Hattemse Golf En Country Club
Executive summary (English & local language)
The premises of the Hattem Golf & Country Club cover 20 hectares (owned by the club) and are situated between a former railway (currently a bike path), the Apeldoorn canal, a sport complex, a number of residential homes, and an ecological corridor (part of the Dutch National Ecological Network). This ‘deer corridor’ is one of the eight ecological gates that connect the Veluwe nature reserve to surrounding nature cores that reach into Germany. There used to be a paper mill here; the landscaping into a ‘deer corridor’ has had very positive effects on the golf course experience.
The course dates back to 1930 and was designed by Gerry del Court van Krimpen, who was inspired by the legendary Colt. The authentic design and the maintenance have made this course one of the top 9-holes courses for many years. The course has changed little since its construction, and there are hardly or no options for expansion. The practice faculties are limited. The driving range was combined with one of the holes (no. 5), as used to be customary.
The Hattem Golf & Country Club has a long history in sustainability. It all began at its construction in 1930. The natural design of the course meant that hardly any earth had to be moved. In 1999, the board announced to commit itself to environmental aspects. In 2013, it was decided to apply for the GEO certificate, using the NGF facilities. The club considers the GEO certificate a means to support the process of continual improvement and to further awareness. The board welcomes outside criticism and has noticed that new members, green fee players and guests increasingly scrutinise the course. The club largely executes the CtG programme on its own.
Het terrein van de Hattemse is 20 hectare groot (eigen grond) en ligt tussen het tracé van een voormalige spoorlijn (huidig fietspad), het Apeldoorns Kanaal, een sportcomplex, een aantal woningen en een ecologische verbinding (onderdeel EHS). Deze verbinding, bekend als ‘hertencorridor’, is één van de acht ecologische poorten van de Veluwe die natuur gaat verbinden met omliggende natuurkernen tot in Duitsland. Voorheen lag hier een papierfabriek; de omvorming naar ‘hertencorridor’ heeft een zeer positieve invloed op de beleving op de golfbaan.
De baan dateert van 1930 en is een ontwerp van de hand van del Court van Krimpen, die zich liet inspireren door de legendarische Colt. Vanwege het authentieke ontwerp en het onderhoud bevindt de baan zich al jaren in de top van 9 holes banen. Sinds de aanleg is de baan nauwelijks veranderd. Mogelijkheden voor uitbreiding zijn er, door de situering, niet of nauwelijks. Oefenfaciliteiten zijn beperkt. De driving range is naar oud gebruik gecombineerd met een van de holes ( hole 5).
De Hattemse Golf & Country Club kent een lange geschiedenis wat betreft duurzaamheid. Het begon in 1930 met het natuurlijke ontwerp waarbij grondverzet nauwelijks plaats vond. In 1999 gaf het bestuur aan zich aan milieuaspecten te committeren. In 2013 werd besloten het GEO certificaat te behalen, waarbij men faciliteiten van de NGF benut. Het GEO certificaat wordt gezien als middel om het proces van voortdurende verbetering en bewustwording te ondersteunen. Het bestuur verwelkomt kritische ogen van buitenaf. Ook nieuwe leden, greenfeespelers en gasten worden steeds kritischer. Het traject wordt grotendeels op eigen kracht uitgevoerd.
The course has a unique location: the prominent transition zone from the Veluwe Massif to the IJssel valley. The classic design follows the natural slopes of the terrain, with lines of sight between the wooded cover-sand hills that lie parallel to each other. The holes reflect this transition between landscapes: there are four forest holes and five parkland holes. The height difference of 10m gives this course a particular depth. The course is embedded in the surrounding bocage landscape, which is characteristic for the outer edges of the Veluwe. The Grift brook is the most striking natural feature on the course. This brook is separated from the holes by a low, wooded wall and has succeeded in retaining its natural character. On hole 2, a subsidence shows where the old banks of the Grift ran. Kingfishers breed in the embankments, and the grey wagtail has found a suitable home here as well.
There has been extensive grass research, but a complete overview of the flora is lacking. Mushrooms are investigated annually, and birds are studied throughout the year, under guidance of a local ornithologist. Combined with the data from the annual Bird Watching Day, there is a comprehensive picture of the wealth of bird species. There is no frequent monitoring of indicator species.
The forest walls on the cover-sand ridges have been planted with beech, English oak, Scots pine and birch. Below, a forest flora featuring, among others, holly and Solomon’s seal. In 2006, the club began a policy of grassland maintenance to atrophy the roughs by abstaining from fertilisation; this policy is slowly yielding results. Large parts can now be considered to be nature rough. There is a badger sett nearby the course; badgers often cross the course looking for food. Damage done by badgers foraging for cockchafer larva, is repaired by seeding or sodding. There are regular deer sightings. The Gelderland province authorities wield a zero-tolerance policy regarding wild boar in this part of the Veluwe: animals outside of the outdoor enclosure are shot.
The club strives for a natural course that requires as little sprinkling as possible, allowing grass to yellow in summer. The varying playing conditions that result from this ‘English’ policy contribute to the playing enjoyment and to development of one’s golf skills.
The choice for grass species was attuned to the local nutrient and water conditions. Poa pratensis and lolium perenne are used on the tees; the latter because of its recovery capabilities. Poa anua is battled by constantly seeding bald spots with agrostis. Festuca rubra’s development is too slow for such applications. Agrostis is also the dominant species on the fairways.
The well-maintained and flexible management plan was written by the experienced greens keeper. The plan includes a cost estimate for 2014-2024. The borders (10 m) of the tree pits are kept clear of undergrowth to encourage a quicker pace of the game. Trees are cut down, with priority given to alien spruces. This policy serves several goals: (1) restoring the lines of sight from the slopes of the Veluwe to the IJssel valley; and (2) bringing more air and light into the greens.
On the northern edge of the course, we find a bird grove (berry-bearing, dense scrub), bee shelter, flower-rich rough grasslands, and a mantle with butterfly and bee plants. The club wishes the heath to return to the terrain. For this, the soil should atrophy further, because a lot of fertiliser was used in the past. There are a lot of perfectly maintained nesting boxes. An embankment has been turned into a great home for kingfishers. There are plans to create a pond in the old sewer sanitation outflow.
The forest edges and neighbouring deer corridor bring a strong ecological coherence to the area, which is especially important for mammals.
The groundwater has strongly risen after the paper mill closed down (from 75m to 30m below the surface). The Apeldoorn canal and embankment are managed by the Veluwe water authorities. There is incidental flooding caused by water seeping under the dyke when the IJssel river inundates.
The Grift brook forms the only body of surface water; there are no pools or ponds. The subsidence at hole 2 where the brook used to run is considered a unique feature, not a nuisance.
The groundwater consumption for sprinkling strongly depends on the weather conditions. Public water consumption is very low and has been decreasing for the past three years. Groundwater is used to hose down machines.
There is a restrictive sprinkling policy in place. Greens and aprons are sprinkled with ground water that is pumped up from a depth of 30m. The fairways are only sprinkled in case of enduring drought. Water consumption is low because the choice for turf grass species was tailored to the local situation, and because yellowing is accepted as a natural process. The head greens keeper is responsible for the amounts of water used and for the maintenance of the system. Wetting agents are applied.
Groundwater is pumped up depending on the need. In the long term, the club wishes to invest in a computerised system that will lead to further water and energy savings. Roof runoff water is collected and used to water the potted plants. Showers are not used in winter.
A lot of attention is paid to energy consumption at the club. The 1947 clubhouse is outdated and it consumes a lot of energy; a point of concern for the board. A sector plan has been presented to change the clubhouse and its surroundings in phases. Insulation and other improvements are included in this process. The execution will go step by step, depending on the availability of funds.
The consumption levels of natural gas are normal; consumption of diesel and gasoline are remarkably low. The golf club aims to get a better insight into the energy consumption, and a first priority is to further reduce the gas consumption. The consumption of power is not high, in part due to energy-saving bulbs and the sparing use of outdoor lighting.
Electricity is purchased from fossil fuel suppliers. The opportunities to generate power on site are limited, the options are biomass and solar power.
Several measures have reduced energy consumption in the past few years: clubhouse and living quarters have been separated; energy-saving bulbs and motion sensors have been installed; showers are closed in the winter time; an old server was replaced; machines use is low.
Room for improvement can be found in the use of daylight, a functional rethinking of the layout of the clubhouse, and insulation. Plans have been set in motion.
The course uses little pesticides and fertiliser and there are hardly any opportunities to further reduce this. Knowledge about the club’s suppliers is rather incomplete (origins, certificates, eco labels). There is still something to be gained by getting a better handle on suppliers (origin, production process, certificates, packaging, frequency of deliveries). Strive for contracts with suppliers whose production process is environmentally friendly and humane.
Greenskeeping strives to purchase locally as much as possible. Machine maintenance and repairs are mostly done on the premises, meaning there is little environmental impact in that respect. The market is closely watched.
When machines and tools are replaced, the electrical options are taken into the consideration.
The restaurant is in the developmental stage. The owner is an independent contractor but follows the seasons and buys locally. The restaurant and bar have not been able to prioritise sustainability, as members mostly watch the prices, giving organic foods hardly a chance. Sustainability will be developed in the coming years.
The fertiliser is a slow-acting, generally coated fertiliser. Fertilisation is done in rainy weather conditions to increase effectiveness. The low nitrogen rates make the growing conditions of poa annua less than ideal.
The implemented grass species and the ‘English’ policy contribute to low consumption of fertiliser and water. Furthermore, it toughens the fairway grass, resulting in a very limited need for pesticides. The improvement plan for the greens also contributes to better growing conditions. Unwanted weeds are controlled on the spot using a knapsack sprayer.
The waste flows have been mapped in 2012. Four Moloks (underground containers) have been installed, improving the separation of waste at the source. A strategically placed collection point encourages players to collect plastic after their round. Correspondence and documentation are virtually completely digital.
Clippings are left on the fairway, leading to a decreased need for fertilisers. Clippings from the greens and tees are processed on the spot. Clippings from the nature rough (once a year) are collected immediately. Chopped wood is used for the clubhouse fireplace, given to members (splitting timber days), or used in the course furniture, branch hedges, or as wood chips.
Consumption of fertiliser, water and pesticides is low, resulting in a low environmental pressure. The club meets the minimal legal requirements. The municipality inspects the golf club annually. In 2014, the head greens keeper made an analysis based on the legal stipulations, and indicated where there is room for improvement. Three points have been selected.
The groundwater was analysed a number of years ago. The quality is stable; frequent measurements wouldn’t yield actual results. Continuing the restrictive fertilisation policy and the flora protection will improve the levels of a few values.
The clubhouse is connected to the sewer. The same contractor cleans the grease traps once a year.
Hazardous materials are stored in a suitable room, which is properly ventilated. The room meets all legal requirements. The diesel tank is installed indoors. The tank is vented through a discharge pipe that leads outside. A refrigerator that doesn’t meet the environmental requirements will be removed.
The diesel tank, grease trap, etc. meet the legal requirements. The fuel tanks and wash pad are fitted with impermeable floors.
There are concerns about the incomplete combustion of wood, causing noxious substances to end up in the surroundings through the smoke stack. A part of the hazardous substances stays inside and negatively affects the health of members and employees.
Environmental pressure is low because of the scare use of pesticides, which are implemented in rainy weather and only incidentally and locally. The earthen wall between the fairway and the Grift brook acts as a perfect buffer. In many places, the fairways are lower than the nature rough or forest walls, naturally buffering them from external influences.
There is a positive atmosphere at the club and members are happy to help with chores around the course or clubhouse. After 85 years, the club has deep roots in the community, and the club maintains many contacts. In the past few years, the contact with provincial authorities and environmental organisations has intensified due to the construction of the deer corridor and the land-for-land exchange that it involved. The club uses a clear system of digital documentation and communication, and the archive is accessible to all committee members.
Only two staff members of the Hattem club are permanently employed. A lot of the work is done by members, through committees and projects. General involvement is high. The club can call upon a huge reservoir of knowledge in the fields of environment, legal, organisation, computerisation, and architecture. Restaurant and course employees have in-house emergency response diplomas. There are annual AED courses. Members of the GEO work group and the head greens keeper visit GEO conferences. Committee members are offered the opportunity to take NGF courses.
The initiating GEO work group comprises three members that are in close contact with the board and other work groups. Eventually, the group will consist of six members: committee members, head greens keeper and board members. A policy that has so many consequences and is related to so many issues requires support from the board and acceptance from members.
There are contacts with groups and organisations in the surrounding area, such as the municipality, province, other sport clubs, neighbours, Dutch Golf, and local nature conservation organisations (IVN). The board wishes to maintain the frequency and intensity levels of these relationships. The club is supported financially by sponsors, friends of the golf club, and the business club.
Open house days (in collaboration with Dutch Golf) and the annual Birding Day are widely announced. Considering the limited size of the premises, there are no options for constructing public walking paths. There are fences (due to the wild boar), but these are not very noticeable and only installed where necessary.
The course has a cultural, historical value because of its age alone. The Grift is considered the most important landscape feature. 15 monumental trees, such as the northern red oak with a wide crown, have been put on the municipal protection list.
The facilities are unobtrusive and natural. Benches have been made from wood from trees on the course, and plastic signs have been replaced by wooden ones. Paved paths have been replaced by natural Graustabiel, a road construction material for natural, durable dirt tracks.
There are currently no legal disputes or planning procedures.
There are regular communications on GEO and related subjects in the general assemblies, in the hallways, the club magazine, the weekly newsletter, and on Facebook. The members are very involved in the club, which makes for great social cohesion.
The course regularly features in the pres (local newspapers, websites, and TV and radio), for example because of Bird Watching Day or the deer corridor. The GEO work group has its own webpage, but nature and environmental themes are also addressed in the regular news columns.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Awareness Raising Materials
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Management Plan
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
- Minutes of Meetings
Since its construction in 1930, the course of the Hattem Golf & Country Club has hardly changed, making it a cultural-historical phenomenon. The course’s policy is ‘English,’ as befitting the natural design and the club’s aspiration to be sustainable: the two pillars on which the club has built the GEO programme in a short time, aided by many volunteers. The board and members are proud of their club and the set course for the future, and they don’t hesitate to communicate this pride to the world. A concise and practical work plan is the basis to further reduce the club’s footprint.
Interventions are combined, creating win-win situations. The club has properly grasped the essence of sustainability. A good example is the ‘English’ course policy, meaning that the semi-rough and fairway are sparsely fertilised and sprinkled. This leads a natural yellow grass colour in the summer, increases the pleasures of playing, reduces the environmental pressure, and cuts down costs. After years of atrophying, the biodiversity is increasing in the natural rough, the less ‘fat’ rough is widely appreciated In time, and the rough can be widened.
The club enthusiastically contributed to creating the deer corridor. This shows that the club is open to collaborations with third parties, in this case the province and the Geldersch Landschap foundation. After construction of the corridor, the golf course borders on a robust ecological connection between the Veluwe and nature reserves in Germany; a position to be proud of.
The involvement in this club, which is almost completely run by volunteers, is extraordinary. Everybody contributes. This increases the general cohesion and can explain the great atmosphere at the club. The contact with members is careful and frequent, which means that changes enjoy broad support among the members.