Dundonald Links

GEO Certified® 12/2013 GEO Re-Certified 03/2017
Irvine,
Scotland, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01294 314000
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Back in 2013 I commented that, “the commitment, dedication and passion at Dundonald towards ensuring environmental sustainability and best practice working Sustainability through all areas is a core driver at this club, something that has been built into the core business from the outset and which is strongly evident throughout the entire facility. Environmental and ecological and environmental management is very much routine”. This is still true in 2016, indeed the club are constantly leading the field when it comes to integrating sustainability and best practice management through all areas of their operations.

Nature: The golf club continue to make excellent strides with respect to nature conservation and best practice management. Over the past 3 years’ additional records have been collated enabling a significant update to existing species listing. In particular, fungal and moth records were demonstrated, these being collated by volunteers from both the Royal Botanic Society and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The Butterfly Conservation Trust is also heavily involved at Dundonald with respect to the small blue re-introduction programme and in collating lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) records. In addition, a pest and disease tolerance matrix has been created highlighting principal pests such as rabbits, crows, moles, leather jackets and fungal diseases with thresholds for action and preferred management treatments. In 2014 rabbit populations and spread of disease were controlled by lethal means, undertaken by a professional contractor with the required legal permits. I requested that Dundonald look at reviewing and amending the policy of lethal control, to form part of the Club’s continual improvement going forward. The Club was very receptive to this and have already been researching and developing this management aspect.

Water resource management has improved significantly over the past 5 years or so, water and waste water management procedures are now well in place. A comprehensive water audit has been undertaken for the whole Club. Water conservation and pollution prevention practices are in place and the Club also employ efficient irrigation system working.

Supply Chain: One element of sustainability that Dundonald Links is exceptional in promoting is supply chain working. The Club have adopted their own sustainable procurement guidelines which are provided to all new incumbents entering the Club (at any level). The guidelines prompt all Dundonald staff to firstly become aware in the need to ensure sustainable working and ensure involvement in purchasing of goods, responsible sourcing, ethical purchasing and importantly local purchasing and supply.

Waste: is an area where Dundonald Links are extremely strong. The Club over the last few years have further improved waste management through all areas of working. Particular examples standing out included the use of refills for hand wash and for other household materials. No plastic or cardboard cups are used and all purchases are considered in line with their overall waste footprint. In particular a basic appreciation of good and bad waste management has evolved such that this Club leads the golfing sector in terms of their comprehensive waste strategies across all areas of working

Community: The Club show a very positive commitment to personal development through all staff. External communication is strong and indeed is quite unique given the small blue reintroduction programme running through north to south Ayrshire which involves many stakeholder partners, businesses, golf clubs and farmers and domestic residencies. This is another area that stands out has unparalleled within the golfing sector. New golf members have been recruited on the back of this club's environmental credentials.

Energy: Cost savings and energy efficiency is a major driver of the Club’s sustainability working over the last 3 years, Dundonald Links have significantly reduced electricity costs by working ‘off-peak’. Gas use has dropped significantly given the turnover to LPG, rather than Calor. Many small initiatives have been put in place that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the Golf Club and in turn is reducing transport and waste costs.
Total diesel costs have reduced over the last 3 years. Non-renewable grid electricity remains consistent as does petrol and fuel usage.
A number of waste initiatives, including reductions in use of plastic cups in the staff water coolers and routine house keeping is all leading to massive energy savings whilst reducing the carbon footprint and waste costs.

Nature

The golf club continue to make excellent strides with respect to nature conservation and best practice management. Over the past 3 years’ additional records have been collated enabling a significant update to existing species listing. In addition, a pest and disease tolerance matrix has been created highlighting principal pests such as rabbits, crows, moles, leather jackets and fungal diseases with thresholds for action and preferred management treatments. The Club have developed a very effective self evaluation matrix that provides a monitor of progress over the last 3 years. The matrix demonstrates how the Club have improved in terms of habitat and species understanding. Conservation management practice, habitat protection to a strong knowledge and awareness of conservation interests. The baseline surveys are helping management and they do provide a good focus for the Club in discussing future management objectives.

Fungal and moth records were demonstrated, these being collated by volunteers from both the Royal Botanic Society and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The Butterfly Conservation Trust is also heavily involved at Dundonald with respect to the small blue re-introduction programme and in collating lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) records.
The self evaluation matrix highlighted above is a summary developed from a very comprehensive action plan running in conjunction with The Environmental Management Plan (2012-2017) all of which remains a well-used and very practical document.

Full and strong awareness with respect of site designations something that is backed by the links and tie in with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and other statutory and non statutory consultees. Principle habitats are managed in accord with the clubs self written management plan.

The Club clearly demonstrated to me their improved knowledge and awareness on ecological eco-system and aesthetic processes (site evaluation matrix). The Club are aware of their conservation designations and responsibilities for management, this awareness has led to excellent communication with the local wildlife reserve and with Scottish Wildlife Trust, with both areas working in a much closer partnership.

Turgrasses and the management thereof is entirely appropriate for the site and the prevailing conditions. In 2017 Dundonald Links will host both the 2017 men's and ladies' Scottish Opens A ground-breaking co-sanctioning agreement between the LET and LPGA. This is a powerful testament to the quality of works secured.

In summary: Turf grass management is first class undertaken with a strong knowledge base and with the greens staff working to established integrated turf management programmes and IPM. This Club is without doubt an Ambassador for sustainability with constant monitoring of energy, water, fertiliser, pesticide and other turf grass inputs.

Recently Dundonald have set aside land for conservation in response to a possible new housing development, the land to be retained as set aside and enhanced for conservation gain. School children, naturalists and other interested parties are all encouraged to visit Dundonald to undertake school activities or engage in natural history related activities. This club provide a bespoke field station for this purpose.

Water

In summary, water resource management has improved significantly over the past 5 years or so, water and waste water management procedures are now well in place and well established. A comprehensive water audit has been undertaken for the whole Club. Water conservation and pollution prevention practices are in place and the Club also employ efficient irrigation system working.

Base line figures were provided for total annual water consumption (all areas). This remains relatively constant at around 2.5 million litres per annum. Within the clubhouse (potable only). Water use on the golf course varies according to weather and environmental conditions, but generally remains stable at around 5 million litres. Total consumption on the golf course in 2013 was 6.5 million litres.
For the golf course water source is 50% bore hole/50% mains. Water sources are mixed within the irrigation lake to reduce total levels of sodium (evident within the bore hole source).

The irrigation system for the facilities is serviced annually with regular checks of the golf course system for leaks etc.

Principal activities in place to reduce water consumption include : Grass species selection and appropriate directed turf management practices. Soil Moisture levels are documented and records are kept. A review of the golf course irrigation system requirements has lead to several irrigation heads being removed. In the clubhouse and associated areas low flush toilets with sensors are installed. All staff receive toolbox talks on starting and periodically geared to sustainable management which includes water management. Water coolers for drinking water are table top mains supplied to reduce waste, and efficient water boiler equipment is in place for staff use.

Energy

Cost savings and energy efficiency is a major driver of the Club’s sustainability working over the last 3 years, Dundonald Links have significantly reduced electricity costs by working ‘off-peak’. Gas use has dropped significantly given the turnover to LPG, rather than Calor. Many small initiatives have been put in place that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the Golf Club and in turn is reducing transport and waste costs.
Total diesel costs have reduced over the last 3 years. Non-renewable grid electricity remains consistent as does petrol and fuel usage.

A number of waste initiatives, including reductions in use of plastic cups in the staff water coolers and routine house keeping is all leading to massive energy savings whilst reducing the carbon footprint and waste costs. Routine best practice working towards energy is well covered within the Club's application. In summary formal energy audits have been completed and the energy policy now in place is striving cost savings whilst reducing the Club’s carbon footprint. The Club are continuing to monitor existing practices whilst looking to improve further in all areas of energy management. This Club is an Ambassador to others in terms of understanding of/and procurement of energy conservation.

Principle source of energy is now LPG and this has reduced gas use significantly. The club still rely on off peak electricity and use petrol and diesel for course maintenance.

Dundonald have converted from Calor gas to LPG improving energy use and cost savings

Energy audits have been followed by numerous smaller initiatives including upgrading of appliances water heaters, coolers etc. In the maintenance facility, appointed energy monitors are responsible for overseeing energy efficiency, use and management.

Supply Chain

One element of sustainability that Dundonald Links is exceptional in promoting is supply chain working. The Club have adopted their own sustainable procurement guidelines which are provided to all new incumbents entering the Club (at any level). The guidelines prompt all Dundonald staff to firstly become aware in the need to ensure sustainable working and ensure involvement in purchasing of goods, responsible sourcing, ethical purchasing and importantly local purchasing and supply. This helps support the local economy from a personal point of view it also improves individuals understanding of the issues and sustainable management requirements. Individuals are steered towards understanding costs and environmental impacts of purchasing and the Club work proactively with companies to progress environmental initiatives and exchange best practice information.

The Club provided a comprehensive evaluation of fertiliser, insecticide and fungicide usage between 2013 – 2015.
Waste is an area where Dundonald Links are extremely strong. The Club over the last few years have improved in all areas, particular examples standing out included the use of refills for hand wash and for other household materials. No plastic or cardboard cups are used and all purchases are considered in line with their overall waste footprint. In particular a basic appreciation of good and bad waste management has evolved to the Club leading the golfing sector in terms of their comprehensive waste strategies across all areas of working i.e. all departments from the Clubhouse to the maintenance facility and golf course. Significant quantifiable waste reduction measures were demonstrated leading not only to significant cost savings for the Club but also for a much reduced overall carbon footprint.
Formal waste audits are completed annually which helps update legislative compliance as well as providing opportunities for further improvement. These were made available for me to view at the time of the visit.
In terms of pollution control, Dundonald Links remain aware of the need for constant testing of inputs and outputs, drainage water flows through the course through to the adjacent Western Gailes Golf Club whereupon it is used for their irrigation. Daily visual checks are carried out within the water courses and period testing is undertaken as required. SEPA retain a strong presence over the course given the close proximity of the adjacent papermill.

Local use of foods is championed with only retail equipment and some course supplies being purchased outwith the immediate area.
Local suppliers are used for all foods laundry and office consumables. Importantly and a unique selling point at Dundonald is the strategy in place for dealing with waste from suppliers.
Dundonald expect minimal waste on acceptance (purchase) so as not to pay twice when disposing. This club is very aware of its waste obligations under the waste regulations Scotland act and is a superb case example in this respect.

Turf grass management is first class undertaken with a strong knowledge base with the greens staff working to established integrated turf management programmes and IPM. This Club is without doubt an Ambassador for sustainability with constant monitoring of energy, water, fertiliser, pesticide and other turf grass inputs.

All maintenance operations are directed and monitored and all operations are carried out for the betterment of the surfaces giving consideration to waste and the costs thereof. Fertilizer use remains constant on the greens at around 100kgN/ha, 10kgP/ha . Fairways receive 40kgN/ha/annum and 10kg of both P and K. Values for fungicides and wetting agents etc. are provided in the application and these were demonstrated within the records provided during the re certification review.

Formal waste audits are completed annually which helps update legislative compliance as well as providing opportunities for further improvement. These were made available for me to view at the time of the visit. The club adhere to a strict waste hierarchy based on minimisation to re use. simple initiatives now routine include avoiding waste at source purchasing without un necessary waste to briefing staff on waste management

Pollution Control

In terms of pollution control, Dundonald Links remain aware of the need for constant testing of inputs and outputs, drainage water flows through the course through to the adjacent Western Gailes Golf Club whereupon it is used for their irrigation. Daily visual checks are carried out within the water courses and period testing is undertaken as required. SEPA retain a strong presence over the course given the close proximity of the adjacent papermill.

Water use is monitored at varying intervals. Water entering the site is analysed three yearly with daily visual checks

Although currently legally compliant and reviewed by SEPA, a more effective system for machinery and equipment wash down is required and is highlighted as an area for continued improvement. Currently waste water runs to a soak away and / or septic tank for approved collection. The club is exploring options for this going forward.

The club achieved zero waste certification in 2010 which is a driver for waste and pollution management

Appropriate storage and use of pollution prevention infrastructure and techniques. Mechanic works to service and maintain equipment. Good understanding of spray calibration nozzles and use. Chemicals and fertilizer mixing is appropriate - within legislative compliance. Good knowledge of how and when to use. We discussed weather conditions and effects evidence in place to demonstrate appropriate best practice working.

Community

The Club show a very positive commitment to personal development through all staff. The personal development files for each member of the greenkeeping team were demonstrated. These documents clearly demonstrate career pathways whilst providing an excellent storage folder for certification and education qualifications. The certification training work follows health and safety protocols and is required for all staff not having used maintenance equipment for specific periods of time (normally annually). A fire update has recently been undertaken and a fire action plan is regularly provided to all staff.

Health and safety policies are displayed at intervals through the maintenance facility and within the Clubhouse. First aid stations are installed at intervals through the facility with signage detailing certificated first aiders. The daily brief is circulated to all staff outlining first aid and fire marshals.

External communication is strong and indeed is quite unique given the small blue reintroduction programme running through north to south Ayrshire which involves many stakeholder partners, businesses, golf clubs and farmers. Local residents in places are also becoming increasingly interested. Significant initiatives are being provided to promote external communications include the golf club’s web site, newsletter including RSPB and Scottish Wildlife Trust newsletters (regular contributions) and importantly the sustainability group which has attracted a number of non-statutory NGO’s, businesses, farmers, golf clubs etc. Dundonald Links excel in this area of working.

Staff receive excellent induction which focuses heavily on them championing sustainability. Notices are at all areas. The club have a sustainability working group - waste monitors and notices on the maintenance wall indicates fire and first aid wardens on any given day. The full profile of all wardens is available to view. All staff receive periodic refreshers for their roles.

External communication are second to none and indeed is quite unique given the small blue reintroduction programme running through north to south Ayrshire which involves many stakeholder partners, businesses, golf clubs householders and farmers.

This land use fits well with the adjacent land uses and is seen by the adjacent nature reserve managers as an important extension of the reserve. The golf club is also a buffer to the nature reserve helping and safeguarding the reserve from unwanted external influences.

Regular communications with neighbors in relation to the clubs conservation initiatives are apparent.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

The club continues to stand out as an exemplar to others and are not only leading the industries sustainability awakening but are leading from the front. A few areas could be improved and have been recommended as continual improvements. Each aspect cited was discussed with the club and they are keen to action.

Certification Highlights

Small blue butterfly conservation project
Inductions and reviews for staff
Complete sustainability package covering all areas and all aspects of their working