Golf & Countryclub Liemeer
Executive summary (English & local language)
Golf club Liemeer opened its doors in 2008. The course has some characteristics of an inland links, with undulating fairways and partly lovely views to the surrounding agricultural landscape. The club has a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable GEO-team. Participating in the GEO-program clearly paid off. Species richness has increased and the club is now more aware of environmental issues. On several places traditional lightning has been replaced by LED lighting, and even though opened for just a few years the club is now replacing its irrigation system with more modern equipment. All activities on and around the course are according to legislation. Even though certified in 2013 for the first time, they will still be working on an even more sustainable management. Activities with respect to the GEO-program in the last few years and for the future (2016-2019) have been properly described.
Golf & Countryclub Liemeer is situated in the densely populated western part of the Netherlands. Surface area of the golf course is roughly 33 ha of which about 50% is designated as golf area, the other 50% consists of ecological grassland, scrub vegetation, wetland and surface water. Since the first GEO-certification in 2013 the club has undertaken a number of measures to improve the ecological quality of the golf course: 1) increase the surface area of natural habitats, 2) protect (and communicate on) endangered and protected species, 3) increase surface of native shrub vegetation. With respect to 1 and 2 they clearly succeeded. The number of plant species increased from roughly 160 to 240 over the period 2012-2015, and new species like the natter jack were observed in 2015. On several places new native shrub vegetation was created with species like broom and gorse. This variety of vegetation types will certainly lead to a further increase in species richness. During the first few years of the club’s existence several non-native shrubs were planted. It would credit the club if these non-native species will be replaced by native ones in the future. For the coming years the club has set a number of goals with respect to nature conservation and improvement of the ecological value. They are now analyzing the possibility to increase biodiversity by using sheep, and they will install boxes for birds, bats and insects.
Tap water use slowly decreased the last few years with approx. 200 cubic metres, presumably due to the use of modern water saving equipment. Also the golfers are requested via signs not to spill tap water. The club uses surface water for irrigating greens, tees and fairways. To further reduce the rate of irrigation wetting agents are now being used, and part of the irrigation system will be renewed. Total use on the course is rather high, possibly partly due to leakages. These leakages are now being repaired and new flow meters will be installed to analyze the irrigation rate more accurately. The club now analyses financial possibilities to install a weather station and soil moisture sensors.
The relatively new clubhouse is well isolated and many windows are facing south/east direction, thus minimizing the use of electricity. Staff and golfers are regularly informed on energy issues to further reduce consumption. Bulbs have been replaced the last years and now the club gradually will replace energy consuming lightning by LEDs. The club has analyzed the possibility to install solar cells and concluded that for the time being this would be too expensive. Still they will follow the solar cell market closely.
All use of chemicals and its storage is according legislation. Use of fungicides is low and fungal attack is accepted to a certain degree. Fertilization rates are average for the Netherlands and tuned to the desired grass species. As this low-lying golf course is very wet, percentage of Fescue species on the fairways gradually decreased the last years and have been naturally replaced by grass species with a higher fertilizer requirement. The greenkeeping staff is now searching for more appropriate grass species adapted to wet situations. During my visit we had a lively discussion on waste separation and waste reduction. One of the possibilities discussed was the removal of waste bins in the course. This would possibly reduce the amount of litter in the course. They are now considering some small trials the test this.
Machinery is cleaned on a impervioused floor and waste water firstly passes an oil-grease separator before it is discharged to the surface water. All chemicals are stored according to legislation. In the course non-spraying areas have been defined and maintenance with heavy machinery near surface waters is avoided.
The club communicates intensively on maintenance and nature issues via newsletters and website. The club now also shares its knowledge with one of the surrounding golf clubs and also communicates with local nature organizations on possibilities to further enhance biodiversity. All staff is properly trained on safety and legislation issues. Club members also participate in maintaining the golf course upto standards (e.g. repairing divots, removing and separate waste from the course). Both the club and greenkeeping staff is aware of the fact that pesticides use will possibly be prohibited on golf courses in the nearby future by the Dutch government, and they are now looking for alternative management strategies.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Management Plan
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
The club and especially the GEO-team clearly showed that they are well aware of all nature and environmental issues on and around the course. They also clearly showed that they further want to improve their sustainable management with respect to both nature and environmental issues.
During my visit it became clear that this club has a very knowlegdeable GEO-team, that not only works towards an even more sustainable management but also clearly set goals for the nearby future. Therefore I, Adrie van der Werf, highly recommend that Golf & Countryclub Liemeer maintains the GEO Certified ecolabel for another 3 years.