kWh) 0 0 0
On-site Wind (kWh) 0 0 0
Renewable Grid Electricity (kWh) 0 0 0
Second Generation Bio-Fuels (Litres) 0 0 0
Wood from sustainable sources 0 0 0

Consumption of non-renewable energy and resources at this golf facility:

2015 2014 2013
Coal 0 0 0
Diesel (Litres) 28524 27750 35000
Heating Oil (Litres) 0 0 0
Hydraulic Oil (Litres) 0 0 0
LPG (Litres) 20000 16403 17070
Natural Gas (Litres) 0 0 0
Non-renewable Grid (kWh) 175777 247006 275249
Petrol (Litres) 28524 27750 35000
Propane / Butane (Litres) 0 0 0
Wood from unsustainable sources 0 0 0

Energy Efficiency

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to diversify energy and fuel supply:

Activity Description
Adoption of green tariff grid supply This will be reconsidered as a part of the Clubhouse redevelopment.
Installation of small scale wind turbine The site designation as SSSI means that wind turbines cannot be considered.
Installation of photovoltaic and / or solar panels This was considered when converting the Barn to a greenkeeping complex for the Blue Course however taking into account the lifespan of the Barn this was not financially viable. There are plans however to look at installing photo voltaic panels when replacing the reservoir liner.
Use of geothermal and / or ground sources This is already being considered as a part of the plans for Clubhouse redevelopment.
Use of electric hybrid vehicles The Club have an electric Toro Workman utility vehicle. Additional electric vehicles have been considered but when working across such a large site there is a power issue and consequently electric hybrid vehicles are not being used at the present time.
Use of recycled oils The Club are on a Toro course machinery contract and at present none of their engines are able to use recycled oils. Consequently recycling of oils is achieved through an external contractor.

This golf facility is undertaking the following activities to reduce energy consumption:

Activity Description
Investment in low-energy heating and air conditioning systems Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Optimizing thermostat levels for heating and refrigeration Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Enhancement of natural ventilation opportunities Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Upgrading of building insulation Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Use of natural light (e.g. sunlight pipes) Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Installation of low-energy lighting The TRACTOR report of 2010 uploaded to this application highlighted the potential financial savings from installing LED lighting throughout the Clubhouse. This was installed in 2014 and there has already been a £7,000 saving showing in the 2015 electricity bills.
Use of motion sensor lighting Motion sensor lighting is already installed in the Mens and Ladies Locker Rooms as well as in the machinery workshops in the greenkeeping complexes. Use will be extended more widely in the new Clubhouse.
Transition to energy efficient appliances Scheduled for the new Clubhouse.
Use of timers with appliances, heating and lighting In the car parks and buggy store lights are on timers and set to operate outside of daylight hours. Timers are used elsewhere as appropriate and again more use of this will be made in the redesign of the Clubhouse.
Educating staff and customers For staff there is informal education whilst educating golfers in not considered a priority at present.

Vehicles & Transport

The maintenance fleet at this golf facility uses the following fuel sources:

Ride-on Mowers Walking Mowers Utility Vehicles
Petrol 0% 0% 0%
Diesel 100% 100% 90%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 0% 0% 10%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

Additional vehicles operated by this golf facility use the following fuel sources:

Golf Carts Cars Buses
Petrol 0% 0% 0%
Diesel 100% 0% 0%
LPG 0% 0% 0%
Grid Electric 0% 0% 0%
Micro Renewable 0% 0% 0%
Hybrid 0% 0% 0%
Hydrogen 0% 0% 0%

This golf facility has established the following schemes to encourage reductions in staff and customer transport emissions:

Activity Description
Car sharing incentives This is a great idea but very difficult to develop. There is very little affordable housing close to the Club so staff have to travel in from a large area. With Clubhouse and Course staff working such different hours this further limits opportunity for a scheme. Car sharing has therefore not been a practical option.
Group transportation (e.g. buses) For the reason explained above group transportation is not feasible.
Secure cycle parking Two members of staff cycle and there is secure parking. However cycling is not promoted due to the very fast and dark A-roads that border the course. Cycling, especially in the dark, is considered to be unsafe.
Promoting public transport routes and timetables The location of the Club is away from any main bus routes and there is no bus stop nearby. There is an occasional bus but this is unreliable. As a result no staff are able to use public transport for work.
Increasing equipment storage (e.g. lockers) All staff have secure lockers.
Staff showers There are staff showers available for use.
Tax breaking incentives for cycling These are not adopted due to the concerns about the safety of cycling to and from work.
Promotion of walk to work campaigns Walking to work is not feasible for a number of reasons and is therefore not promoted. The Club is located in the countryside and there is little affordable housing nearby. The access roads are fast A-roads and do not have pavements or street lighting. Staff have to travel long distances.

Supply Chain

Providing Clubhouse services for three golf courses, a large membership and significant visitors, requires efficient and effective management in terms of purchasing. To support three golf courses the machine and material demands are also significant and here too efficient management of requirements is key. The Club are part of a buying group Material Matters to facilitate efficient purchasing and reduced costs.

The location of the Club 7 miles outside of Oxford away from routine delivery routes restricts options for local purchasing policies although these are used when delivery times, quantities, price and quality requirements can be met.

The approach to turf maintenance is traditional with a strong emphasis on cultural techniques to manage pests and diseases. If required well proven, effective plant protection products including selective herbicides and fungicides are applied to maintain high quality turf condition.

The fertiliser programme is fundamental to this approach with only low levels of nitrogen applied to greens and tees. The rest of the golf course is not fertilised - maintenance through these areas concentrates on aeration and managing turf stress. This programme favours the desirable grasses that do so well on this type of free-draining site and provides high quality playing surface to support year round play.

There are appropriate and effective waste management policies in place across the business. Waste management contracts are well established with recycling completed wherever possible. On the golf courses green waste including grass clippings is composted and reused through an on-site facility.

Purchasing Policies

This golf facility undertakes the following ethical / environmental purchasing activities:

Activity Description
Measures to avoid waste at source Frilford Heath operate a just in time philosophy to reduce stock holding and eliminate waste.
Use of local suppliers The location of the site outside of usual delivery routes and the large quantities required (particularly in respect of food) makes it difficult to use local companies. Whilst the Club like this philosophy it isn't always practical. The Club have found it to be financially beneficial to join a buying group, Material Matters, and this is providing financial benefits and ensuring delivery of supplies as required.
Use of local products Where using local produce fits within the pricing structure and fits within quantities needed and delivery ranges for local producers this occurs. This applies across the organisation from food to sand supplies.
Selection of certified products Certified products are used where these are available and fit into the purchasing
Use of recycled and recyclable products The Greenkeeping Complex has their own composting area to allow for the recycling of grass clippings, cores, old sand and soil materials from the courses and turn them into a product to be reused across the site.
Selection of products that feature minimal packaging The Club consider this where possible for example course materials including sands as well as vegetables for the Clubhouse are delivered loose and free from packaging.
Use of accredited suppliers (e.g. ISO 14001) This factor can influence the selection of a particular supplier, but this is not the predominant factor as price and quality are seen as priorities.

Supply Chain

An overview of the supplier network at this golf facility:

Total number of suppliers Total number of suppliers within 10 Kilometres Total number of suppliers within 100 Kilometres
Food & Beverage 220 40 157
Catering Supplies 133 27 95
Retail
Trade & Contractors 10 6 3
Maintenance Equipment 3 1 2
Course Supplies 29 18 10

Turfgrass Inputs

This golf facility undertakes the following IPM activities:

Activity Description
Encouraging drought and disease tolerant grasses These desirable grasses are encouraged by maintaining low organic matter levels in the upper 0-40 mm profile in particular. Regular aeration treatments to promote rooting and allow uniform infiltration of rain or irrigation water. Good cultural greenkeeping practices including low nitrogen fertiliser inputs.
Managing stress and wear Through a sensible proactive wetting agent programme and appropriate irrigation to reduce drought stress and promote healthy growth and recovery. Manage traffic wear patterns through hooping, or ropes and posts, as necessary to transfer damage away from vulnerable areas especially in winter months. Direct drill over seeding programmes to reestablish turf through weakened areas.
Enhancement of soil structure The Club recently purchased a VGR Top Changer to improve soil structure by increasing sand content and associated pore space in the upper profile. Verti-draining continues to be an important element of maintaining well structured well draining soils at depth. Sand top dressing in conjunction with aeration work (hollow coring, solid tining, Verti-draining) where required to improve surface drainage.
Optimization of the growing environment This is a key objective, using proven greenkeeping techniques to produce and then retain well drained, well structured soil profiles beneath all playing surfaces - greens but also extending to surrounds, tees, fairways, semi rough and rough areas.
Managing thatch levels This work is focused on greens. Traditionally hollow coring with 8-10 mm tines has been completed as a part of the annual maintenance however with the recent purchase of the VGR Top Changer it will be possible for thatch levels to be reduced further with minimal disruption to play.
Managing surface moisture The Delta T Theta Kit moisture meter is used weekly to monitor moisture content on key greens. This data is supported by visual observations of turf colour and vigour. In addition regular aeration, wetting agents and use of irrigation to supplement rainfall if required allow the moisture contents to be managed at appropriate levels.
Establishing thresholds for pests and disease The time of year, weather conditions and long term forecast are considered. Any alerts in the press or media for particular pest/disease activity are taken into account. As is strength of grass growth at the time to allow for any recovery of damaged areas. All of this information is considered and a threshold for pest and disease activity is decided at any one particular time. Action may or indeed may not involve pesticides.
Scouting for pests and diseases All greenstaff maintain a close watch on turfgrass areas particularly when specific disease or pest pressures are high. Any concerns are fed back to the 1st Assistants who decide on any action required.
Monitoring / improvement of plant health Visual monitoring of plant health particularly colour and vigour is a part of day-to-day greenkeeping practices. Particular attention is paid when mowing areas and especially greens.

Fertilizer use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2015 2014 2013
Fairways - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - K - Organic 0 0 0
Fairways - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - N - Organic 0 0 0
Fairways - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Fairways - P - Organic 0 0 0
Greens - K - Inorganic 153 153 153
Greens - N - Inorganic 105 105 105
Greens - P - Inorganic 27 27 27
Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - K - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - N - Organic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Inorganic 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - P - Organic 0 0 0
Tees - K - Inorganic 138 138 138
Tees - N - Inorganic 258 258 258
Tees - P - Inorganic 27 27 27

Pesticide use at this golf facility in the last three years (kg):

2015 2014 2013
Fairways - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Fairways - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Fairways - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Fairways - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Fairways - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 43.2 43.2 43.2
Fairways - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 1 1 1
Greens - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 7.59 7.59 7.59
Greens - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 7 7 7
Greens - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Greens - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Greens - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 8.16 8.16 8.16
Greens - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 2 2 2
Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Fungicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Semi-Rough - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 0 0 0
Tees - Fungicide - Active Ingredient 0 0 0
Tees - Herbicide - Active Ingredient 9.36 9.36 9.36
Tees - Herbicide - Number of applications per year 1 1 1
Tees - Insecticide - Active Ingredient 24.48 24.48 24.48
Tees - Insecticide - Number of applications per year 2 2 2

This golf facility undertakes the following actions to optimize pesticide use:

Activity Description
Selection on the least toxic and lest persistent products The Club discuss pesticide requirements with the BASIS qualified sales representative and with their advice select the right product to achieve the necessery outcome with the lowest toxicity and persistence impact.
Selection of appropriate products for specific pests and diseases Understanding the environment in which there is a problem is a first step. Appropriate cultural control methods are a routine part of the greenkeeping maintenance programme to minimise potential damage from pests and diseases. Should the use of a product become required advice from a BASIS qualified sales representative is always taken.
Spot-treatment with handheld sprayers and wipers This is considered but often not the most appropriate way forward. Hand weeding is preferred to spot spraying with handheld equipment.
Calibration and testing of sprayers The Club have purchased a new Toro computer controlled sprayer to further improve spraying efficiency. This machine also significantly reduces the potential for sprayer error.
Use of shrouded sprayer and anti-drip nozzles The new Toro sprayer recently purchased by the Club has a covered (shrouded) boom further improving accuracy and reducing drift.
Non-chemical weed control Hand weeding is employed across the site as needed. Ragwort is a key weed that is hand pulled annually as necessary.
Use of organic and biological products to improve plant health and resistance. The Club use a range of plant health promoting products from Headland Amenity to promote healthy growth. This is recognised to be an important part of the greens maintenance programme and has been very successful in improving plant health. As an example seaweed is applied throughout the year.

Waste Management

No waste audits have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility manages key waste streams as follows:

Re-use Recycle Landfill Incinerate
Glass false true false false
Plastic false true false false
Aluminium false true false false
Metal false true false false
Paper & Cardboard true true false false
Grass Clippings true false false false
Cores & Turf true false false false
Sand true false false false
Wood / Timber true false false false

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to continue the lifecycle of materials and resources:

Activity Description
Separation of recyclable materials On the golf courses there are collective bins for golfers rubbish. In the Greenkeeping complexes the Workshops separate oils and filters from machines for recycling. The bulk of this is plastic drinks bottles and these are recycled. On the Clubhouse side of the business glass, cardboard, food waste and general waste are separated at source.
Establishment of recycling centers On the Course side there is a green waste recycling centre for grass clippings, soils and sands and other green waste from the courses. The Club as a whole have contracts with waste management companies including Greenzone and BIFFA to collect and recycle materials. The contractors bins are situated in the Clubhouse and Greenkeeping Complexes as appropriate.
Returning clipping to fairways and walkways These areas are mown regularly and clippings are not boxed off, clippings are returned.
Education of staff and customer education The Club aim to educate staff through their training and day to day work. It is more difficult to educate members and visitors, especially with the very high numbers of visitors the Club receives.
Waste awareness campaigns There have been no waste awareness campaigns run to date.

Pollution Control

The introduction by Natural England of of a prescription for the management of the SSSI site in 2009 has seen areas returned to highly valued habitats including calcareous fen and lowland dry acid grassland with heathland. The Club are now able to balance the management and needs of these valuable ecosystems alongside the management of the Club and the needs of the golfers. This Club have demonstrated a commitment to investing significant resources in restoring and enhancing the quality of this important local environment.

The site is managed through a combination of traditional greenkeeping methods blended with the best of proven modern techniques particularly in respect of new equipment. There remains an emphasis on minimal fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation inputs as well as regular year round aeration. This approach ensures turf condition and the quality of the playing surfaces remain very natural and blend well into this beautiful setting.

All activities relating to the management of this site are fully considered to ensure any potential for pollution is minimised throughout the year.

There are three golf courses at this facility. The Red and Green Courses are serviced by the original Greenkeeping Complex. The third Blue Course is maintained from a newer greenkeeping facility based at The Barn. There is a closed loop washdown pad for cleaning machinery and the two maintenance facilities discharges waste water to septic tanks emptied regularly by Oxford Council. The Clubhouse and Stewards Cottage discharge to mains sewers.

Water Analysis

This golf facility monitors water quality with the following frequency:

Chemical Biological Visual
Inflow Never Never Weekly
On-Site Never Three Yearly Weekly
Outflow Never Never Weekly

Waste Water

Waste water from this golf facility is managed as follows:

Discharges to Formal Discharge Agreement
Golf Course Stream N/A
Clubhouse Mains Sewer N/A
Maintenance Facility Septic Tank N/A
Wash Pad Closed Loop Recycling N/A

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials at this golf facility are handled and disposed of as follows:

Secure Storage Registered Uplift
Detergents true true
Cooking Oils true true
Lubricants true true
Pesticide Containers true true
Fertiliser Bags true true
Oil Filters true true
Batteries true true

Pollution Prevention

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution from its maintenance facility and clubhouse:

Activity Description
Storage of equipment and hazardous products on covered, sealed impervious areas Diesel, petrol and chemical plant protection products are kept at both greenkeeping complexes within dedicated, controlled, bunded areas.
Maintenance of equipment on covered, sealed impervious areas There are two full time mechanics and all maintenance of equipment carried out on site is completed within one of the two dedicated workshops based at The Barn. The Club have close ties with local machine dealerships and some maintenance of equipment occurs at their off-site locations.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers in covered areas Fertilisers are all purchased as proprietary products, ready mixed and ready to be applied.
Mixing of pesticides and fertilizers over impervious surfaces Plant protection products are used to fill the sprayer over the closed loop recycling wash pad to avoid any potential for contamination.
Installation of above-ground fuel tanks Diesel and petrol is stored in purpose built above ground fuel tanks in bunded areas. There is one old below ground petrol store tank. This is monitored closely by the mechanics taking regular dip readings.
Installation of sufficient secondary containment for fuel Fuel tanks are bunded to contain any fuel spillages or leaks.
Provision of containment booms and absorbent materials There are fuel spill kits, sand buckets and absorbent sheets available for the prompt containmnet of any spillages or leaks.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to prevent pollution on its golf course:

Activity Description
Eliminating leachate and run-off through careful timing of turf inputs Controlled or slow release fertilisers are applied during the growing season. Application rates are kept to a minimum. Products are applied under suitable weather conditions to minimise potential for leaching of nutrients.
Establishment of vegetative buffer strips around water bodies There are vegetative buffer strips already present around water bodies. This approach is well established and favoured by Natural England who with the Club also have responsibility for the management of a large part of the site designated by SSSI status.
Establishment of emergency spillage response plan There is an Emergency Procedure in place which includes a policy on dealing with accidental spillages.
Controlling erosion and sediment discharge Maintaining full grass cover across all turf areas is a key objective in minimising soil erosion. This approach requires effective turf maintenance with a particular emphasis on spreading wear and tear from both foot and machinery traffic through key areas.
Establishment of pesticide-free zones In the Natural England prescription for the management of the SSSI site there were certain areas through which restrictions were placed in respect of the spraying of plant protection products. Some of these remain pesticide-free zones.
Use of swales and bio-filters to slow and treat surface run-off These do not feature in the design of these three established heathland courses.

Community

The Golf Club employ a significant number of staff, particularly on the greenkeeping side, to manage the 54 holes of golf and a large Clubhouse. The Club provide catering and hospitality for a large membership and significant visitor numbers. Staff turnover is low and this enables a blend of formal and informal training to be used successfully.

The Club have good relationships with their neighbours many of whom are members or have an interest in the Club.

The Club have good relationships with Local environmental Groups, there is a significant amount of interest in this SSSI site particularly in recent years as Natural England have worked with the Club to improve the quality of important habitats for which the original designation was made.

The Club uses a host of ways to engage with members, visitors and those interested in the Club. Social media is used particularly to communicate with visitors and younger members. There is an newsletter that covers current topical information and is circulated weekly by email. The club have an excellent website that is kept up to date.

Employment & Education

Typical staffing levels at this golf facility are:

Full Time Part Time Seasonal
Club Management 4
Course Management 24
Food & Beverage 11 20

The sustainability working group at this golf facility is comprised of:

  • General Manager
  • Local Government

Employees at this golf facility receive the following formal and informal environmental education:

Activity Description
Storage, application and disposal of pesticides Members of the Greenstaff are trained as necessary to hold the required PA1, PA6A and PA2 certificates of competence for spraying of pestcides.
Efficient water management With a low staff turnover training in respect of efficient water management is achieved through on the job training.
Management of accidents and emergencies There is a Health & Safety Committee to oversee this. There are 9 First Aiders employed on the staff and they receive the necessary training as required. There is a defibrillator available and certain staff have received the necessary training for its safe use. The Air Ambulance use the site to land for access to local areas and roads.
Management of habitats and vegetation The Greenstaff are very involved with the management of the site in respect of the SSSI designation and work alongside Natural England in the implementation of necessary tasks to maintain and develop the important habitats.
Waste minimization, separation and recycling Again there is an informal training process which works with a low staff turnover. There are large recycling bins at the Clubhouse and in both greenkeeping complexes to allow easy recycling and separating of waste for collection by contractors.
Health & Safety Health & Safety is taken very seriously. The Club adopt a 'train the trainer' approach and train up specific staff externally to allow them to train staff internally.This approach works well for example with First AId training. There are refresher and re-trainning courses given as needed for example for Chainsaw use. There is a Manual Handling Handbook in place. Fire Awareness courses have been run in the past.
Energy Saving The importance of saving energy is stressed with a common sense approach in place. this is completed through informal education. With a low staff turnover this approach works well. Water and electricity usage levels have been reduced in the Clubhouse.
Understanding of landscape and cultural heritage Working closely with Natural England under the SSSI designation has allowed the Course Manager and three 1st Assistants to learn about and understand this environment and the ways in which it must managed to protect and encourage the valuable habitats that exist on this site.
Environmental management planning There is a 10 year plan and a 5 year management prescription already in place. This was drawn up by Natural England and STRI alongside the Course Manager and General Manager in 2010. It is a key element of the day to day site management.

Community Relations

This golf facility engages with local community groups in the following manner:

Activity Description
Neighbours There is regular communication with the 40 or so neighbours along the boundaries of the courses, particularly with those that have affiliations with the Golf Club.
Local Government The Club have good lines of communication with Ed Vasey the local MP as well as local Councillors and Natural England.
Local Environmental Groups The Club work closely with Abingdon Green Gym in respect of botanical surveys etc. They are a local volunteer conservation group.
Local Community Groups Clubhouse use by non-golf user groups is actively encouraged. it is a large Clubhouse and there are suitable rooms which provide valuable bookable space for certain community groups, for example weekly Pilates classes are run here.
Media The Club mainly use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google + to engage with potential new members and visitors although it is also seen as one way to communicate with existing members.
Local Businesses The Club is a member of the Oxford B4 Business Group.
Schools & Colleges The Club are actively engaging with Junior and Secondary Schools to promote junior golf. There are special membership rates to encourage younger members.

Land Use & Cultural Heritage

This golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:

Activity Description
Maintenance of existing public paths There is 1 existing right of way across the site.
Creation of new paths and nature trails There are no plans to introduce any new rights of way however the existing footpath has recently been enhanced and resurfaced.
Installation of effective and welcoming signage There is entrance and exit signage to this footpath and there are yellow acorn sign posts marking the line of the public right of way. There is also clear and welcoming signage for visitors and members of the Club using the main entrance drive.
Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing) There was a Children in Need walk to school run from the car park. The reservoir is used occasionally for model sailing. The site is used occasionally for working birds of prey. Natural England are opposed to the ponds being used for fishing.
Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland) Natural England are the primary conservation partner with Abingdon Green Gym completing some of the work required on the site.
Continuation of traditional agricultural activities This is not relevant to this particular site, heather re-establishment and fenland re-establishment have been the primary objectives.

No archaeological or heritage surveys have been undertaken at this golf facility.

This golf facility does not consult any organizations regarding the conservation of cultural heritage.

This golf facility undertakes the following activities to conserve cultural heritage features:

Activity Description
Buildings (Listed Buildings / Ancient Monuments etc) Not relevant.
Archaeology (Settlements / Agricultural System etc) Not relevant.
Historic Features (Hedgerows / Dykes / Moats / Cairns etc) Not relevant.

Communications

This golf facility undertakes the following internal environmental communications:

Activity Description
Provision of newsletters, notice boards & poster display The General Manager produc es a newsletter weekly for circulation on a Friday. This is emailed to in excess of 1,000 members' email addresses. This is an effective tool for communicating. the newsletter regularly includes course matters. There is also an annual report circulated to the membership.
Members evenings and course walks These are not run at present but could be considered in the future.
Course guides / brochures There are no environmental course guides or brochures and this is something that the Club may look to do in the future.
Interpretation panels & course signage There are no environmental interpretation panels or course signage except in relation to the playing of the three golf courses.
Establishment of a nature trail There would be some concerns about potential Health & Safety issues in respect of introducing a nature trail.

This golf facility undertakes the following social and environmental advocacy activities:

Activity Description
Website, press releases & brochures There is a modern website in place and this is kept up-to-date. The Club would look to promote GEO accreditation through the addition of the logo and appropriate wording to the frontpage of the website.
Supporting campaigns Following GEO accreditation information would be included within appropriate Club correspondence, newsletters etc to promote the scheme to the wider membership.
Course walks / open days If sufficient interest is generated then appropriate course walks would be arranged.
Joint practical projects with community In common with many golf clubs the Captain and Captain of the Ladies nominate a charity for fundraising through the year.