Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club

GEO Certified® 08/2018
Bruxelles,
Belgium
Telephone: 00320(0)490113685
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Executive summary (English & local language)

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is located in the southern part of the Brussels Region nearby the Sonian forest. The golf is a 9-holes course with outstanding practice facilities central within the former hippodrome of Bosvoorde. The club was founded 25 years ago and was lately integrated in the Droh!Me Melting Park. This project is a collaboration between private investors and the Region with the support from Europe (granted with subsidy from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund programme). The value of the site will be increased with attention for culture, nature and extra possibilities for recreation. The presence of remarkable trees is attractive and will be part of the Treetops Course.

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club has undertaken some actions previous years and chose for a biological maintenance of the course. Only the greens are irrigated. When the greens were rebuilt (renovation) disturbing elements like shadow, lack of ventilation are eliminated to prevent diseases. Concerning the energy issue the club has already chosen for LED lighting. New equipment and transportation is mostly with electrical devices. With the new gas connection (expected at the beginning of 2019) the storage of gasoline will be invalid. The club informs members and others interested parties by newsletters. The management takes advice from experts concerning the biological maintenance and other eco-dynamic management options.

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is gelegen in het zuidelijke deel van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, aan de rand van het Zoniënwoud. De golf club beschikt over een 9-holes golfbaan met uitgebreide oefenfaciliteiten gecentreerd binnen paardenrenbaan of vroegere hippodroom van Bosvoorde. De club bestaat reeds 25 jaar en werd enkele jaren opgenomen binnen het ontwikkelingsproject van de volledige site het Droh!me Melting Park. Dit project is een samenwerkingsproject tussen privé-investeerders en de regio met de steun van Europa via het EFRO-programma (Europees fond voor Regionale Ontwikkeling). De site zal worden geherwaardeerd met aandacht voor cultuur, natuur en extra mogelijkheden voor recreatie. De aanwezigheid van enkele opmerkelijke bomen is niet onopgemerkt en zal ook in de toekomst via het boomtoppenparcours extra aandacht krijgen.

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club heeft voorbije jaren ook enkele wijzigingen ondergaan waarbij resoluut is gekozen voor een ecologisch onderhoud van de golfbaan. Enkel de greens worden geïrrigeerd en bij renovatie van greens worden verstorende elementen (zoals schaduw, te weinig wind) max. geëlimineerd zodat ziektes worden vermeden. Inzake energie werd reeds ingezet op LED-verlichting. Ook wordt nieuwe apparatuur en voertuigen voor onderhoud vervangen door elektrische aandrijving. De gasaansluiting begin 2019 zal ook de opslag van mazout doen verdwijnen. De club informeert leden en andere partijen via nieuwsbrieven omtrent haar aanpak. Ze laat zich verder ook omringen door experten om de ideeën omtrent een ecodynamisch beheer mogelijk te maken.

Nature

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is aware of the challenges on nature conservation. Some of the oldest trees (23) are identified as remarkable trees by the local government.

The 300-year old oak at hole 6 is identified at the Brussels website with remarkable trees (http://www.arbres-inventaire.irisnet.be/results.php?quick_search=hippodrome&results=y&Submit=ok). The area round this tree is marked with blue stakes so players should take mandatory relief. The environmental assessment of the site (February 2017, Aries Consultants) describes all available information concerning the nature and designation of the project.

Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is in the middle of the Melting Park nearby the Sonian forest (Zoniënwoud). This ancient, highly diversified forest is a classified site and a Natura 2000 conservation area. It's 5,000 hectares form the main oxygen tank of Brussels.

Poa annua is mostly present (80%) but the greenkeeping is sowing other species to have more diversified turfgrass which is more insensitive for disease and drought stress. Greens are mowed 5 times a week and 2 days they are rolled. Fairway is mowed every 2 or 3 days during growth season. The teeboxes have also separate artificial grass mats which the players can use when the turfgrass on the tee is recovering from use.

With the consultation of the golf architect Dimitri Vanhauwaert the golf course will change within the restrictions of the further development of the Droh!Me Melting Park. Two holes will disappear (becoming a playground) and two new, shorter holes will be created within the boundaries of the hippodrome. With the counsel of Mr. Cahay (Golf de Naxhelet) the turfgrass maintenance is done without the use of pesticides and by applying only natural products (compost tea). The renovation (reconstruction) of two greens (2017-2018) with more space for ventilation and less shadow on the green resulted in very healthy greens.

Water

The golf club uses potable water for the clubhouse and groundwater for the golf course. The amount of drinking water for the clubhouse activities was registered with the inclusion of some building activities on the site of the Melting Park.

The amount of potable water and groundwater used is acceptable for this size of golf course. For the use of groundwater the club has an environmental permit from the local government. The yearly use of potable water is registered and reported to the government (check report dd. 19/12/2017).

Only the greens are irrigated and each green can be irrigated independently, minimising the application to only where it is required. Every 6 month there is a maintenance service (Barvaux). The ground water basin can be inspected and is closed for unattended people.

The maintenance facility will have a water recovery unit for cleaning the mowers and other machinery (Waste2Water recycling Wash System; offer signed August 2018).

Energy

The energy issue is under control for lighting, transportation and switches are made for more electrical supplied equipment.

Today the club is anticipating on the building permit to upgrade the greenkeeping facility (expected August 2018). The use of gasoline is only temporary; from 2019 they will use gas instead of gasoline for heating.

The machinery is currently using red-diesel and gasoline. More machines will become hybrid or use only electricity when the investment case for machinery replacement is required. The availability of gas will be an improvement (instead of gasoline). At the driving range there is an electric mowing robot and an electric ball picker.

Regular maintenance to machinery prevent fuel/oil spills. Almost all lights are LED which use less energy than conventional lighting (renovation clubhouse in March 2017). Within the Natura 2000 project there is also a lighting plan: wild life should not be interfered/disturbed by lighting on the golf course (cf driving range during winter). This results on restrictions during the winter season. There are 3 electrical bicycles available for the personnel to use for local transportation and prevent using cars and extra parking space.

Supply Chain

For fast consumer goods local suppliers are searched. When the new restaurant of the Melting park opens (September 2018) there will be a smooth collaboration on opening times and suppliers.

For instance for cleaning, Denero is a supplier which uses cleaning towels instead of water and cleaning products. If an ecolabel is available for the product group the club prioritises suppliers and contractors based on this.

The Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is part of the development of the Droh!Me Melting Park. The investors (VO group) are very ecominded and have a greenteam of 6 people. The development of the total project will increase the ecodynamics of the area.

The renovation of some greens shows evidence of using only biological products for fertilizing and resistance for diseases.

At the golf course there are waste bins for mixed waste. Nearby the clubhouse and driving range there are separate bins for plastics, cans and mixed waste. Most of the waste is generated by the players (eating and drinking during playing). Only for the clubhouse is recycling possible for the drinks bottles. Within the greenhouse facility they use more products in bulk (sand) of recycled bags (fertilizers) of reuse the bidon (petrol for machinery).

Pollution Control

The only risk for pollution is at the maintenance facility, although best practices are in operation to minimise risks. The expected renovation of the building and facilities and the gas available at the beginning of 2019 will further reduce the risk at the present time.

The only sewage water is from sanitary so this is the water that the government can treat in the public treatment facility. No water analysis is needed for this sewage.

All the waste water currently leaves the facility at the public sewage. In the near future a Waste2Water recycling Wash System will be installed at the maintenace facility so the waste water will be recovered for 100%.

The tank with gasoline is temporary because the club will get a gas connection at the beginning of 2019. Then the gasoline tank can be removed. The other dangerous products (fuel in cans, salicylic acid, oil) are stored on a drip tray. The safety data sheets are almost all available.

The planned Waste2Water recycling Wash System will reduced the amount of waste water in the maintenance area. The purchase of electrical equipment for maintenance reduces the risks of oil leakage or fuel spills.

Community

The Greenkeepers Association organizes training for its members. The greenkeeper of Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club follows these training courses and some internal trainings. Also the golf secretary follows yearly training at the PGA. For the biological maintenance of the golf course there is advice from Alan Lindsay (Happy Greenkeepers) and Frederic Cahay (Golf de Naxhelet).

Within the Droh!Me Melting Development project there is a strong feeling for ecological choices. In preparing the GEO certification process there was assistance from Guido Hamelink (NLadviseurs). Pim Bust coordinates all the aspects of the management of the golf club and is also involved in the global Droh!me Melting Park Project.

There is a good contact with the wild life ranger of the Sonian forest. Within the local community the "Friends of Droh!Me" are partners, while the association 'STOP Brussel' is an unwilling party to negotiate with. The club makes efforts to get young people acquainted with golf: 3 times a year the professionals visit schools in Brussels to teach SNAG GOLF. The 4th lesson of the programme is held at the practice facility of the golf club where the youngsters experience golf on real grass and also visit the greenkeeping facility.

Right from the very start, the hippodrome was a popular, fashionable destination for the Bruxellois to meet acquaintances, relax and enjoy sports activities. The facility was abandoned for years but the Region wanted to use this exceptional site to develop an original project that was adapted to the local environment and Brussels’ unique heritage. The project was to be open to as many people as possible and would offer leisure, educational and cultural activities while acting as the gateway to the Forêt de Soignes (Sonian forest).

Out of the seven proposed projects, it was the VO Group’s Droh!Me Melting Park that walked away the winner. In August 2014, the SAU began restoring the outer shells of the Grandstand, Small Stand, Weighing Room and Tour de Départs buildings, which were completed in June 2016. VO Group created the company Droh!Me Invest to operate the franchise for 15 years, maintain the grounds and infrastructure, and manage the Melting Park itself. The Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club was set up 25 years ago in the centre of the racecourse and is now integrated in the Melting Park.

The golf club has a flat organization structure so communication is easy and fast.

Every 2-3 weeks a newsletter is send to all the members with the following topics: golf course, restaurant, shop, competion/club life. Tuesday 3rd April 2018 there was a presentation for interested parties about the course maintenance. Ian MacMillan and Frederic Cahay (Golf de Naxhelet, GEO Certified facility) explained the maintenance procedures and choices that were made. The website of the club is transparant about the actions that are undertaken.

Documentation Reviewed

Conclusion

The Brussels Droh!Me Golf Club is with his 9-holes a unique spot of nature in the Belgian capital. With the Sonian forest nearby the Droh!Me Melting Park will allow citizens to discover culture, heritage, nature and enjoy fine food and multiple forms of recreation. The golf course will be surrounded by public paths and other soft recreation. The maintenance of the course with only biologically products is compliant with ecominded options that are undertaken.

Certification Highlights

Lighting replacement programme with LED in clubhouse.
New equipment for maintenance and driving range is with electric energy supply
Biological maintenance of the golf course, renovation of greens show nice results
Only greens are irrigated.