Golf Club De Hoge Kleij
Executive summary (English & local language)
Op 16 november heb ik een bezoek gebracht aan Golfclub De Hoge Kleij. Tijdens mijn gesprek met Vincent de Vries (hoofdgreenkeeper), Marieke Verdouw (clubmanager), Jaap Petraeus (clublid) en Joost Sträter (bestuurslid en baancommissaris) heb ik een toelichting gekregen op de te beoordelen documentatie. Na het gesprek heb ik het clubhuis bezocht en daar gesproken met Patric Langeslag, pachter van de horeca en de werkplaats beoordeeld. Vervolgens ben ik met de hoofdgreenkeeper door de baan gegaan.
Golfclub De Hoge Kleij is in januari 2017 gestart met het traject naar certificering waarmee dit ook de eerste audit is die wordt uitgevoerd. De golfclub is opgericht in 1985 en heeft in 1987 de golfbaan en het clubhuis officieel in gebruik genomen.
Met 18 holes op ca. 70 hectare heeft de golfbaan een vrij ruime opzet. Landschappelijk gezien is de golfbaan gelegen op de Utrechtse heuvelrug en heeft het een overwegend bos en heide karakter.
On November 16th 2017, I visited Golfclub De Hoge Kleij. During my visit I spoke with Vincent de Vries (head greenkeeper), Marieke Verdouw (club manager), Jaap Petraeus (club member) en Joost Sträter (board member and course commissioner). They gave explanations about the documentation I received prior to the audit. After the meeting, I visited the club house where I spoke with Patric Langeslag (tenant of the restaurant) and afterwards visited the maintenance facility and the golf course itself with the head greenkeeper.
Golfclub De Hoge Kleij started the GEO program in January 2017, which makes this visit the first audit. The golf club was founded in 1985 and constructed the club house and golf course in 1987.
With 18 holes on 70 hectares, the golf course has a spacious layout. The course lies on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and consists of woodland and heath.
The terrain and grounds of the golf course is part of the nature management plan of the Provincie Utrecht. The golf course is situated in a woodland that consists of oak, beech, douglas fir, common spruce, larch and pine. From the situation where the holes has limited space due to the many trees, the past years trees have been removed to make more room around the holes. The reasons behind this are technical from a golf perspective, improving the growing conditions for the turf grass and creating possibilities for development of species in the rough. This development is focused on increasing the area of heath. A number of historical elements are also interesting like the hollow road and the oak coppice woods on the golf course.
The nature management the golf club uses both a woodland and heathland maintenance plan and working protocols. Using these documents, the golf club works towards improving the situation.
It has been stated that the golf course is part of the ecological network of the Netherland. There have been made agreements to register the maintenance. Within the terrain the following nature types are present: coniferous woods, deciduous woods, mixed woodland, rough, heathland, and short grass vegetations.
The stated measures are:
• Increasing the area of heathland with 1 hectare;
• Looking into the possibilities for more herbaceous vegetation to help local bee folks;
• Increasing the number of characteristic pines with 30 within 3 years;
• Decreasing the number is exotic species with 1% per year.
Practically all maintenance activities are positioned to stimulate bent grasses and red fescue. For the greens, the golf club is absolutely percentage of poa will be decreased to almost zero, but also on the other parts of the holes.
• Keep on monitoring the developments in the soil structure and grass composition.
During the past 4 years, many actions have been taken to:
• Increase the diversity in the woodlands, both in species and in structure;
• Creating more air and light to improve growing conditions for the grass;
• Increasing the area of heathland;
• Providing natural enemies to grubs by placing nest boxes for starlings and with this preventing damage of the turf grass by badgers.
The club house and maintenance facility are connected to the tap water network. For irrigating the golf course (greens, tees, fairways with a total area of 16 hectares), two water pumps are used.
The use of tap water is stable with approximately 1600 m3 water per year. There are no peaks to be found in the usage numbers. The golf club will look into the possibilities to start using rain water for flushing the toilets during the next years.
The irrigation system for the greens, tees, fairways is used for watering the holes. With an average use of 13600 cubic metres, the use of water is limited. The club has stated that the irrigated area is limited to 3,5 hectares since the fairways are barely irrigated. In 2017, the use of irrigation water was measured for the first time. In order to promote the desired grass species, irrigation is reduced as much as possible. A working process for determining the irrigation quantity is used and based on climate data and soil moisture. The first step is irrigate by hand before using the automatic system.
The following years the irrigation system will be optimized based on the location of the sprinklers and implement multiple irrigation programs.
For the club house, maintenance facility, practice facilities and irrigation system, energy from an energy supplier is used. The use is below average of other golf course like De Hoge Kleij with an annual use 150.000 kWh. The use of diesel is a bit higher on average compared to other golf courses.
Energy is supplied by Eneco and comes from renewable energy sources. The usage numbers are in line with other club houses and on a reasonable level, with the use of natural gas being less than average.
The next years, the golf club will research the possiblities to install solar panels.
Several smaller measures have been taken during the past years to lower energy use, like installing motion sensors and improving the cooling system. The larger part of energy is used in the restaurant. From the meeting can be concluded that there is a steady relation with the restaurant and joint actions have been taken to lower energy use. Installations are switched off when not used.
The possibilities to make purchases more sustainable have been researched and valued. An important notice from De Hoge Kleij is that many larger suppliers have attention for this subject. Since the greenkeeping is done by a contractor, the club has asked both the greenkeeping and the restaurant what the course of action will be for purchasing more sustainable. After the audit, the club has made a purchasing policy.
Larger suppliers have been contacted about their sustainable policies. These businesses acknowledge the importance of sustainability and this is stated in their annual reports. With delegations of these suppliers a sustainable policy has been discussed.
Aside from larger suppliers, there is attention for local produce, like the local brewery Drie Ringen from Amersfoort.
During the past 5 years, the grass species composition has shifted to more red fescue and bent grasses. The results that are visible now were established by adjusting the fertilizer planning: only providing the plants with what is necessary. This policy will be continued in the future. The plan for plant protection products has been made by contractor De Ridder and clearly states what actions should lead to optimising the turf composition and reducing the use of plant protection products.
All waste is separated and removed separately. Personnel is instructed with the wish to separate as many waste streams as possible. Green waste is stored temporary on an impervious floor and is removed when a threshold is met.
De Hoge Kleij has registered where possible environmental risks could occur, like the diesel tank, the storage of fuel, the washing pad with petrol-, oil- an lubricant filter and the oil filter of the restaurant. For these locations, adequate measures have been taken to prevent pollution. The accommodations are constructed according legislation and would be fit for large machine maintenance, while only small machine maintenance is done. There is a separate protocol for preventing pollution to air, water and soil.
A ground water analysis was done to evaluate what the quality is of the water that is used to irrigate the golf course. Surface water is not present on the golf course. For the tap water, the golf club implemented a legionella prevention protocol.
Waste water from the club house and the maintenance facility is discharged to the main sewers via an oil- filter at the club house to a petrol-, oil- an lubricant filter at the greenkeepers accommodation. With this, the golf club meets local legislation.
Hazardous products are stored in special cupboards of above leaking pans and are only used above impervious floors. Only greenkeepers with a certificate are allowed to work with these products. They also know how to act in case of an emergency.
The greenkeeper accommodation has impervious floors, all hazardous products are stored in compliance with legislation in special cupboards and above leaking pans. The diesel tank is certified and has anti-thievery protection.
There is a separate protocol for preventing pollution to air, water and soil.
De Hoge Kleij is organized professionally and thus shows to have control over the above mentioned subjects. The terrain on which the golf course is constructed, is part of an estate, Den Treek, and is owned by De Beaufort family. Across the golf course is a walking path that is frequently used by non-golfers.
The fact that the golf course is part of the national ecological network, emphasizes the need for responsible course maintenance and protecting plants and animals.
Personnel employed is schooled and trained for the work they are executing, with additional certificates. Several plans have been made to accommodate this, including an in-house emergency plan and a risk survey and training program for the personnel.
This shows, as several employees of the restaurant, greenkeepers and management members are trained for first-aid and in-house safety. A few greenkeepers have a certificate for using pesticides to ensure they are knowledgeable to use these products in a responsible manner.
The sustainability working group is comprised of a coordinator, club management members, the course committee and the head greenkeeper. The restaurant is no solid part of tis working group, but is involved when needed.
De Hoge Kleij limit sits communication towards golfers and directly involved parties like thee state owner. There are no specific projects with neighbours or the local community.
Part of the golf course is accessible by the walking paths. The golf club shares in the maintenance of their part of these paths.
Within the golf club, these is an active communication about the maintenance and the golf course. Sustainability is a subject that is often part of this communication. For example, news letters are used and members are informed during open meetings about developments on the golf course.
Communication with external parties is focussed on suppliers and golfers.
- Action Plans and Project Proposals
- Certification Report
- Environmental Data
- Environmental Management Plan
- Environmental Policy
- External Surveys and Reports
- Internal Reports
Golfclub De Hoge Kleij has shown by the registration form and verbal explanations, that sustainable management is an important pillar within the organization and daily management.
By taking part in the OnCourse program, they have shown that on many points, the club works according to legislation from a long term ambition, but this was only documented partially. The structured way of working of the sustainability committee and the practical translations that come from the club manager, greenkeeping and restaurant, have convinced me that there will be further actions towards an optimisation of nature, use of sources and involvement in society.
The golf course is situated on a wonderful location that shows careful use of the natural potentials, like the terrain, altitude levels and woodlands. With this approach, there is not only a development of natural values, but also a development of the golf course, which is highly valued by golfers. The constructive cooperation of the golf club, greenkeeping and restaurant, and the fully structured way of working of the sustainability committee can be seen as an example for other golf courses in the Netherlands.