Golf Club Driene

GEO Certified® 10/2013 GEO Re-Certified 02/2017
Hengelo,
Netherlands
Telephone: +31(0)742508466
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Executive summary (English & local language)

The Golf Club Driene, founded in 1993, plays on one of the oldest golf courses of the Netherlands. This 9-hole course was constructed to the south of the city of Hengelo for the Twentsche Golf Club in 1926. A short-game course was added on former farmland in 2014. The majority of the grounds lie within the Hengelo municipality and a small part just protrudes into the Enschede municipality. The total surface area is approximately 30 hectare, of which 17 hectare is used for golf. The other 13 hectare is mostly forest; the Driene club can rightly call itself a woods course.
The premises are the property of the De Belder country estate and are classified under the Natural Landscape Act. Several patches of forest have been included into ecological corridors (as part of the National Ecological Network), where the development of natural values and the restoration of the brook are important measures. However, the practical implementation has been paused while the club awaits actions from the several government agencies involved. A step that has been completed is the installation of an amphibians’ tunnel that now runs under the Hengelo road.

The club has been a Committed to Green participant since 2008 and received its first GEO certificate in 2010. The present report is the third GEO audit and must be considered together with the previous reports. The focus here is on the developments over the past 3 years and the opportunities for further improvement in the next 3 to 5 years. The GEO work group lists three core reasons for participating in GEO: (1) there is a sense of social responsibility; (2) GEO provides a concrete route map for working toward a sustainable golf enterprise; and (3) participation reinforces the safeguarding of the natural values that the club adores. Substantial, professional support is provided by among others the golf architect, a landscape architect, a field biologist, energy consultants, and a sports turf expert. Most areas have seen improvements over the past few years, which is in part thanks to the efforts of the GEO work group. The Continual Improvement Points reported in 2013 were already tackled or will be implemented in 2017.

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De in 1993 opgerichte Golfclub Driene speelt op een golfbaan die behoort tot een van de oudste van Nederland. Deze 9 holes baan is in opdracht van de Twentsche Golfclub in 1926 ten zuiden van Hengelo aangelegd. In 2014 werd een shortgame baan op een voormalig weiland toegevoegd.
Het grootste deel bevindt zich binnen de gemeente Hengelo, een klein deel binnen de gemeente Enschede. De oppervlakte bedraagt circa 30 hectare waarvan 17 hectare is ingericht ten behoeve van de golfsport. De overige 13 hectare bestaat overwegend uit bos; De Driene kan zich met recht een bosbaan noemen.
Het terrein is eigendom van Landgoed De Belder en is gerangschikt onder de Natuurschoonwet (‘NSW Landgoed’). Enkele bosvakken in het zuidelijk deel zijn aangewezen als onderdeel van een ecologische corridor (EHS) waar natuurontwikkeling en beekherstel als belangrijkste maatregelen gelden. De praktische invulling ligt echter stil, in afwachting van de overheden. Wel is er een amfibieëntunnel onder de Hengelose weg aangelegd.

De club is sinds 2008 deelnemer aan Committed to Green en werd in 2010 voor de eerste keer GEO-gecertificeerd. Deze rapportage betreft inmiddels de derde GEO-audit en is niet los te zien van de vorige audits. Het accent ligt op de ontwikkelingen van de laatste 3 jaar en de kansen voor verbetering voor de komende periode van 3 tot 5 jaar. Voor deelname aan GEO noemt de GEO-werkgroep drie belangrijke redenen: (1) men voelt zich maatschappelijk verantwoordelijk, (2) GEO geeft houvast op de weg naar duurzaam ondernemen en (3) deelname versterkt de waarborging van de natuur waarvan men houdt. Inhoudelijke ondersteuning wordt o.a. gezocht bij de golfarchitect, een landschapsarchitect, een veldbioloog, energie-adviseurs en een expert op het gebied van sportgras. In de afgelopen jaren zijn op de meeste fronten vorderingen gemaakt, mede dank zij de inzet van de GEO-werkgroep. Dein 2013 genoemde verbeterpunten (CIP’s) zijn aangepakt of zullen in 2017 worden uitgevoerd.



Nature

The golf course is part of the so-called ‘higher sandy soil area,’ which is characteristic for the landscape of the eastern Netherlands. The landscape alternates between stream valleys and higher areas. Relief sets the tone but is hardly directly noticeable. The soil consists of loamy, fine sand that has here and there been enriched by centuries of fertilisation on the farmlands. The levels of eutrophication and moisture can quickly vary within a small area, which is the basis for the high levels of local ecological diversity.
The course fits seamlessly into the historical landscape patterns and we can find virtually all characteristic landscape elements within the relatively limited area of 30 hectare: spread-out buildings, coniferous and deciduous woods, brook and carr forest, small fields, beech lanes, field paths, tree walls with ancient coppice rotation trees, remainders of a hawthorn hedge, and a small pool. This former drinking pool was enlarged in 2016 and turned into an amphibians’ pool, in a collaborative effort with the Overijssels Landschap agency. The most important element is the Driener brook that manifests itself in different ways throughout the area. It also serves to tie the course together in both an ecological sense and from the point of view of the landscape.
The landscape is a carrying force for the management strategy (Forest Group North-Eastern Netherlands). The tree plan, which was designed by a landscape architect and is a determining visual factor, is also based on the historical landscape and directs the attention to the forest edges and solitary trees. A part of the tree plan is a digital 3D scan of the trees along the edges of the fairways. The improvement points suggested in the 2013 audit have been implemented or have commenced.


There hasn’t been any nature inventories since 2013 due to a lack of capacity within the club. The club did perform a year-long bat study according to the bat protocol to prepare for the cutting of the beech lane to make sure – in accordance with the Flora and Fauna Act – that this project would not diminish the number of habitats. This has provided excellent insight into the importance of this area to bats. Plans have been made with an external field biologist to draw up inventories for all species groups, with a particular focus on breeding birds and on plants.

The natural units are mainly native, mixed woods, interspersed with coniferous forest with Scots pine. There are a relatively high number of solitary alien species that were selected for their colour and shape. This can lead to some unusual combinations, such as high poplars sharing a space with pines. Particularly remarkable are the multiple-stemmed maples that can be found between holes 7 and 8. Replacement plantings have been taken care of already. Due to the relevance of the trees, a lot of attention is paid in order to guarantee safety and aesthetics (VTA).
The rough shows quite radically different levels of eutrophication, which has had its effects on the local vegetation, that varies from rough grass to heather. The development of the brook banks has been moderate to poor. Besides the small pool, there is a pond on hole 5, which in part naturally transitions into the forest edge. Characteristic bird species are the little grebe, the green woodpecker, and the nuthatch. The area is also home to mammals, which includes many species from the mustelid family (stone marten, stoat, squirrel, and polecat). The presence of the rare and endangered bicolored shrew deserves special mention.

The fairway and rough are home to many different turfgrass species, including velvetgrass (Holcus), bentgrass (Agrostis) and meadow grass (Poa annua). Bentgrass has won ground on the greens and is now the dominant species there. Bentgrass is less sensitive to fungi, is resistant to drought and requires fewer nutrients.

The club’s management strategy (update for 2016-2021) outlines the general course of the management for the forest areas and the landscape units. Major maintenance is outsourced but the forest edges and solitary trees are managed in-house. The integrated forest management applied here serves three purposes: (1) nature, (2) landscape, and (3) timber production – the latter merely a by-product of thinning out the forest. The plan includes thinning measures in order to create room for future trees. Natural rejuvenation is supplemented with planting where necessary. The historical beech lane was fully replanted in 2016. The black cherry and rubus form a nuisance at some sites and are removed mechanically as much as possible. The greenkeeping department is assisted in this effort by the so-called ‘Forest Gang’: members who volunteer for course maintenance.
The rough is mowed hardly or not at all. Letting the rough return to its original, more oligotrophic state has led to the growth of heather, for instance at hole 6, although it must be noted that this growth was aided by a limited degree of planting and the spreading of heather clippings. In 2016, Bentheimer sheep were used as ‘woolly mowers’ for the first time. The amphibian pool is small, meaning that it can grow over quite quickly, but it is open and free from young growth. Other fauna facilities include nesting boxes, bat boxes, and wildlife woodpiles in the forest edge.

Water

Surface water can be found here in the Driener brook that crosses the course from east to west and finally drains into the Koppelleiding waterway. The brook roughly follows it original course, but no room has been provided for its natural processes. The management of the brook and its banks falls to the Vechtstromen Regional Water Authority. The golf club wants to get rid of the trench shoring and would like to see natural shores where possible, but this is not a priority for the water authorities at the moment. Additional surface water is limited to the hole 5 pond and a small pool at the practice holes. The course is usually dry; drainage has only been installed at critical places. Water from roof runoff and the (semi-paved) parking lot drains away naturally and does not require sewer capacity. The 2013 points of improvement have been implemented.

There is a single water metre for public water consumption. The consumption figures are low and show a steady drop of about 10% over 3 years. Rain water that naturally gathers in the pond is used for sprinkling. There are no figures for the consumption of groundwater, but it can be assumed that consumption is low, as no water is pumped up as long as the pond water level doesn’t drop below a certain point. The maximum pumping allowance is 10 m3/hour, pumped up from a depth of 22 metres. The club expects to be able to install a water metre on the pump in 2017.

Sprinkling is limited to the greens and tees. A moisture metre has been in use since 2016, and this measure will be combined with a weather station in 2017 to enable the club to adhere to a more efficient water regime. Sprinkling is initiated when soil moisture levels are at 10%. Sprinkling is computerised and is attuned per two sprinklers every year.

The machines are washed with air daily, and only once a month with public water. The sanitary facilities have been fitted with half-flush buttons. Sprinkling takes place at night, when evaporation is minimal. The gradual transition into bentgrass (Agrostis) is having a positive effect on water consumption. A more exact adjustment of the irrigation to the needs of the grass will yield additional savings on water consumption in 2017.

Energy

The clubhouse’s architecture was renovated in 2007; the net volume was increased by expanding the building with new construction and a more efficient layout. This renovation among others resulted in a decrease in energy consumption and provided possibilities for, for example, solar energy. An energy audit was performed for the purposes of the safety of the cabling. The audit will be expanded in 2017. The greenkeeping shed needs replacing, which will also create new opportunities.

The club uses energy from renewable sources. The energy consumption is low and figures are showing a steady decline, even when compared to the number of games played and the relatively small member base. Diesel and gasoline consumption are average for a 9-hole course.

Serious attention has been paid in the past few years to the opportunities of generating energy on-site. Pellet heating was considered, but it was rejected because of the CO2 emissions and the large investment it would require. Quite achievable options are solar energy and ground source heat (heat exchanger). The new greenkeeping shed that’s on the schedule might provide new opportunities as well, although the potential efficiency is somewhat limited by the surrounding trees. The flat roof of the new structure provides better opportunities.

The actions taken include the installation of a high-yield boiler, insulated glazing, insulation on basis of infrared scans, and replacing lightbulbs by LED lights. The driving range lighting is hardly ever used, meaning that investing in LED replacements will hardly lead to any savings. The assessment and replacement of the kitchen equipment – such as the extraction system – is on the books. An action programme has been planned.
A lot of additional locker space was created during the renovation and the course’s location –between two cities – implies that many members will only have to cycle a short distance. This makes taking the bicycle to the course a very realistic option, and this could be promoted internally (internal communication, charging stations, covered bicycle parking).

Supply Chain

There is a growing attention for purchasing sustainable and local products. The club is also paying more attention to registering the pathways from purchasing (machines and raw materials) to outflow (waste and recycling). Progress has been made in the field of waste processing. A waste flow inventory will be drawn up in 2017. Pesticides and fertilisation are kept to a minimum, which is possible thanks to the consistent quality of the game elements.

Besides quality and costs, the transportation distance and certification have become factors in the purchasing policy. The club’s objectives include a declaration of intent regarding sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

The hospitality facilities are leased out and the leaseholder and the golf club collaborate well together, although the number of Fair Trade and organic products on the menu is still rather limited. The menu items are largely sourced locally. The number of transport movements is quite limited, as greenkeeping performs the bulk of machine maintenance. The grinding of the (reel) blades does happen externally, but only once a year.

Just as during the previous audit, the club can only provide average figures for the consumption of pesticides and fertilisers. This is the result of the registration system and leads to insufficient insight into the consumption, limiting the possibilities of decreasing the volumes. In the meantime, the head greenkeeper has implemented structured registration across the board. The fairways do not receive any fertiliser and the amounts of fertiliser applied to the greens and tees are average for (loamy) sand soil.
Fungi are the greatest threat, in particular because of the growth of shade. The old, black sand foundation of the greens also encourages fungal growth. Thinning the woods and active forest edge management bring more light and air onto the greens. Biofermit is being applied to the greens since 2016; this is an organic anti-fungus product. Other preventive measures are puncturing, adding sand, and vertical mowing.
There isn’t any significant pest issue and the club therefore uses no insecticides. Nesting boxes are used to entice starlings to breed here; the starling is a notorious enemy of the leather jacket. Chemicals are used, however, when there is too much clover on the fairway – a side effect of the non-fertilisation policy. The control measures are executed in the early mornings, using Primstar; this will yield the best results, because the stomata are wide open at that time. Mechanical weed control is the preferred option; this is mostly implemented on the greens.

Waste is separated as much as possible and removed by a certified company. Waste is reused wherever possible, for instance by means of a collection point for plastic at the clubhouse. Wood is used in wildlife woodpiles and the excess is shipped to a biomass energy company; clippings and leaves are composted at an external location. Any polluting waste substances are safely stored and removed.

Pollution Control

The golf club has an up-to-date environmental care plan (2017) that provides an overview of the current situation, safety, ambitions, and actions per enterprise component (clubhouse, maintenance facility, and golf course). The plan adheres to the relevant environmental legislation. There is plenty of awareness of environmental issues and employees attend trainings on the matter.


The club itself took the initiative to have a water quality measurement performed for the water that is pumped up. The concentrations of pesticide residue are so low that, considering the margin of error, they do not allow for any conclusions. Upstream of the golf course there are extensive agriculture tracts, so there is no reason to expect any bottlenecks. The quality is sufficient for sprinkling water.

Waste water drains into the public sewer. Water from the grease trap in the club house and the oil and grease trap in the maintenance facility is suctioned off separately. There are no on-course sanitary facilities.

The greenkeepers are properly trained for the use of hazardous materials on the course. Employees work carefully and the used materials are only available in limited quantities that are stored safely. There is no record of inventory or the dates and volumes of application.

A double-walled diesel tank was installed on an impermeable floor in the shed in 2016. The old tank was removed by a certified company. The wash pad has an impermeable floor as well and is fitted with an oil and grease trap.

Pesticides are used very carefully, highly localised, and only when weather conditions permit it. The quantities are always small and the employees observe a proper distance from all bodies of water.

Community

There is plenty of contact with the surrounding community and with the club’s members, mostly via existing, old networks. There is no communication plan, exactly, but the different tasks and responsibilities have been divided and are clear to all parties. There is a strong sense of the responsibilities toward man and nature.

The golf club employs only a few people: three greenkeepers and (part-time) employees for club management and administration. Furthermore, there are the hospitality employees and a golf professional. The employees regularly attend courses and trainings for turf management, environmental legislation, nature, and health and safety.

The GEO work group is part of the course committee. It consists of 5 members (head greenkeeper, a landscape architect, an energy expert, and club members that have specific kinds of environmental expertise). This properly anchors the coordination with greenkeeping, the technical committee, the buildings & structures committee, and the course committee. The head greenkeeper is very closely involved in the course; he has worked for the club for over 25 years, just as his father before him, and he literally grew up on the course.

There are good channels of communication with neighbours and local businesses. One great example was the turning around of the driving range for the benefit of the neighbours, who are now less likely to get wayward shots on their property. The course is intersected by a public walking path. A gate has been installed to discourage cyclists.
The club is involved with several government authorities, including the Vechtstromen Regional Water Authority. Unfortunately, making the shores of the Driener brook more natural is not a priority for this water authority.

There is a lot of cultural heritage on the course, which is handled with care and pride. The beech lane, for instance, was restored by replanting it in 2016. More recent heritage includes the old, horseshoe-shaped bunker that have been preserved and made more visible.
The parking lot is relatively subtle, hid under the trees along the road. Paths have been paved with rubble and lava rock. Shelters and waste bins have been made from or clad in wood.

There are currently no legal disputes or pending planning procedures, but attention is paid to the changes in the Natural Landscape Act, which now stipulates that 50% of premises with a Country Estate status must consist of forest.

Internal communications uses the website, newsletter, Facebook, and information offered at the entrance. More relevant here, however, is the practical approach that the club opts for: the ‘Forest Gang’ meets every week to help the greenkeeping department, for example by removing black cherry and rubus.

External communication regarding sustainability still requires some attention.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

‘More than just golf’ is not just a hollow promise at the Golf Club Driene. The club treats its ‘gems’ carefully: the abundance of trees and bushes (almost 60 different species!) and the history of the landscape of the Twente region. This landscape has been made highly legible thanks to the expert design of this woods course, and it is truly an inspiration to see how carefully the club treats this.
The consumption figures are lower than average for a 9-hole course and they are still gradually dropping. There are some concerns about the safeguarding of sustainability and the feasibility of measures for further improvement. The club has launched so many efforts and ideas at the same time that the GEO work group is becoming overburdened. An integral planning map that will show the landscape zones and sub-areas is under development; this will be a perfect tool for coordinating all design and management efforts. The planned monitoring at a few focused sites for a select number of key species can become a real finger on the pulse of the natural values.
The club really got to work on the last audit’s points of improvement with vigour. Some points have not been taken up yet, for understandable reasons, but there is a lot of confidence that these issues will be tackled in the short term. The club has also already begun implementing a lot of the points of improvement listed in the present audit. There is still much to be gained in the areas of communication and of registration; both are very important for proper safeguarding.


Certification Highlights

1
The great abundance of different habitats allows for a huge biodiversity on the course. This diversity is handled carefully and the management of the trees and the forest is a particular organisational highlight. Forest management looks towards the future and is based on a clear vision.

2
The course has almost imperceptibly snuggled itself into the ancient Twente landscape, with its brooks, farmlands hemmed in by tree walls, carr forest, tree groups, lanes, and spread-out buildings. This small-scale pattern and the intersection with the Driener brook create a strong ecological coherence, which will only be encouraged by the implementation of the National Ecological Network.

3
The relatively low and gradually dropping consumption figures truly attest to the efforts spent over the past few years; it is expected that these figures will continue to drop after investing in on-site energy generation.