Saltsjöbaden Golfklubb

GEO Certified® 07/2012 GEO Re-Certified 08/2015
Telephone: +46 87170125

Executive summary (English & local language)

Saltsjöbaden Golfklubb was built in 1929, initially as a 9-hole course influenced by forest landscape which is quite typical in this part of Sweden. A further 18-holes were constructed in 1976. Part of the site is situated in a former lake, indicating an area dominated by wetlands and the course fits naturally into the surroundings. The club has worked actively in sustainability since 2002 and in the last 2-3 years has experienced financial problems, as many other golf clubs in Sweden, and has gone through a reconstruction but is now alive and kicking. But, these problems have never affected the will from the club to continue and develop its sustainability work, on the contrary. The club has during these hard years decided to connect most of the dams on the course in a chain in order to partially close the hydrological circle on the course. This will be completed during the coming year and will result in both less water taken from the adjacent lake and also to a large amount decrease the nutrition (mostly N and P) leaving course for the lake. The club is also in its way of installing solar panels on the club house in order to reduce its energy costs and at the same time decrease the clubs impact on the environment. Another measure conducted is the carbon footprint calculated, both by the Royal Institute of Technology and by the club’s Sustainability Working Group. These calculations clearly show the origin of the different emissions of carbon dioxide and its equivalents, showing the club where to cut down its emissions. These three examples clearly points out the will of the club to reinforce its sustainable work and also to make a stand that says that financial problems is not an excuse for not develop this work. Of course the club still has a lot of things to improve but there seems to be no obstacles for it to do this.


The club is renting land from, Erstavik Fideikommiss and Nacka municipality, with which they have good relations. Saltsjöbaden is located about 15 km southeast of the city of Stockholm and surrounded by water. The local community developed in the end of 1800 and at 1893 the railway from the Stockholm city centre to Saltsjöbaden was constructed.

At 2012 the club consulted a golf architect for constructing a development plan for the golf course in accordance to the principles for GEO – sustainable golf courses. The architect has now produced a draft for this plan and a committee has been formed. Field surveys have been undertaken, resulted in the discovery of several of protected species. Wildlife on the course is varied and includes elk, wild boar, roe deer, red deer, badger, fox, rabbit and hare.

Saltsjöbaden Golf Course is surrounded to the north by residential houses, to the east a high school is situated and to the south and west there is forest containing mainly coniferous and broad-leaved trees. Lake Lundsjön is located near the clubhouse and first 3-holes, while the nature reserve of Tattby is situated close to the course. This 125 ha large nature reserve is a valuable, interesting ecosystems including the 17 ha of open water habitat including lakes Dammsjön and Lundsjön.

The main turf grass species on greens and fairways are Poa annua and Poa pratensis and on tees Poa pratensis and Lolium perenne. These species are somewhat optimal for the climate and even if Poa annua is not the most optimal it is hard to stop it. The club has close cooperation with a golf architect, STRI and the Swedish Golf Federation regarding its grassing plan.

A large number of nesting boxes have been put up on the golf course and fallen trees are left on the ground in order to give home to a lot of animals. Originally a number of ponds and dams were situated on the course and the club has constructed a number of new dams and ponds to extend water retention capacity and slowing runoff water. These dams provide a trap for nutrients and pesticides to prevent diffuse pollution, but they also help to provide for biodiversity.


The amount of water used at the clubhouse has decreased with 300 000 litres since 2012. Water for irrigation is taken from lakes Lundsjön-Dammsjön. Approximately 40.000 m3 of water annually is used for irrigating greens, tees and fairways. Nacka municipality has in the past ordered an estimation into the potential ecological effects of extracting water from the lake, which has been calculated to show no significant net effect on the lake.

The club has gone through some tough financial years and construction of USGA-greens has not been a priority because of economic constraints. Irrigation policy remains 'often and little', which unfortunately will increase the amount of Poa annua. The club wishes to transition to more drought tolerant grasses.

The reason for the reduced amount of water in the clubhouse is not totally clear but it could be an effect of the installing of new water reducing toilets and showers.


The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm and the Sustainability working group at GKS has conducted a carbon footprint each for the club. This reveals that the footprint is 123-152 tons CO2/year. The lower span shows a footprint calculated after the club did change to energy from wind and water. The club is doing what it can to persuade the players use less car going to and from the club. The club adopted a renewable source contract from the utility provider in 2009 (90 % hydro and 10 % wind) resulting in the elimination of CO2-emissions from the grid's provision of electricity.

Solar cells are about to be installed on the roof of the clubhouse. Offers from different energy companies have been requested and both national energy companies and the local energy company is interested in supporting the installation financially, but this deal is connected to a three year agreement to use the selected company.

A heat pump in the machine hall is about to be installed, which will reduce the amount of grid electricity used. Heat pumps are already installed in the office and the restaurant. The club has 4 meters to measure the consumption of electricity i.e. in the clubhouse, restaurant kitchen, maintenance area and pumping stations. More meters are considered installed to give further information concerning where electricity is consumed. Automatic shut-down of lighting, ventilation and air/air heat pump in maintenance area and kitchen during the night, motion sensors for light, adjustment of ventilation besides installation of low energy light bulbs have been a reality at the club for a number of years.

Supply Chain

The entrepreneur that runs the restaurant has significantly raised his environmental awareness the last years. Among other things the restaurant is now sorting its own waste and letting the club taking care of it, and including it in its regular waste handling.

The club has for several years implemented an ethical/environmental purchasing policy for equipment and other products. The club considers the working environment and social performance of suppliers and contractors when dealing with service providers and buying products.

Environmental impacts and 'embodied energy' is always considered when choosing products.

The club is using “compost tea” as an organic method to manage turf, but they haven’t noticed any difference but will continue to use it. Microorganisms are added to the tea while it is “brewing”, boosting the “good” populations in the soil, which is a large part of IPM. The amount of fertilizer used is quite normal for a Swedish course.

The club works with consulting group, Botaniska Analysgruppen, which works a lot with golf clubs has in its business philosophy to encourage them to find alternative solutions in order to stop pests on the course. The firm is impartial in the way that it doesn’t sell any pesticides itself.

The club has worked with a waste contractor since 2010, which has resulted in the sorting of multiple waste streams and better recycling initiatives in the clubhouse and maintenance area. Hazardous waste is kept in a special container and the entire waste management system is in accordance with local laws and regulations. Specific materials such as cardboard and plastic bottles continue to be crushed, improving the transport efficiency in that supply chain.

Pollution Control

The club is for the moment involved in a project led by the Stockholm University concerning leakage of pesticides in the soil profile.

A thorough analysis of the water coming in to the course and the water going out has been conducted for several years. An analysis for 2011-2014 shows that the amount of N and P in particles is 3-4 times higher in the outgoing water then the ingoing. The N and P in nonparticle form in the outgoing water are very low.

Wastewater from the clubhouse and maintenance facilities discharges to the municipal sewer system for treatment.

The handling of hazardous materials is conducted in proper manner and of course all in order with Swedish law.

An oil separator is installed in the maintenance area and all handling of pesticides and fertilizer is done in a designated area, just for storage and mixing.

In order to decrease the amount of N and P in particles going out from the course the club has now constructed a chain of dams and will in the fall of 2015 connect them thoroughly. This mean that the amount of water taken from Lundsjön/Dammsjön will hopefully decrease drastically and at the same time decrease the amount of N and P leaving the course area.


The area around Saltsojöbaden (lakes, forests) is popular for the community, both for walking in the spring, summer and autumn, and skiing in the winter. The last ten years have been economically tough for many golf clubs and Saltsjöbaden has been forced to conduct big economic adaptation. For example, since 2012 the club has different member categories. The club economy is now in balance. And bright and new idea by the club is to arrange a competition for GEO-awarded clubs in the Nordic countries. Brilliant!

One external person has employed workshops in fire protection and a risk analysis is now been produced. The employees work environment is assessed regularly according to Swedish legislation. This has resulted in a better working environment throughout the club departments.

In 2015 the sustainability working group was awarded the club’s gold medal for its long, hard and successful sustainability work. This clearly shows the board’s engagement in the sustainability sector.

Each year the club sends a thorough sustainability report to the municipality. The report is 17-18 pages long and includes, among other things, the results of the water analysis, the annual use of fertilizer, biostimulants and pesticides, wetting agents, water use, energy use, flora and fauna and waste management. The concept of this report, developed first by the club in 2002, has during the years been spread to a lot of other clubs in Sweden. The club has as a whole a very good relation to the municipality and rest of the community.

There are ground-level remains from a cottage from around 1690, which are culturally important to the club and managed as such

The club has in the last years put effort in involving the staff more in the sustainability work but has found it sometimes hard to increase the involvement in all sections of the club. But, the club is continuing this effort. On all member meetings the board and managers are informing about the sustainability work and at the same time asking the members for advices in order to enhance this work.

In 2012 the club conducted a project funded by STERF (Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation) with the aim of constructing an interactive map with navigation in order to learn and understand environmental work- and impact at a golf facility. The target audiences where the own club and external ones like greenfee guests, neighbours and the municipality. A prototype was produced and the club is now in contact with Google to implement it. A very large number of documents and articles have been printed in both newspapers and club news. Environmental initiatives in the club have been presented at a number of seminars in Sweden and abroad.

Documentation Reviewed


The Saltsöbadens Golf Club has gone from being forced by municipality, with threats of being fined, to start being more sustainable to be awarded the sustainability club of the year some years ago by the Swedish Greenkeepers Association. This is a great journey. and although the club of course has a lot of things to improve, as all golf clubs have, it is a splendid evidence of how to raise the sustainability work to be a well integrated area of a golf club’s everyday work. The club has in last 2-3 years had large financial problems, as many other golf clubs in Sweden, and has gone through a reconstruction but is now alive and kicking. But, these problems have never affected the will from the club to continue and develop its sustainability work, on the contrary. Things that have been carried out are; partially closing the hydrological cycle, plans of putting up solar panels and calculating a carbon footprint for the club. Visiting the club proves that these efforts are grounded on all levels of the club, from the chairman of the board to the greenkeeper and the entrepreneur of the restaurant. Not at least shown in the Gold Medal award given in 2015 to the Sustainability Working Group by the board. This grounding is especially crucial when a club is facing financial problems, and Saltsjöbadens GK is a brilliant example of this. It will be very interesting to follow its sustainable work during the next coming years.

Certification Highlights

• The decision by the board to award the sustainability working group the club’s gold medal shows clearly the board large engagement in this important area.
• The new chain of dams constructed will hopefully mean that the amount of water taken from Lundsjön/Dammsjön will decrease drastically and at the same time decrease the amount of N and P leaving the course area.
• The project with the aim of constructing an interactive map with navigation in order to learn and understand environmental work- and impact at a golf facility is a great effort and hopefully it will be completed in the coming years.