Golfbaan Landgoed Welderen

GEO Certified® 01/2014 GEO Re-Certified 04/2017
Elst,
Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)481 351705
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Golf course Welderen opened its doors in 2000. Already from the beginning they have shown commitment to sustainability, from nature conservation to golf course management. Species diversity has been monitored over the years, and several notable species have been spotted. With respect to water issues, Welderen only uses a moderate 10.000 m3 per annum for irrigation purposes. Due to the installation of LED lightning, electricity use has dropped by around 30 % per annum. Also, the management now experiments with more environmentally friendly practises to control pests and diseases. Over the years, Welderen clearly demonstrated compliance with sustainable and envrionmentally friendly management of the whole golf complex, and therefore deserves to be re-awarded again.

Nature

Over the years several surveys of flora and fauna on and around the course have been performed. The course is situated on farmer arable nutrient-rich soil. Therefore plant species diversity is not extremely high. Still many interesting species throughout the years have been observed around and on the course: e.g. European rhinocerous beetle, common noctule, spined loach and pike. Also the non-native American crayfisch has now been observed at Welderen. To further stimulate biodiversity the management wants to create a new 1 ha species-rich grassland around the course. Bats, fish and other aquatic species have been monitored only recently, whereas the plant survey dates back to 2012. I therefore suggest to re-monitor plant species once more in 2018 to get a full pictures of species diversity development over the years.
Greens are re-seeded with Agrostis species, and the head greenkeeper indicated that presence of Poa annua is still relatively high, but slightly decreasing over the last years.

Water

Welderen uses both surface- and groundwater for irrigating their green complexes and tees. Fairways are not irrigated at all. On an annual basis this resulted in a very acceptable irrigation rate varying between 330-380 mm the last three years. In total 4 ha of surface waters are present on the course most of which are interconnected within the course. Until 2014 no information on species diversity was known in these surface waters. At several periods in 2014 Wageningen University and Research monitored species richness of the surface waters on the course. In general the quality of their surface waters was characterised as good, and not surprisingly these surface waters are home to many common, but also more rare fish and insects. Presently the pool near the green of hole 18 is being renovated, including the construction of less steep banks. This may finally result in a higher diversification of (semi)aquatic habitats.

Energy

The last couple of years Welderen spend quite some effort in reducing their energy use. In the clubhouse conventional lightning has been replaced by LEDs and it is their intention to install LED lightning on the driving range. Compared to 2014 electricity use has one down from roughly 140.000 kWh to around 100.000 kWh. Also the use of oil and gas has gone down over the last few years. The management chooses for more energy efficient equipment and machinery in case of replacement. Charging stations for e-bikes and electric are now available on Welderen and they intend to install more the coming years.

Supply Chain

The staff responsible for the maintenance of the course together with private companies experiments with alternatives for traditional pesticides. This is especially relevant for the Dutch case as by 2020 many now legislated products will be abandoned from the list. To be prepared for this legislative shift in pesticide use on golf courses, Welderen has already reduced the herbicide use on tees, greens and fairways by a factor of around 10 since 2014. Glass and paper are separately collected and recently special bins for PET bottles have been placed. The head greenkeeper is in contact with a local biodigester company to analyze possibilties for digesting their grass clippings. In the restaurant some local products are served and this will remain their intention as long as it is within the financial possibilities. Fertilisers are mixed indoors and added to the computerized irrigation system. With this 'fertigation' system the greenkeeping team saves labour time and fuel, and there is no overspray to water bodies as the sprinkler heads are accurately targeted towards the greens. It will be interesting to learn in future how precisely this method of fertilisation provides a cost saving, or allows a reduction in the quantities of nutrient applied.

Pollution Control

Recently, a new impervious floor has been installed at the greenkeeper location, and all chemicals are installed according to legislation. Waste water from the clubhouse is during winter time stored in underground storage tanks. From spring onwards waste water is discharged to surface waters after being polished by a constructed wetland. For this, Welderen has a formal discharge agreement and the quality of the constructed wetland is regularly controlled by an independent external company. However, during my visit they could not hand over data on the chemical composition of their waste water entering and leaving the constructed wetland. I suggest, that these data should become available the coming year. As approx. ha 4 ha of surface water are present on the course, the head greenkeeper decrees a no spray-zone near water bodies of at least 10 meters. As the chemical quality of almost all water bodies was characterised as good, this distance is sufficient to prevent any run-off of chemicals/fertilizer.

Community

Welderen was being awarded by the Club Managers Associations of Europe for their contribution to sustainable environmentally friendly maintenance of their course. Partly mentally disabled youngsters are trained on the job by the head greenkeeper. During my visit I could clearly see that these youngsters were motivated the learn the ins and outs of the greenkeeping business. The head greenkeeper clearly showed his commitment to nature and golf course development, and these efforts are being communicated via website, displays in the clubhouse and on the course.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Golf course Welderen has shown to commit itself to sustainabe management almost from beginning of its existence, and covers all themes of GEO succesfully, from nature conservation to e.g. energy use. I, Adrie van der Werf, therefore recommend golf ourse Welderen to re-awarded with GEO-certificate.

Certification Highlights

- Welderen managed to reduce its annual electricity use by 30% by installing LED lightning
- enthousiastic and knowledgeable head greenkeeper