Golfbaan Landgoed Bleijenbeek

GEO Certified® 11/2011 GEO Re-Certified 07/2015
Afferden,
Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)485530084
504__original_club_image

Executive summary (English & local language)

Golf course Bleijenbeek consists of a range of habitats, varying from nutrient-poor species-rich grasslands to dense woodlands. Non-native woody species are now gradullay being removed, and new species introduced. Together with students they started a re-introduction project for the endangered spadefoot. In this project spadefoots were tagged and their migration in and around the golf course will be followed the next years. Water use on the course and in the clubhouse is average for the Netherlands. As the course is situated in a remote area, the club is self-sufficient in its water supply, i.e. ground water is being pumped, purified for consumption and finally discharged via a clever sanitation system. The clubhouse is equipped with all sorts of energy saving measures and the management constantly seeks for new ways to reduce energy consumption. Waste separation is becoming more and more the standard in the Netherlands. At Bleijenbeek separation of plastics, glass and paper is now the standard. In the nearby future the club will upgrade their maintenance facilities according to standards and legislation. The origin of the rules of golf is now being disputed by the management. They claim that these were first described around 1500 AC by the Dutch scientist Pieter van Afferden.

Nature

Golf course Bleijenbeek located in the province Limburg and borders the National Park Maasduinen. Maintenance and restoration of the existing and new ecosystems is well described in their Nature Management Plan. Now the golf course consists of a range of habitats, varying from nutrient-poor species-rich grasslands to dense woodlands. Attention is given to the establishment of corridors promoting species migration, both within the golf course and to the surroundings. Eco-zones were introduced where nobody is allowed to enter. Part of their grasslands are grazed by sheep (provided by the local water board), and non-native tree species are gradually being removed. The last three years especially shrubs and forest were maintained in such a way that young and older specimens co-exists. Where appropriate chopped wood is used for creating new habitats for especially insects. All these activities resulted in a very diverse area where hundreds of plant species co-exist. Besides a very rich flora also rare birds, mammals, reptiles, fungi are spotted on the golf course. At my first visit three years ago the beaver, a very rare species for the Netherlands, had its residence near the green of hole 2. During my last visit for re-certification the beaver family still thrives well, albeit the extra maintenance involved to secure sufficient through flow of brook water. Worthwhile to mention is their re-introduction project of the highly endangered spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus). Specimens were tagged and will be followed the next coming years.

Water

Groundwater is pumped up and purified such that it can be used as drinking water. Kitchen, toilets etc. are equipped with modern water-saving knobs and buttons. All the waste water from the clubhouse is purified by a smart combination of bacterial tanks and constructed wetlands consisting of reed beds, and finally discharged to a brook. The outflow will be analysed regularly as from 2015 onwards.
A limited area of the golf course is irrigated with surface water. The irrigation system is fully computerized taking into account the necessary weather data. The last couple of years the average yearly water consumption for irrigation varied between 18,000 and 21,000 m3. Only the playing surfaces are irrigated, greens and tees by the automated computarized irrigation system, and when necessary fairways by reels. Additional proper soil management and the use of wetting agents on their greens further reduces the water consumption.
Approx. 12 ha consists out of open surface waters. Based on the chemical analyses performed in 2014 their surface waters can be qualified as “good”. This suggests little or no effect of golf course management on their surface waters.

Energy

The recently built clubhouse is equipped with energy-saving LED lamps and movement sensors, and has been further insulated to reduce energy consumption. Modern heating systems and air-conditioning further optimise energy use. The management could explore the possibilities of renewable energy sources. They tried to install wind turbines for green electricity. Unfortunately they did not get a permit as the installation would result in a visual disturbance of the surrounding agricultural landscape. The club makes use of renewable energy sources (electricity).

Supply Chain

The management encourages local food supply where possible. Special attention is given to certified products. Pesticide and fertilizer use is reduced to a minimum and according to legislation. Golfers are encouraged to separate their waste, i.e. special bins for plastics are available. Furthermore glass, plastics, paper and cardboard from the clubhouse is separated and re-cycled. Necessary activities, like establishment of pesticide-free areas and buffer strips near water bodies, are undertaken on the golfcourse.

Pollution Control

Water supply at the clubhouse is fully self-sustaining, i.e. groundwater is being pumped up, chemically treated for consumption, and finally discharged to the environment after appropriate treatments. Hazardous materials are stored according to legislation. Waste water from the Greenkeepers location is stored in septic tanks and collected regularly by a certified company. According to legislation waste water and grease should be separated, and cleaning of machines should be done on a leakproof floor. This is not the case yet at Bleijenbeek. The management indicated that they will take of this issue the coming year.

Installation of a new washing area according to legislation within max 2 years, i.e. before 2017

Community

Things worth knowing regarding the GEO program are communicated via the internal club journal, and discussed during the management meetings. The sustainability working group is incorporated in the greens committee. Golf course Bleijenbeek is in contact with both local governmental and non-govermental organizations. The terrain is open to the public via paved paths. An interesting discussion is now going on with respect to the origin of the rules of golf. The management of Bleijenbeek now claims that these were first described around 1500 AC by the Dutch scientist Pieter van Afferden who lived nearby castle Bleijenbeek. These claims are disputed by others. The ruin of castle Bleijenbeek adjacent to the course is now being restored.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Bleijenbeek is a very charming golf course with a variety of interesting eco-systems. Furthermore, they are able and capable to maintain their course in an environmentally friendly way. The goals addressed in their Committed to Green manual (including the Nature and Environmental Management Plan) allow a further validation of the actions taken. I, Adrie van der Werf, recommend golf course Bleijenbeek be awarded for the GEO certificate.

Certification Highlights

1. They started a re-introduction program for the endangered spadefoot
2. Non-native woody species are gradually being removed