Wassenaarse Golfclub Rozenstein
Executive summary (English & local language)
On the north-western flank of the Wassenaar village, dead south of the N411 motorway, lies the golf range of the Wassenaarse Golf club Rozenstein (WGR): an 18-hole course with practice track, pro-shop and club house. The land is largely owned by the club itself; a small area is held in leasehold (lease until 2038). The course has been constructed by Gerard Jol over two phases, on a relatively modest surface area of 46 hectares. The South course (1984) is the oldest part and has a parkland course feel, while the North course (1993) has some characteristics of a links course, with sightlines on the dunes landscape. The North and South courses are connected by a tunnel running underneath the Kokshornlaan road.
On the west side, the golf course borders on Rijksdorp (a hamlet on the grounds of a former country estate) and Lentevreugd (restored dune grass lands with seep pools and clear streams). Lentevreugd is part of the extensive Natura 2000 area of Meijendel-Berkheide. On the northern edge, the course borders on the Valkenburg former airbase. The plans for this area have not fully developed yet. Together with the Wassenaar municipal council, the course strives to create a green buffer zone that is to have a recreational function. On the other sides, the golf course is flanked by sports grounds and bulb fields.
There are plans to expand the pitch & putt to 9 holes (Policy Plan 2016-2020). The utilisation of the neighbouring bulb field is being investigated together with the municipality. This would create a limited expansion of the terrain. The surroundings of the club house and maintenance shed are to be redeveloped in the short term.
The Policy Plan 2016-2020 clearly formulates the WGR’s mission: ‘Beautiful and sustainably managed golfing and nature.’ This ideal is founded on three main pillars: (1) sustainable maintenance, (2) natural surroundings, and (3) responsible approach to the environment. The policy plan pays particular attention to GEO, which was launched in 2015, assisted an external consultant. After less than a year, the club is already ready for its first audit.
Aan de noordwestflank van het dorp Wassenaar en direct ten zuiden van de N411 ligt de golfbaan van de Wassenaarse Golfclub Rozenstein (WGR): een 18 holes baan met oefenparcours, driving range, proshop en clubhuis. De grond is grotendeels in eigendom; een klein deel is gepacht (rechten tot 2038). De baan is in twee fasen aangelegd door Gerard Jol op de bescheiden oppervlakte van 46 hectare. De Zuidbaan (1984) is het oudst en heeft het voorkomen van een parkbaan, terwijl de Noordbaan (1993) kenmerken van een links course vertoont, met zichtlijnen richting duinlandschap. Noordbaan en Zuidbaan zijn met een tunnel onder de Kokshornlaan met elkaar verbonden.
De golfbaan wordt aan de westzijde begrensd door Rijksdorp (een buurtschap op een voormalig landgoed) en Lentevreugd (een hersteld duingrasland met kwelplassen en duinrellen). Lentevreugd maakt deel uit van het omvangrijke Natura 2000-gebied Meijendel-Berkheide. De noordzijde grenst aan voormalig vliegveld Valkenburg. Voor dit gebied zijn de plannen nog niet uitgekristalliseerd. Men ijvert samen met de gemeente Wassenaar voor een groene bufferzone met recreatieve functie. Aan overige zijden grenst de golfbaan aan sportterrein of bollenland.
Men streeft naar een uitbreiding van de pitch & putt naar 9 holes (Beleidsplan 2016-2020). In overleg met de gemeente wordt de benutting van het aangrenzende bollenland nagegaan. Dat impliceert een beperkte terreinuitbreiding. De omgeving van clubhuis en loods zal op korte termijn worden herontwikkeld.
In het Beleidsplan 2016-2020 is de missie van WGR goed verwoord: ‘Een prachtige en duurzaam beheerde golfbaan en natuur. Hierbij hanteert men drie peilers: (1) duurzaam onderhoud, (2) natuurlijke omgeving en (3) verantwoord omgaan met milieu. GEO krijgt bijzondere aandacht in het beleidsplan. In 2015 is gestart met GEO, met hulp van een externe adviseur. In minder dan een jaar is de club gereed voor een eerste audit.
The course stretches over a former beach plain between the young and the older dunes. The area was reclaimed in the seventeenth century and farmsteads were built on the edges. The North course lies on bulb soil, where the sandy subsoil has been brought up for the purposes of flower bulb cultivation. Sand was brought to the surface in a similar fashion on the South course, on the site where we now find the fairways. Outside the fairways, the original clay soil has been preserved. Bringing up the oligotrophic sand has created a relatively oligotrophic, properly porous substrate. When expertly managed, the combination of calcareous groundwater seep and sand on clay is guaranteed to attract rare vegetation. This strategy is given a wide birth here. On the North course, the waste areas, the more arid soil and the open vistas create a completely different nature profile than on the South course, which is much more eutrophic and enclosed.
One of the greenkeepers is a highly experienced ornithologist. The two other greenkeepers are also very knowledgeable about nature and – more importantly – are deeply concerned with its wellbeing. They draw up ample inventories for birds and plants, but the information regarding butterflies, water fauna (macrobenthos and fish) and herpetofauna is still too sparse.
Nature has been concentrated in five different eco zones that lie in far reaches or on little islands, allowing the zones to develop undisturbed. When planting new trees, the aim is to use species that are as native and as natural as possible. Poplars are replaced by local species, in particular pedunculate oak, black alder, and ash trees. A planned tree plan will be documented in GIS.
The mowing plan has been attuned to letting grasslands revert back to their original, more oligotrophic state, and aims to encourage natural spread of rare flora, including 4 types of orchid. There are some remarkable species from the wet, calcareous dune valleys: angular Solomon’s seal, marsh helleborine, parnassia and blue broomrape. Large sods of marsh helleborine have been moved during construction on holes 15 and 16.
Festuca rubra and Agrostis tenuis/capillaris are used for all game elements. These two species require little fertiliser and are well-suited for the climate of the Netherlands. Meadow grass is not considered a problem, but a sign that the soil’s top layer is too nutritious.
The course management plan ensures that nature management receives ample attention. Water is an important feature on the WGR course and the management and maintenance of the water ways receive extra attention, for instance by recording the requirements of the Regional Water Authorities in the course management plan. Bodies of water are not dredged very often and especially not too deeply. Dredging is always done in phases, to make sure that the bodies of water always contain all land accretion stages. Carp has been released at some time in the past, but the species is not encouraged here.
Because of their dispersal over the terrain, the five eco zones function both as a retreat and as a stepping stone. The interconnected water ways also stimulate a strong ecological coherence.
A unique feature on the course is the proprietary design of two insect hotels and a bat shelter. The bottom of the structures even doubles as a resting spot for wintering amphibians. There is also a stork nesting pole on the course. 60 nesting boxes were installed in the winter of 2016, including a sparrow box.
The golf course is built in the Kokshoorn polder, which drains into the Kaswetering. There is an inflow of groundwater seep from the adjacent dunes. In 2016, the water authorities (the Hoogheemraadschap Rijnland) performed a scan of the polder’s water management which led to measures intended to improve the water quality.
The golf course is surrounded by higher ground. After deliberations with water authorities, an (unnatural) water level has been set, with a summer level that is 10 cm higher than the winter level. Combined with the dense network of waterways (no less than 13% of the course is water) and the drainage of the greens and tees, the course rarely suffers from flooding.
Consumption of public water is less than 1000 m3 per year; this is remarkably low. Registration is done on basis of one meter. Groundwater is pumped up at two sites, from depths of 35m and 6m, respectively. This water is used for sprinkling and for the on-course sanitary facilities. The volume of pumped-up groundwater is around 15,000 m3 per year. There are no opportunities for (internal) water buffering. Machines are hosed down using groundwater.
Local groundwater, pumped up from a depth of 35m, is used to sprinkle the greens and tees. This sprinkling is computerised and guided by the demand. Fairways are only sprinkled in period of extreme drought. The turfgrass species are resistant to drought. Wetting agents are applied during dry periods.
All possible measures to reduce consumption of public and groundwater have been implemented. Staff keeps a close eye on possible leaks.
A lot of opportunities for reducing energy consumption or using renewable energies have already been exploited. The 2015 purchase of solar panels went very smoothly. The club was consulted by a professional company and used government subsidies. The buildings have been clustered in an optimal way, which yield advantages in energy consumption and logistics. The back half of the former Rozenstein farm building was converted to the club house in 2009/2010. During this refurbishing, the building was optimally insulated and the arrangement of the rooms has been properly thought out. The other half of the building is used as a residence by the farmer who used to have his farm here.
High-yield natural gas boilers heat the buildings. WGR uses renewable energy which is facilitated by the ‘Main Energy Programme’ network. The consumption figures are average. Faulty settings for the equipment led to high gas consumption in 2014. The club has separate meters for the driving range, the sanitary building, and the club house and maintenance shed (both may be fitted with their own meters in the future).
The club has invested in sustainable energy and generating power on-site. Virtually all available roofs have been fitted with solar panels (under professional supervision). The club is considering the installation of a heat exchanger, which will reuse the heat of the building.
Almost all light bulbs have been replaced by LEDs, with sensors and timers preventing unnecessary burning. The driving range is lighted by means of high-yield, high-pressure gas discharge lamps. Skylights in the maintenance shed and the club house optimally exploit daylight. During renovations in 2009, the kitchen was outfitted with modern, energy-efficient machines. The terrace is not heated.
A switch to hybrid machines has been initiated in the course management department. The mowing frequency is kept low, in part thanks to the 100% use of turfgrass species that grow slowly.
Sustainability features prominently in the golf course’s 2015-2020 policy plan. The club is fully aware of all incoming material and outgoing waste. WGR has a sustainable purchasing policy, in which ecological and environment criteria are weighed as well.
Most suppliers are located in the immediate area, which has also been laid down in the policy plan. Purchasing for the restaurant and bar is tested against strict quality requirements and utilises companies within the municipality if possible. Locations are digitalised.
The club uses local, certified and accredited suppliers and companies as much as possible. The restaurant and bar have been leased to an independent contractor who exclusively uses local suppliers and organic products.
The turfgrass species used on the course require little moisture and nutrition. The maintenance pays particular attention to a healthy, properly aired soil. Meadow grass is not considered an issue, but is seen as an indicator of abundant nutrition. A trial with silicate fertilisation has been launched on one of the greens.
The application of chemical materials is being reduced to comply with the Green Deal objectives (agreement between the national government and the Netherlands Golf Federation). Fungicides have been banned completely (declared unnecessary!), herbicides are hardly used at all and are being replaced by manual removal or tolerating. Insecticides are not used.
Waste separation has been the policy for years. The waste is removed and processed by certified companies. The volume of clippings is very small and is used in flower beds. Cut logs have been stacked at one site, adding both ecological and visual values.
WGR meets all legal requirements and ensures that all responsible employees take refresher courses. An environmental care plan is part of the GEO basis report. The current situation and the ambitions and measures are described per theme.
The quality of the groundwater that is pumped up was assessed during a test in 2008. It is assumed that the quality is constant over the long term. The surface water is chemically and visually tested every year. The club is constantly in contact with the water authorities with regards to the water quality.
Waste water from the club house/restaurant is drained to the municipal sewer, after passing through an oil and sand separator. The same goes for rainwater running off the other buildings and the paved parking lot. The separators are cleaned by a certified company twice a year.
Hazardous materials are registered and checked. They are securely stored in appropriate rooms.
Doses of basic materials are stored in a spacious shed. This is also where the locked chemicals cabinet is kept. The head greenkeeper is constantly aware of the exact stocks. The maintenance shed and the adjoining outside area used for storage and for tanking and hosing down the machines have been fitted with impermeable concrete floors with raised edges. Waste water is drained to the surface water, after passing through an oil and sand separator. The inside concrete slab is perfect, the outside slab shows some cracks. The double-walled diesel tank offers additional protection.
The on-course sanitary facilities are connected to the municipal sewers. The bodies of water and the nature areas are surrounded by buffer strips of at least 3 metres, in which fertilisers are used as sparingly as possible, which resulted in a cornucopia of orchids. Herbicides are only used on local sites on the fairway.
The WGR club is integrated into the wider society in a number of ways. There are deliberation structures with neighbouring sports associations, the Wassenaar municipality, the former owner of the land and buildings, and collaborations with nearby golf clubs that served as inspiration.
Together with the Wassenaar municipality, WGR strives to develop a green zone, with particular attention paid to the recreational functions of the former military airbase.
WGR employs 21 fulltime and part-time employees and meets the requirements of all health and safety legislation (test performed and action plan drawn up in 2011). The staff and marshals are trained in emergency response procedures and other safety programmes. A social workshop was used to construct the 50 nesting boxes, which were funded by the members. The greenkeepers regularly receive additional training, for instance in subjects such as nature and environmental legislation.
The CtG committee comprises four active members and began in 2015 with its efforts aimed at the GEO objectives. The committee is firmly anchored within the club and has three subcommittees, where they are joined by the head greenkeeper and representatives of the board: the ‘Terrain Committee’, the ‘Committee Buildings & Technical Installations’, and the ‘Sustainability Committee’. When necessary, the committee requests advice from members with expertise in the fields of nature, trees, and water management. The committee developed the nature management and environmental care plans with support from NLadviseurs. WGR cooperates with three GEO-certified golf clubs in the area: the Koninklijke Haagsche GCC, the Noordwijkse GC and GC Duinzicht. These clubs inspire and motivate each other in the fields of nature and sustainability.
Due to the limited size of the course, there is no room for a combination with other forms of recreation, but everyone is welcome in the club restaurant. An access gate and webcams have been installed to combat the increasing incidents of vandalism.
Contacts with the neighbours (sports associations, allotment gardens, and the farmer with whom the club shares the yard and buildings and whose sheep graze on an unused part of the course) are excellent.
Communal interests are represented in joint actions with the municipality and the regional water authorities. The WGR takes a lot of initiative in this respect.
The back half of ancient Rozenstein farm houses the club house. The building has been expertly restored and contributes to Wassenaar’s cultural and historical identity. The farm’s name refers to the rose cultivation for the perfume industry that took place here until the end of the nineteenth century. There are no other historical or archaeological relics. The paths have been paved with (local) shells. The course furniture is discreet.
There are currently no active legal disputes or planning procedures. The golf course is actively involved in the municipality’s Zoning Plan Rural Areas.
Most contact with the members occurs through the digital newsletter. The ‘Wassenaarse Slag’ club magazine comes out 4 times a year. Both publications pay a lot of attention to GEO, nature, environment, and sustainable management. There is a GEO banner in the entrance hall, proudly showing what the club stands for. The nesting boxes project was a successful example of involving members in these matters in an accessible way. Nature walks, lectures for members, and participation in the annual Bird Watching Day further strengthen the support for nature issues.
Communication to non-members is rather limited but will be expanded in the coming years, with the focus on the club’s strengths (Policy Plan 2016-2020).
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Management Plan
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
The Wassenaarse Golf Club Rozenstein has taken up the GEO challenge with energy and diligence. Within a single year, a separate committee has been formed, all necessary data has been collected, and sustainability has been integrated into the policy plan. The club has several important advantages, such as the deeply involved greenkeepers and members with extensive experience with nature and sustainability. An exceptional feature is the abundance of birds and plants, in particular rare and endangered birds. This is an important responsibility for the club, consisting of: (1) broadcasting this ecological abundance, and (2) carefully safeguarding this nature. The main challenges in this area lie in the coming years.
Despite the limited size of the course, nature is given a wide birth. Spread out over the terrain are small nature islands with a great diversity of species. These areas often literally lie on islands and are characterised by quiet and peaceful development.
There is a lot of (professional) expertise within the greenkeeping department, in particular with regards to birds. Combined with the course’s site on the edge of the dunes (a bird migration route of a European calibre), this results in an impressive list of species. The natural expertise is translated into practical measures, such as stork nesting poles and nesting boxes aimed at specific species.
The club house and restaurant are situated in the historical Rozenstein farm, which name refers to the former rose plantations for the perfume industry. The course management is focused on the area around the farmyard, giving the whole a historically appropriate appearance. During the 2009/2010 renovations, the rooms have been arranged in an efficient and architecturally impressive way, with proper attention paid to insulation and natural lighting.
An added highlight is the proactive attitude with regards to pesticides consumption, which is very low. This has perfectly prepared the club for the future general pesticide ban.