Foshan Golf Club

GEO Certified® 10/2013 GEO Re-Certified 10/2016
Foshan City,
China
Telephone: +86 757 8118 2222
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Foshan Golf Club is on a large property at the center of a larger development; the golf club land serves as the core green space and wildlife habitat of the development. One notices the large trees and expanses of scrub vegetation and native woodland; the maintained turf, by comparison, covers a small area. When encountering one of the many ponds on the property, it is not just a view of water, but also a healthy pond with native plants growing in the shallow areas and on floating islands. Maintenance of the drought-tolerant grasses on the course is carefully planned to minimize inputs. The club management is aware of and committed to sustainability best practices, by taking steps to reduce energy and water use, by installing a socially conscious work environment and education of club staff, members, and neighbors, and through an active effort to purchase from local suppliers.

Nature

Foshan Golf Club carefully manage the property to enhance the environment. The golf course was built with large areas of natural grassland, and those areas have been expanded in the past three years. There has also been an increase in no-maintenance groundcover (Wedelia spp.) areas.

The ponds and wetlands on site contain floating islands with native plants. Forested areas are connected to the low-maintenance grassed areas, the no maintenance areas, and to the ponds, creating habitat corridors throughout the property.

Large trees are a visually striking feature of the site. The trees are sparingly and carefully pruned to allow sufficient light to reach the turf. The mowing lines and mowing heights of the turf are adjusted seasonally to optimize the playing conditions. This allows the turf to co-exist with the large trees.

The club maintains a relationship with the South China Agricultural University. Previously the club received advice from independent GEOSA Jimmy Zhang to help prepare for and put systems in place to meet the standard for GEO certification.

The continued adjustments to the grassing plan and to the low-maintenance and no-maintenance areas are appropriate and are noticeably improving the course as it matures. This increases the habitat areas, creates corridors for wildlife, and reduces inputs for golf course maintenance.

The species on the course are appropriate for the climate although they require careful attention during the cloudy and rainy weather in order to maintain a dense stand of turf. Lawns around the clubhouse and in public areas adjacent to the golf course are native Zoysia which requires low inputs throughout the year.

Water

Irrigation is only used as required to produce the desired growth rate for the turfgrass on the golf course. All water used for irrigation is surface water collected from rainfall on the property. The clubhouse is fitted with low-flow toilets and faucets, along with efficient showerheads to minimize the use of water.

The quantity of water used for golf course irrigation is appropriate for the selected grasses in this climate. Although the facility has seen increasing traffic since opening, the measures taken to improve water use efficiency in the clubhouse, employee canteen, and staff dormitories have been effective, in that there has been a relatively small increase in the quantity of water used.

The irrigation system is regularly checked for proper operation. Soil surfactants are used to improve the efficiency of the water that is applied, thus reducing the quantity required as irrigation. The soil is checked for dry spots to further improve the targeted application of water.

The bermudagrass used for the maintained playing areas is drought tolerant, requiring irrigation only to maintain the desired growth rate. The ongoing reductions in maintained turfgrass will result in an even lower irrigation requirement.

Energy

The club is making continuing improvements in energy efficiency. Even with the increased traffic in the years since the club opened, the energy use has increased slowly. There have been specific steps taken to diversify the energy supply and to choose renewable or lower emission sources.

The club has changed from a gas-fired hot water heating system to a solar water heating system.

Lights in the clubhouse have been changed to LED, and timing for the lights is carefully monitored to reduce the energy use. Heating and cooling temperatures are set to optimal levels and are adjusted seasonally. There are shuttle buses, bicycle parking, and encouragement of vehicle sharing. There is extensive education and communication about energy use and ways to save energy provided to staff and to members.

Supply Chain

The club makes a conscious effort to work with local suppliers, with 95% of the suppliers classified as local. There is careful attention to integrated pest management and to maintaining healthy turfgrass, both of which allow inputs to be minimized. A new kitchen waste treatment facility and widespread recycling of materials ensures efficient use of materials with minimal waste.

The club works with local suppliers who in many cases can collect containers after products are used. Recyclable and biodegradable products are preferentially chosen, when available.

The club has implemented the latest practices to improve plant health and to reduce the requirement for pesticides. As an example, low-mown putting green turf, in cloudy and rainy weather, is susceptible to fungal pathogens. Fungicide applications can be reduced, however, by a slight increase in the mowing height during those times to make the grass healthier. These practices are used as part of a broader integrated pest management strategy to tolerate pests up to a damage threshold. The end result is a minimized use of pesticides. Herbicide use is minimized by regular hand-picking of weeds.

The club is part of the Canton First Estate development, and kitchen waste from the club and from the employee canteen is treated in the Estate's environmental centre. Grass clippings are recycled on most of the golf course, which reduces the fertilizer requirement. There is periodic staff training about recycling and environmental issues, and posters are also displayed to guide the staff behavior.

Pollution Control

The club carefully stores all hazardous materials, uses techniques to reduce the requirement for their use, and regularly monitors the water quality on the site. The golf course equipment wash pad discharges to a reed bed for filtering. The water bodies on the golf course contain floating islands that serve as bio-filters.

There is monthly testing of chemical and biological parameters of the water inflow, on-site, and outflow.

Water from the dormitories and the equipment wash pad goes to a large reed bed.

Hazardous materials are stored in secure locations and are mixed and used in designated areas.

Fuels are stored in tanks according to local regulations. Maintenance of equipment, and mixing of pesticides and fertilizer, occurs in designated areas with impervious surfaces so any spills can be contained.

There are vegetative buffer strips around many water bodies. Reduced areas of maintained turf lead to fewer areas that receive fertilizer or pesticides.

Community

There is an extensive staff education program about environmental issues. The Green Passport for the Foshan Open is provided to visitors to explain and promote the environmental management practices at the site.

Employees receive training and continuing education about the safe and efficient performance of their assigned jobs. There is also specific education about environmental issues, encouragement of recycling, and training about energy use.

The development of a path around Da Hao Lake, the Canton First Estate environmental centre, and signs throughout the property, all contribute to easy community involvement with and awareness of the property. The club has good relations and regular communication with local community, environmental, and business groups. the club also works closely with schools, colleges, and universities, to provide education and opportunities for students.

Areas surrounding the site are still used for traditional agricultural activities.

Regular newsletters for staff and for members provide information so people can know more about the club and its activities.

Website information and the Green Passport for the Foshan Open provide information about the club and its activities and features to the public.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

Foshan Golf Club is committed to good environmental management across all levels of management. The club sits on a large property which provides wildlife habitat and a large amount of green space and rainwater collection in the midst of Guangdong - with 105 million people, it is China's most populous province. The club started off on a good footing with commendable management practices adopted from the outset. The past three years have seen development and consolidation of ideas, which for a young facility safeguarding a valuable green space is impressive. I look forward to seeing the progress.

Certification Highlights

Continued naturalization of site with low maintenance rough grasses
Transition to LED lighting in clubhouse
Introduced solar heating system for water, replacing gas-fired boiler
Hosting the Foshan Open the club is in a good position and keen to promote sustainability throughout the region