The Shropshire Golf Centre

GEO Certified® 12/2014
Telford,
England, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01952 677800
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Executive summary (English & local language)

The Shropshire Golf Centre is located to the North of Telford on an area of high ground bordered by open farmland to the North South and East, Muxton to the West. The clubhouse complex is an attractive conversion of farm buildings with a car-park, maintenance buildings and floodlight driving range.

The underlying bedrock is sedimentary mudstone and sandstone formed around 300 million years ago with topsoil ranging across the site from sandy soils to heavier loams.

The facility was originally built in 1990 and provides 27 holes together with a 13 hole short course, Driving Range and Clubhouse with bar and function rooms. Recent expansions allow the clubhouse to cater for larger private and corporate functions including weddings receptions.

The recent addition of foot golf has increased the diversity of use at the club with the resulting increase of clubhouse patronage and prospect of encouraging non golfers in to the game.

Nature

The site is bounded by open farmland to the East, with residential and commercial development to the North, West and South. The historic use of the site for agriculture and this history is reflected in the design and habitats being maintained around the course.

The hedgerows and expanded areas of tree and scrub link the site to its history and the the surrounding farmland. Evidence of the industrial revolution is also being maintained in the form of section of canal clearing following the contours of the land and now providing additional golfing hazards.

The range of habitats is extensive and the areas between fairways substantial, allowing broad areas of land managed for wildlife.

In June 2014 a Phase 1 Habitat Survey was conducted and mapped the various habitats identified across the site. The Phase 1 survey has identified the presence of Early purple orchids (Orchis mascular)

The intention is to extent the process to a Phase 2 to identify specific species present at The Shropshire Golf Centre to further explore and map the species present.

There are no Statutory Designations however the site is identified as an Agricultural land scheme Higher Level Stewardship, the site of Deciduous Woodland Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Habitat and Arable Assemblage Bird Species habitat.

The greens are largely Annual meadow grass (Poa annua) with some common bents (Agrostis tenuis/capillaris) and this naturalised combination allows minimal inputs from the management while ensuring continued playability.

The remainder of the course is largely Perenial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) with Annual meadow grass (Poa annua) and is much less intensively managed providing good playing surfaces through the year.

The management of the entire site focuses on the ecological impacts and provides a good balance between leisure and natural habitat.

Examples are therefore all around the site and include nesting boxes, standing deadwood, rough and scrub-land, water and many more. Continuing review of the areas in play allows reduction in close mown amenity grass increasing habitat and reducing fuel and man-hours in maintenance.

Water

The course and its infrastructure were installed in the 1990's and although there have been upgrades and although much good work has been done, there are some opportunities for further progress with on-going upgrades and management.

Passive Infra Red (PiR) sensors have been installed to control excessive urinal flushes and modern taps or flow restrictors are likely to be the next stage of managed maintenance.

The irrigation is approximately 10 years old and held under a maintenance contract to ensure the infrastructure operates as efficiently as possible.

The clubhouse and maintenance buildings are on mains potable supply and sewerage, with the irrigation using borehole and water stored on site in reservoirs and water features.

The consumption figures follow patronage in the clubhouse and although the refitting of the function room toilets will have had a beneficial effect on consumption, the majority of clubhouse consumption is from the main ladies and gentlemen’s changing rooms.

The irrigation consumption peaked in 2011 when metered borehole supplies were used extensively. Reductions have been achieved by switching to reservoir supply in 2012 and 2013.

The Shropshire does not have an automatic irrigation system, the greens and tees are watered using a mobile bowser on assessed need.

Clubhouse water consumption is the subject of awareness programs to encourage responsible water use. In addition, the facility plans to upgrade the existing taps and showers with low flow heads in the next round of capital expenditure,

Irrigation use is reviewed on course and with weather forecasting to ensure minimum consumption and are switching supply to the extensive range of water held on course in reservoirs and other water features where possible.

Energy

The clubhouse is a combination of refurbishment of existing farm buildings and new buildings resulting from replacement of part of the building following a fire. The resulting combination creates differing demands and challenges in terms of management and maintenance.

Bulb upgrades to LED and CFL have been undertaken in the main bar area and function room with further upgrades to follow over the coming months.

Heating is provided by a wet central heating system powered by natural gas. It is encouraging to see a significant fall in heating consumption over the period under review. It is more remarkable when allowance is made for the Heating degree-days. This shows a “Like for like” reduction of approximately 11%, primarily been achieved through awareness and closer management control.

Electrical consumption has also increased over the period due to increased use of the building. The site has benefited from the installation of the bulb upgrades, staff awareness and controls which have certainly slowed the rate of increase over the period under review.

Fuels consumption has shown variation that could be considered largely in line with course use and activity that is always subject to weather conditions.

The overall CO2 emissions from the energy consumed on site and from owned vehicle has increased slightly but this is at least partly due to the increased building use and the expanding function business.

There are limited options for the use of renewable technology on site, the roof alignment provides some opportunity, how ever discussions are ongoing to identify the alternative available.

Awareness campaigns are in place to encourage responsible use of energy across the site. Staff are extremely active in this process and regularly discuss options and potential method to reduce consumption.

PIRs are fitted in the toilets and LED bulbs are being installed around the club house, and heating levels are being monitored to identify areas that could be zoned at lower levels without affecting comfort.

Supply Chain

The Shropshire Golf Centre trades with a range of suppliers and contractors, some of which are engaged at group head office and some locally. Local suppliers and contractors are most notable on the trade service and maintenance sectors, although the suppliers are regularly reviewed.

Deliveries are consolidated wherever possible to reduce delivery mileage and the group and site purchasing policy is to engage with suppliers to ensure environmental ambitions match and that waste is minimised and recycling maximised.

The club is part of Burhill Golf and Leisure and therefore there are some purchasing contracts arranged at head office, however the local arrangements are made for maintenance and certain other suppliers that provide more bespoke services.

Suppliers, whether arranged at local or national level are appointed based on a criteria hierarchy that includes environmental policy and ethical trading.

All trade contractors engaged by The Shropshire Golf Centre and half the maintenance contracts, catering and trade contractors are located within 10 miles of the course This interaction with the local suppliers secures the centre as a key part of the community.

Fertiliser inputs at The Shropshire are lower than I would be expected with similarly low levels of pesticides use. The assessment carried out as part of the management process allows inputs to be minimised and carefully monitored, underlining the intentional lean management of the turf grass.

Waste separation and recycling systems are operated through all departments at The Shropshire.

Pollution Control

The management culture and operations at The Shropshire demonstrates awareness of the legal requirements, and their wider and further reaching obligations to protect the environment.

The storage facilities, inventory records and training undertaken show the managements intent on risk management and prevention programmes. There are many areas of open water with a system of buffer zones and weather reviews prior to spraying.

Regular checks are made, along with a close review of the storage of chemicals, fuels and oils stored prior to use, or awaiting collection.

The clubhouse and maintenance area are both serviced by mains sewage, with an Environment Agency approved drainage system taking for the vehicle wash-down water to a reed lined pond at the centre of the site.

Chemicals are stored in bunded-locked cabinets within the maintenance building. Spill kits are easily accessible, as are water stations and first aid facilities in the event of a staff members being affected by a spillage. Fuels and oils are stored in proprietary bunded tanks

Full records are maintained including deliveries, stocks held and include where, when and how staff access and use any fuels oils or chemicals to ensure detailed management.

Both the maintenance area and the clubhouse use bunded stores for storing oils and chemicals. Wash-down water is recycled and treated and waste products collected periodically by a licensed contractor

Weather conditions are assessed prior to spraying and buffer zones are maintained in treated areas near boundaries to prevent drift and leaching.

Community

The Shropshire Golf Centre is an excellent facility with a strong connection with the local community. The club provides meeting facilities for a range of community groups as well as golf for beginners through to experienced low handicap players.

The addition of foot golf is an innovative method of increasing the numbers and demographics of patrons. It will be interesting to see the affect this has on the business.

The Shropshire Golf Centre employs 33 staff at peak times, and provides local employment and golf and leisure employment training at the facility.

The Sustainability Working group meets on a regular basis and includes key management representatives. This creates and encourages a questioning culture where suggestions are welcome from all the stakeholders that have clearly paid dividends.

Beginners lessons, kids golf and wider use of the facilities are encouraged including local schools and colleges. The facilities at The Shropshire Golf Centre are ideal to create engagement and bring new players in to the sport and non- golfers to enjoy the excellent clubhouse facilities or foot golf site.

Historically the site was agricultural, with pasture with scrub, woodland and hedges marking the historic field boundaries. This heritage is being maintained and enhanced under the current management.

Internal communications are provided via newsletters, notice boards and open discussions and includes management aims and course maintenance programmes to create awareness by stakeholders.

The website provides a range of information on environmental management of the site and future plans

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

The Shropshire Golf Centre is a well managed golf facility that extends a welcome beyond new and existing golfers. The clear demand for the club house and an events and community venue are largely due to the high levels of conform in the club house and the friendly helpful staff.

The inclusive attitude and diversification is a credit to the management, BGL and provides an excellent example of a dynamic golf operation.

I am very happy to recommend certification.

Certification Highlights

The interest in the conservation of habitats and species involves staff, members and external groups allowing detailed discussions including all the key stakeholders and allowing a detailed programme to defined and implemented.

The low use of both fertilisers and pesticides at this site is should be acknowledged and recognised and results from the physical intervention and turf management.

The most simple, and cost effective, action undertaken is to stick coloured labels on the light switch panels – Red do not switch on, green - OK. A simple idea that prevents the temptation to sweep a hand across all the light switches first thing in the morning. It has made the staff think and costs almost nothing – Brilliant!