Oslo Golf Club
Executive summary (English & local language)
The key to the great sustainability work on Oslo GK is the strong engagement from the board and the employees in leading positions. Without this, very little of what has been done would have been realized, and that’s a fact. A lot have happened on Oslo GK since its first GEO-certification in 2013.
The club’s serious proposal for building a new clubhouse, the new thorough species survey, displayed on Google maps, a new system for the waste management including a money saving cardboard press and the new bandy field on the driving range are some of them. These four improvements alone show the seriousness in which the club conducts its sustainability work. Especially the bandy field used by a local bandy club together with the collaboration with cross-country skiing organizations shows the club’s will to interact with the surrounding community. The club clearly understands the need of having a good and constructive relation to the community, not only for goodwill but also for securing the future general acceptance for golf clubs using valuable land areas for playing golf. And from the public’s angle the species survey displayed on Google maps is also an enhancement measure for acceptance, this must not be forgotten. All in all, Oslo GK is a splendid ambassador in Norway when it comes to sustainability work and the hope is that it will have many followers the coming years.
A large lake, The Bogstad Lake, situates the course and the course's hilliness is performing a beautiful viewing over the surroundings and the lake. The club has a quite small area to work with, 49 ha, but is doing well in trying to fit natural areas together with the actual course with its playing fields. The club is surrounded by large, and sometimes old, villas so even if it’s near the city of Oslo you can’t say there is a suburban pressure on it. The course was reshaped in 2007-2008, mostly in order to prolong the playing season.
The species survey conducted in 2016 is very thorough and on Google maps you can watch where all the species can be spotted. This is a brilliant innovation when it comes to showing the biodiversity on the course to the members and public. The ecological description and management recommendations made in 2007, followed in some ways by the club, before the reshaping of the course is a good start for really managing the nature areas in a good way and. And, since a couple of years back a specific staff member is responsible for the management of the nature areas, which is great.
The municipality designates some of the areas on the course, though they are not really protected. Two large areas at the border of the course are kept mostly untouched. At the 12th hole a high canopy woodland of Betula pendula and Fraxinus excelsior with Fomentarius being an important fungus on dead Betula pendula trees. The other area is at the 17th hole, another woodland sloping down to the lake and the fairway. Three meadows are thinned out annually during the beginning of fall.
The club has a close cooperation with Bioforsk, a main research center when it comes to grass species used on golf courses, in selecting the grass species. The main turf grass species used on greens, tees and fairways is a mix, also used by Bioforsk in its research studies, of Agrostis stolofinera/palustris (Creeping bent), well selected for coping with the regional climate and the former farmland soil. For Creeping bent a lot of mechanical and cultural practices is needed. This is one of the main reasons that the club is keeping the amount of Poa annua to a minimal level. This is done with for example hand-cutting greens 7 days a week and verticutting every 3rd week.
A tree-plan was conducted in 2015 and is supposed to be the base for new planting of trees. During the choosing of which trees to plant the club is consulting the municipality which is careful in choosing no alien species and with the ecology in mind. Since some years back the club is letting the nettles adjacent to some of the holes grow big and set flowers. The nettles attract around 3,000-4,000 Peacock butterflies (Aglais io) every year. The Niobe fritillary (Argynnis niobe) is also seen in the area, a butterfly species, which is rare and endangered but at this area they are around 2,500 each year during mating season. During the last years haymaking has been conducted at hole 13 and 14, which is the cause of the enhancement of several species in the area. 150 bird nests for small birds are enhancing the biodiversity on the course. The birds contributed in cutting down the amount of pest insects, mostly the Crane fly (Tipuloidea). The small birds eat the larvae when they are small.
The club has a modern irrigation system connected to a weather station and the course manager has a very good knowledge of the irrigation need for the course. The club is continuously improving the use of water in order to minimize irrigation and to get even cleaner water.
An audit concerning cations, anions and micronutrients in the sedimentation dam has been carried out and the results shows that everything is ok. The season of 2015 was particularly rainy and therefore the amount of irrigated water was very low that year. The club's main sources of water for the course are the lake and rainfall. The lake is naturally filled and the club has unlimited extraction. Since 2010 you can notice that the amount of water used at the clubhouse has decreased, which is great of course, even though the exact reasons for this are not well documented.
The amount of water needed for irrigation is closely dependent on the yearly rainfall. The Oslo region can some years have a lot of rain, decreasing the amount of irrigation. The weather station on site gives, except for ordinary weather data, indications of ET. The irrigation cycles are, except for daily ocular monitoring of course, based on this data. Cold and snowy winters also contribute to the amount of water needed in the coming season, as much is needed to bring newly turfed areas to life.
The club has invested in arcs, sector sprayers adjusted continuously in order not to irrigate where it’s not needed, including the wind direction in the calculus. One of the more effective actions for the moment is the change to a Smart pump, a computer program, for the pump station which recognizes when a leakage has occurred, telling the greenkeeper to fix it. This is especially important concerning small leakages hard to detect. The club has low-flow urinal, efficient shower technology and daily monitoring of leakage.
The club is aware that reducing energy currently is on the top of their exercise list and therefore is eager to enhance their practice and management. In the OnCourse-registration the club claim to not use any renewable energy, but during the on-site visit it appeared that approximately 90-95 percent of the energy comes from hydro sources. Norway don’t have any certificated “green” energy and maybe the golf industry in Norway can be a driving force for this. This highlights an opportunity to educate and inform club staff and users about sustainability.
A very thorough energy audit concerning the clubhouse was during 2015 carried out by a well-respected company. The conclusion in the audit says that investments in nearly 29 millions NOK is needed in order to conduct the energy and money saving measures needed. This is of course an extremely large sum of money and the club is now working on a proposal for a completely new clubhouse, a solution also recommended by the company doing the audit. The proposal will be presented to the members in late 2016 and a decision made in early 2017. If the members say yes to the proposal, the cost of the new clubhouse is set to around 45 million NOK and the building is expected to be on place in the spring of 2019 and the club has ideas of using solar panels and heat pumps in it.
A Bandy field taken care of by a nearby a nearby Bandy club has been constructed during 2015-2016 and is now an Eldorado for young Bandy players. The club had thoughts of letting let the energy generated by the Bandy field heat a nearby house but the cost for this investment was to high for the club. Bandy is sport played on ice with eleven players in each team on a field the size of a football field. The players have round shaped clubs and a small ball is used. The sport is especially popular in the Nordic countries and Russia.
The club has installed an automatic decrease in temperature in the main maintenance building during winter and the same installation was made in the clubhouse some years ago. Cycle parking by the clubhouse and maintenance building, golf bag lockers and a hitchhikers bench, all in order to reduce transport energy used, are activities worth noting. In the new agreement with the club's energy supplier you can to see how much energy is used in the different parts of the facility. New thermostats have been installed in the maintenance building and when changing light bulbs is needed more energy efficient ones are put in.
The club has a very enlightened way of thinking and acting when it comes to its supply chain. Almost every purchase is going through a thorough decision using the environmental and economical effects.
The club has a sort of purchasing policy when it comes to ethical and environmental issues. Although not written down the club uses it in the everyday management and while choosing suppliers.
The total number of suppliers within 10 km is very high which is a good thing. One reason for this is the club's will to use local ones. The club don’t have any philosophy on organic and seasonal products but are always trying to buy local products.
The club has noticed an overall decrease in the amount of fertilizers used. This is due to three things: The club has invested in new equipment, an altered cutting regime is in place and a new employee is in charge of the mowing strategy. The last factor is of course very important but also the new equipment has decreased the amount of spill while fertilizing. Although the club uses (foremost in early fall) preventive pesticides, they have good causes for this due to severely cold winters. The existing knowledge and experience shows that when the course is going in to a certain stage, it is best to use pesticide, in a small scale, at some places in order to prevent diseases instead of waiting for them to appear, leading to more pesticides being used. The yearly fertilizing plan is based both on the last year’s figures and together with this a mechanical program for the season is set up. This contains verti-cutting, rolling, aeration, seeding, top dressing and of course mowing.
The club now has a new and better system for waste management, conducted by a private company, instead of as earlier, the municipality. The new system is more effective, mostly when it comes to reuse and recycling. And, the club has invested in a cardboard paper press, which means that cardboard only needs to be collected twice a month instead of as earlier, twice a week, which saves the club around 5,000-8,000 NOK per month.
The club has good control over their potential pollution and does what it can to prevent possible accidents. Continual education for the staff is done to enhance this. Overall, possible leaching of bad substances is being prevented in a very good manner. For example, the greens have sealed impervious plastic cover on the green floor to minimize leaching and the fertilizer equipment is drop-seeding and lays the fertilizer down instead of throwing it out. The IPM management of the course described in the On-Course is of course doing a lot of work in order to prevent pollution.
Water quality analysis is carried out although they are not done in a systematic way. The analysis shows that the course is not a net contributor of substances found in fertilizers and pesticides. However, water analysis in general are not very confident due to constant changing external conditions like rain, external actor’s pollution etc.
The wastewater runs down into a sand filter that takes away the impurities. The cleaned water is thereafter let out in the surrounding vegetation and the municipality has approved this solution.
The hazardous materials are stored in sealed compartments and the staff is continually being educated when it comes to handling and storage. The fuel storage is a sealed room in the maintenance building, covering it from being part of a fire in other parts of the building.
The pesticide cabinets have been upgraded with a spillage container and the place where to mix the pesticides has been mowed to a new place and now includes a concrete shield about half a meter in height in order to cover it. Dangerous substances are stored in a certified cabinet in the maintenance building and all maintenance is done in this building, which has concrete floors.
The club has invested in a new pesticide sprayer, which decreases the amount of spill and also is more effective when it comes to the actual use of pesticides. If the weather forecast says rain the club wait with using any planned fertilizers and pesticides.
The relation with the municipality has got better, much due to the club’s will, and now it consists of a yearly meeting with an official discussing the operation and maintenance of both the course and nature. The club has a good relationship with the surrounding society, especially the cross-country skiing and bandy organizations.
The club keeps the education for the staff going continually and has biannually education in first-aid for the entire staff and two rehearsals every year.
The club has during the last three years decided to include members together with the employees in the sustainability-working group. The members in the group are responsible for the work with birds, trees and insects. The group is not a committee but the employees in it have large economic responsibilities in their ordinary functions at the club.
The club has tried to initiate a collaboration with local NGO:s but not succeeded yet. The new driving range is now used as a bandy field by the local bandy teams during the winter. This is an excellent way of collaboration with the local community. During winter the whole course is used for cross-country skiing and the club has a close collaboration with the local cross-country skiing organization and the Norwegian skiing association. The public paths have been upgraded since the reshaping of the course.
An old road, now a monument, built in 1800 is coming up to the clubhouse together with an old wall. The road is listed as a heritage under the Cultural Heritage Act and the club is well aware of this.
The club has for the last three years put the new species survey up on Google maps where you can see where all the species on the course can be spotted, which is brilliant. The GEO-certification and the ongoing sustainability work are being communicated to the members during annual members meetings, in the club magazine and the public management plan. A guide to the birds that thrive on the golf course is included in the course guide. All this communication is equal for members and staff and some of it also reaches the guests, especially the bird guide.
As listed above the club really wants to have the public on the course when it is not being used for golf. The new bandy field is one of the best. A welcoming sign is installed at the entrance of the clubhouse and the public paths are maintained throughout the golfing season. The paths are kept open during winter for dog-walkers and skiers.
- 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
Since my last visit to Oslo GK a lot has happened in the sustainability area. In my opinion this has a lot to do with the engagement from the board and employees with a lot of responsibility. And, of course, as being to this date the only golf club in Norway having received the GEO-certification the club is a natural model for the sustainability work in the golf sector in the country. The club has conducted sustainability work for not more than four years but is despite that a splendid model for this. The club’s serious proposal for building a new clubhouse, partly due to a thorough and serious energy audit, in order to both by far reduce the amount of energy used and the money spent on operation and management is a great way of conducting sustainability. To this comes the new thorough species survey, which can be watched on Google maps, a brilliant innovation. Speaking of nature, when it comes to this field it becomes even better as a specific staff member now is charge of the management of the nature areas, which is rather unique for a golf club. The community relations have also enhanced with the production of a new bandy field, also used as driving range during the golf season. Splendid! To sum up, the club has a clear insight of what proper sustainability work means now, and in the future, when it comes to being part of a better world, giving credit to the sport and creating an even more joyful game of golf.
The new cardboard paper press saves 5,000-8,000 NOK per month.
- During the trip on the course one of the staff members showed a rather surprisingly engagement in the flora and fauna on the course.
- The club’s serious proposal for building a new clubhouse, partly due to a thorough and serious energy audit, in order to both by far reduce the amount of energy used and the money spent on operation and management is a great way of conducting sustainability.