Golf Della Montecchia
Executive summary (English & local language)
Golf Della Montecchia is located in northern Italy in the Veneto region, about 10 kilometers away from the city of Padua. It has 27 holes and covers a surface of 74 hectares at an altitude of 16 meters above the sea level. The geographical coordinates are: Latitude 45° 23' 12'' North and Longitude 11° 45' 48'' East. The construction of the holes dates back to 1988. The landscape observed from the club and the weather conditions are those typical of the Po Valley, open and level land characterized by intense cold in the winter and sultry heat in the summer, of continental nature. The soil presents silt and sandy loams in line with the alluvial soil types that are common in the area. There are no forests or significant areas of wetland; the land is largely dedicated to agricultural crops, especially vineyards and arable land. Originally, the golf property was owned by Count Capodilista, to which the villa and the castle near the Club House dating back to the Renaissance period belong. Many areas of zero or low maintenance have been defined on the golf course, where herbaceous vegetation has been allowed to grow freely, enabling it to blend into the natural landscape.
The vicinity of the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei (Regional Park of the Euganean Hills) means that you can enjoy breathtaking views of the hills and distant Alps. In 2007, the GC La Montecchia was awarded a certificate of merit and in 2012 the “Committed to Green” prize for the Water category. The Club has also been mentioned by the R&A as a case study concerning the conversion of the turfgrass from coolseason species to warmseason varieties (it is the most northern site in Europe where warm-season turfgrasses have been integrated throughout the course). In 2014 and 2015, the Club received the “Sustainability Award IAGTO” at the annual IGTM Golf Trade show. Again in 2015, the Club adopted the 231 model for a specific article of Law no. 81 /08 on quality and security system to prevent management responsibility.
Il GC Della Montecchia è situato in nord Italia nella Regione Veneto a circa 10 km dalla città di Padova. Ha 27 buche e si estende per 94 ettari ad una quota di 16 metri s.l.m. Coordinate geografiche: Latitudine nord 45° 23' 12''. Longitudine est 11° 45' 48''. Il percorso è stato costuito negli anni 1988/89 (prime 18 buche) e 1990 (terze nove buche). Il panorama che si osserva dal circolo e il clima sono quelli tipici della pianura Padana, ambienti aperti pianeggianti caratterizzati da freddo intenso invernale e caldo torrido in estate di natura continentale. Il suolo presenta caratteristiche franco limose e franco sabbiose in linea con la tipologia dei terreni alluvionali della zona. Non vi sono coperture boschive né zone umide di rilievo, la vista spazia su colture agricole prevalentemente vite e seminativo. La proprietà del golf era originariamente parte dei possedimenti del Conte Capodilista cui appartiene la villa rinascimentale ed il castello risalente al periodo medioevale adiacenti al Club House. Nel percorso di golf sono state definite diverse aree a nulla o bassa manutenzione in cui la vegetazione prativa cresce spontaneamente anche per una migliore armonizzazione del percorso nel territorio.
Il Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei limitrofo, fornisce belle viste sulle colline e a distanza si vedono le Alpi. Il GC Della Montecchia ha ricevuto nel 2007 un attestato di merito e nel 2012 un premio Impegnati nel Verde per la categoria Acqua; è inoltre citato del sito della R&A come case study per la conversione del tappeto erboso da micro a macroterme (sito più settentrionale in Europa dove le specie macroterme sono state inserite su tutto il percorso). Il Club ha ricevuto menzione dal R & A quale modello attuativo di conversione del tappeto erboso da specie microterme a specie macroterme (si tratta del sito posto alla latitudine più settentrionale in Europa Sia nel 2014 che nel 2015, il Club ha ricevuto il “Sustainability Award IAGTO” nel corso dell'annuale IGTM Golf Trade show. Ancora nel 2015, il Club si è dotato del modello 231 (Legge n° 81/08) quale marchio di qualità per la responsabilità manageriale.
The habitat is typical of the Po Valley: open and flat areas characterized by intense cold in the winter and sultry heat in the summer, of a continental nature. There are no forests or significant areas of wetland; the land is largely dedicated to agricultural crops, especially vineyards and arable land. A variety of tree species have been planted on the golf course; not all of them are indigenous. Moreover, zero and low-maintenance areas have been defined for a better harmonization of the golf course within the territory, where herbaceous vegetation grows freely. The environments are mainly characterized by grassland; trees and shrubs have been integrated along the holes and several zero or low-maintenance areas help the golf course to blend in with natural surroundings. The play area comprises a surface of around 43 hectares out of a total of 74. The vicinity of the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei (Regional Park of the Euganean Hills) means that you can enjoy breathtaking views of the hills and distant Alps.
Extensive golf environment research has been carried out in order to identify species of interest from a conservation point of view, including the following:
Grey Heron, Little Egret, Common Kestrel, European Nightjar, European Green Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Common House Martin, Common Starling, Eurasian Tree Sparrow.
They have recently conducted specific censuses: the first on wintering waterfowl by I.S.P.R.A. (Environmental Research Agency of the Ministry of Environment), the second on amphibians and reptiles for the Padua County Atlas (Triturus vulgaris, Bufo viridis, Rana dalmatina).
The golf course is located on the property of Count Capodilista, who also owns the villa and the castle which dates back to the Renaissance period. The University of Bologna has conducted research on tree heritage management. The study included complete monitoring of tree status, and substitution of allochthonous with autochthonous species. Furthermore, it suggests actions to guarantee the safety of golfers and workers.
All tees and fairways have been converted to hybrid bermuda (Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis) from 2010 to 2012. In 2016 the greens of the yellow course will also be converted to bermuda.
The University of Padua has also conducted research on the re-naturalization of the Club’s grasslands with the aim of improving and safeguarding biodiversity. According to the results, the correct management technique to enhance biodiversity is to mow the wild grass areas once a year or every two years. Enclosed is a complete list of studies and research involving the Club. The Club is in contact with LIPU (the Italian League for Birds Protection) to place nest boxes and bird feeder.
Wells extracting groundwater constitute the water supply source for the irrigation of the golf course area. The Club House, however, is connected to the municipal aqueduct as is the Maintenance Centre. In this latter case, the water for machine-washing comes from the groundwater reservoir.
The consumption of drinking water was reduced from 12,112 m³ in 2013 to 8,729 m³ in 2015 (2014 consumption was 9,003 m³), a 28% reduction. Over the past three years (2013/2015), course water requirements (golf course plus maintenance facilities) were further reduced with an average of 70,871 m³ (compared to 135,395 m³ in 2012), with a % decrease of 52.34%.
A computerized water system ensures the optimization of water distribution, enabling a perfect match among water requirements of the turfgrass and weather conditions of the site thanks to a connection with the local weather station.
The Club has replaced the turfgrasses of tees and fairways, previously coolseason species (mix of Lolium perenne, Poa pratensis, Poa annua, infested by Cynodon dactylon and Paspalum distichum), to warm-season varieties (hybrid of Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis cv Patriot). This operation started in 2010 and was concluded in 2012. Moreover, excluding rough, the irrigated surface has been reduced.
The Club has concluded its program to use just renewable energy. A new energy supplier is now able to provide the Club of 100% of renewable energy.
In the last three years the Club has achieved a considerable reduction in terms of energy consumption. The average of 2013/2015 data vs the average of 2010/2012 data is providing this reductions:
- 6% about gas (heating, hot water, kitchens and snack bar)
- 2,56 % about electric power (Club House and Pumping Station)
- 28,9 % about electric power (maintenance facilities)
- 8,46% about Diesel fuel (from 2013 to 2015)
No data on 2010/2012 are available about Gasoline.
Photovoltaic panels are placed in the maintenance facilities.
The Club is also committed to implementing a program aimed at decreasing golf course energy requirements through:
-reduction of energy consumption related to water supply (wells) and water distribution (reduction of requirements, see previous point)
-reduction of high-maintenance surfaces (fairways) in favor of areas with limited management (rough and uncultivated area)
-new heating/cooling control system in the Club House, replacing water-system with air-system air conditioners
-replacement of asbestos coverage with photovoltaic panels in the maintenance facilities
-golf carts with long-lasting and high efficiency batteries
-continuation of the gradual installation of low-energy lighting in the Club House started three years ago
-renewal of the pumping station of the irrigation system
-construction of a new energy class A facility
-increase low maintenance areas on the course to reduce water, fertilizer, pesticide and petrol inputs
A policy for green purchasing started in 2011. Since then, the club has carried out several actions, which include:
construction of car paths with recycled aggregates and supporting the restaurant head-chef who gives priority to ingredients from local producers
Local producers or sellers are used for sand, gravel, fertilizers, chemicals, food, equipment repairs, oil and wine. Of the total of 19 suppliers, 4 are in a ray of 10 km from the Club and 15 in a ray of 100 km. Many of the suppliers are accredited by ISO or other programs.
The following companies involved on golf course and club house management are accredited as follow:
-Elevator maintenance company (Kone, Certification ISO 14001 e ISO 9001)
-Company responsible for waste materials collection (Execo, certification EMAS)
-Company in charge of safety systems (Essetiesse, Certification ISO 9001)
-Company in charge of heating system (Dussich srl, certification UNI EN ISO 9001)
-Company in charge of air conditioning system (Climair, certification ISO 9001)
-Energy supplier (Electra Italia, Think Green program)
-Cashback Card supplier (Lyonnes, Green Infinity program)
The turfgrass conversion on tees and fairways from 2010 to 2012 (tees and fairways are now a hybrid of Cynodon dactylon x Cynodon transvaalensis cv Patriot, whereas greens, collars and aprons are Agrostis stolonifera) is now producing benefits in terms of water consumption (see previous point) and use of fertilizers and pesticides.
The use of fertilizers is now significantly lower compared to the average of other Italian golf courses in the Po Valley. Moreover, the Club adopted the BioGolf protocol for the nine holes belonging to the yellow course in 2015. The protocol requires the exclusive use of natural organic fertilizers and therefore the application of natural, organic N, P, K to the third nine holes should not be included in the total amount of fertilizers used.
As regards the maintenance of the turfgrass and in particular the use of fertilizers, it is important to note that the golf course uses an annual percentage (of N P K), which is significantly lower in comparison to the yearly average of other golf courses in the Po Valley, such as (Montecchia 2013/2015 average data vs "Golf Courses and traditional crops: a comparisons of inputs" data - ETS Conference – Pisa 2008):
N = 15.98 kg/ha/year in comparison to 39.8 kg/ha/year
P = 2.0 kg/ha/year in comparison to 2.64 kg/ha/year
K = 17.97 kg/ha/year in comparison to 27.63 kg/ha/year
Data regarding Club use of pesticides products is reassuring; (Montecchia 2013/2015 average data vs "Golf Courses and traditional crops: a comparisons of inputs" data - ETS Conference – Pisa 2008):
Active ingredients Fungicides = 0.61 kg/ha/year in comparison to 3.5 kg/ha/year
Active ingredients Herbicides = 0.16 kg/ha/year in comparison to 1.7 kg/ha/year
Active ingredients Insecticides = 0.001 kg/ha/year in comparison to 1.9 kg/ha/year
In the next years it will be probably not be possible having a further reduction in pesticides use and this is thanks to the Club's outstanding commitment to sustainable agronomic practices.
The Club separates its waste according to municipal regulations. It separates paper, plastic, metal, glass and organic matter. A specialized company collects oils and exhausted batteries (registration with SISTRI - Waste Tracking System), as well as clipping waste. There are baskets for separate collection on each tee. Clippings are returned to the turfgrass, except the greens. In this case clippings are evenly distributed on the semi-rough and rough. Pesticides are stored in accordance with the law.
The GC La Montecchia has been among the first clubs to support in 2000 the project “Committed to the Green”, demonstrating its long-term real commitment in favour of the environment and environmental quality which characterises the Club's management. Over the years, the Club has increased its collaboration with universities and other research bodies to conduct scientific studies and organize meetings and events to disseminate the results of its actions, such as the reduction of water consumption (by 73% from 2009 to 2015), and pesticides (herbicides by twelve times from 2009 to 2015, insecticides by four times from 2009 to 2016) replacing cool season with warm season species on almost the whole turfgrass (fairways and tees); only few tees still have cool season varieties. Moreover, the Biogolf protocol was adopted in 2015 on the yellow course, with specific measures for environmentally-friendly management and maintenance.
Water is submitted to various checks during the year (chemicals, biologicals visuals). On visual basis water is monitored weekly (inflow) and daily (on site, outflow). The outflow is monitored yearly.
All the waste water of this golf facility (course, Club House, Maintenance facility, wash pad) is following a formal discharge agreement.
All the hazardous materials (as detergents, cooking oil, lubrificants, pesticides containers, fertilisers bags, oil filters, batteries) is stored in secure storages in the maintenance facility (approx. 800sqm), managed following the recommendations of a company specialised on the Italian low prescriptions. Logbook is reguraly updated in compliance with the Italian law
A new 3.000 liters diesel tank was installed on 2011, following the Italian laws. The diesel tank is provided of a secondary containment, following Italian law prescriptions. Petrol is stored in special cabinets following Italian law prescriptions. Secondary containment for barrels of engine and hydraulic oil. Sawdust on chemical storage, on work shop and on caddy master building. The maintenance of equipment is carried out in the work shop (approx. 100sqm), located inside the shad of the maintenance facility.
With the aim to eliminate leaching and run off the club has decided:
- Spoon feeding fertilisation program on regular basis on greens, tees and fairways. Avoided any application in case of rain and following weather forecast.
- Since 2009 no more fertilisers and herbicides are applied on rough (with the exception of a few localised applications).
- From 2015, the Club has adopted the organic maintenance program following the "Biogolf" protocol on the yellow course.
- In the last two years the Club is testing some organic products to control pest
- Only products authorized by Italian laws, selected from less toxic, less persistent and of new synthesis.
- Testing organic products on putting green to control Typula spp. and earthwarm
- Testing pyroerbicide on bunkers and car path. For the most part herbicides are sprayed as spot treatments (only on rough). In the rest of the course there is a non chemical weed control (Agronomic practices, with the purpose to produce a very dense turf provided by deep roots: balanced fertilization program, high cut frequency, verticutting, coring, sand topdressing and so on).
- Wild areas and buffer zones around water bodies are pesticide-free zones
- Bermudagrass turf on tees and fairways managed without pesticide
The Club is significantly engaged in communication at a local level, both among its members (informative newsletters, continuous updates of the web site, signs on the golf course and in the Club House) and with the general public, via local media (newspapers, TV, radio, other web sites).
The Club's employees have all received formal and informal environmental education. About the course the Superintendent is a highly educated agronomist, supported by the Agronomists of Green Section of IGF. University of Bologna and University of Pisa are partners in a few researches on the course.
Sustainability is well established and communicated throughout Club departments / committees.
In particular, the following actions have been taken to improve the commitment to good relations with the local community:
-Contact with local schools including golf lessons for students and environmental education visits on the course.
-Visits to the experimental nursery of bermudagrass and on the course with students and professors from Padua University
-Contacts with local people and companies for visits to the winery, Villa Emo-Capodilista and Mottolo Castle; agreement with local thermal area
-Contacts with local and national research for collecting data on the fauna living on the course
-Good relations with local authorities
The golf facility provides access and diversified land use for others through:
- Installation of effective and welcoming signage
- Providing opportunities for other recreation (e.g. fishing)
- Partnership conservation and access projects (e.g. community woodland)
- Continuation of traditional agricultural activities
In order to conserve cultural heritage features the Club is organising the following activities:
- List of buildings and ancient monuments (The clubhouse is a restored and adapted old tobacco warehouse of the bordering farm of Count Emo Capodilista. The Count property include the Mottolo Castle (about 1200) and the Villa Emo Capodilista of architect and painter Dario Varotari (about 1560).
- Historic features (Canals system is part of the reclamation work of Bacchiglione river.).
The increasing of unmanaged, wild area was illustrated to all Montecchia staff and players: the purpose is to increase native flora and fauna, in accordance with the bordering Parco dei Colli Euganei and the history of the area.
The researches carried out by Padua University and Bologna University were very helpful in explaining the advantages that you have with the increase of wild areas
The Club has a very important network of promotional initiatives:
- Business community organized by commercial department.
- Specific communication with the customers of the club house restaurants of Alajmo's Family (1 Star Michelin).
- Agreement with neighboring wine estate and factory of Count Emo Capodilista for accomodation, visits to the winery, the Villa Emo Capodilista and the Mottolo Castle.
- Agreement with "Terme di Abano-Montegrotto"", the association of termal hotels close to Montecchia.
- Agreement with "Consorzio di Abano", the association of golf courses of the areas.
- Promotional initiatives for local factories and companies.
Specific events are organised for people of the area:
- visits from kindergarten children, to show the beauty of a green area near the city (trees and birds) and to know the game of golf
- visits from elementary and secondary schools to show the beauty of the golf course and of the golf game
- visits from professors and students of the Padua University to know management practices and to see the equipment;
- as part of ongoing cooperation with the Padua University, lectures to students on the subject "Golf Course management"
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Emergency Incident Plan
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Policy
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
- Minutes of Meetings
- Register of Accidents
- Training Log
The Club continues to be extremely sensitive of environmental topics and has set significant objectives over the years. The constant reduction of pesticides, water and electricity, as well as the use of 100 % renewable energy provided by a supplier, the reduction of the areas devoted to the game and the increase in natural areas and/or natural vegetation puts GC La Montecchia among the top clubs in terms of environmental sustainability. Action in favour of nature conservation and ongoing scientific studies demonstrate the Club's strong commitment, as well as its new experimentation carried out for the Biogolf brand.
1 – Conversion of the turfgrass from a coolseason turf (Agrostis stolonifera) to warmseason turf (Bermuda) for the greens of the yellow course, thus reducing water consumption and the use of plant protection products.
2 – Adoption of BioGolf protocol on yellow course.
3 - Use of 100 % renewable energy provided by a supplier.
4 - Increase in natural areas and/or natural vegetation
5 – Collaboration with University of Padua (wild areas management) and University of Bologna (tree heritage management)
6 – Educational program in nature and environment for elementary students.