Golf Business News – Woodall Spa Wins Sustainability Award
Woodhall Spa Golf Clubthe home of England Golf and the site of the National Golf Centre, has been awarded GEO certified status for his exceptional work in preserving nature, conserving resources and playing an active role in supporting the local community.
The certificate of recognition was presented to the club by the GEO Foundation, driving the movement to make the golf industry a leader in sustainability. The GEO Foundation seeks to support and reward organizations, businesses and facilities that strive to have a positive social and environmental impact.
Dino Minoli, the independent GEO certification verifier, said: “Woodhall Spa Golf Club shows real commitment, desire, interest and ability across all management departments for continuous performance improvement in sustainable golf. I look forward to seeing the development of the club, especially the proposed new clubhouse and energy supply on the way to net zero.
On the course, Woodhall Spa has recently pursued a detailed habitat restoration and management project to restore the Hotchkin course to its original condition when it opened for play in the early 20th century.
Already a Natural Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in England with a rich heritage of promoting sustainability in and through golf, Woodhall Spa has been recognized as a moorland course of outstanding natural beauty.
In conjunction with Natural England, the work of cutting down invasive trees and removing unfavorable species of gorse and ferns has been praised for bringing the course back into line with how it was designed by the architects of the original route. A new irrigation system on the Hotchkin course has also resulted in water savings of 50% compared to previous years with a similar system to be installed on the Bracken course.
Replacing old gas boilers and introducing hybrid mowers for green staff has helped the club reduce its carbon footprint. A new biomass boiler which burns wood collected from the course and releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than other alternatives to fossil fuels has also proven to be financially profitable with £5,000 in savings accrued over the course of the first year of operation.
Currently 25% of staff, including the club manager, cycle to work and efforts to source local produce for food and beverage outlets have been recognized as part of a strong link between the golf club and local businesses and the wider community.
Rare species of wildflowers, lichens, heather, birds, mammals and reptiles form an integral part of the site’s natural features which, along with the exceptional golfing experience, have attracted golfers from around the world to Lincolnshire rural.
Richard Latham, managing director of Woodhall Spa Golf Management, said: “It means a lot to us. We’ve been focused on sustainability for 10 years, doing a lot of positive things and never really told anyone about it. The good news now is that we have a certification that proves all the good work we have done and we are delighted. In fact, we are doing more than we thought we were doing, which is a very good thing. We find that as an SSSI, a lot of GEO ecology and work goes hand in hand.
“On the course everything was fine, and off the course with building improvements, energy and waste disposal we have good policies in place to improve all of that. Hopefully this winter we will replacing the irrigation system on the Bracken Course. Saving water these days is absolutely crucial. On the new Hotchkin system, our water consumption has improved by 50%, which is a significant difference. You arrive to water the same area but with 50% less water simply because the system is better designed.We are also looking at products such as bamboo t-shirts and bag tags and all of these little things can add up to a big difference. “
This latest token of recognition is also further evidence of the club’s progressive attitude towards projects aimed at tackling current challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity and tougher regulations.
Course Manager Sam Rhodes was instrumental in the club’s GEO certification and is proud of his team’s work. He added: “It is a huge achievement and something we are very proud of. Ecology and the environment is something we are passionate about, especially on the Hotchkin course with its moorland surroundings and the fact that it is an SSSI.
“I mention the Hotchkin route, but we are reseeding the Bracken and moving away from rough mowing to reduce the carbon footprint. The courses are fantastic and we see a great diversity of flora and fauna. We have five of the six UK reptiles living on the course and we also have nationally rare lichens on site. The Hotchkin is a unique course – you see lizards running around the bunkers in the morning when you rake them and it’s awesome!