Golfclub De Compagnie
Executive summary (English & local language)
Golfcourse De Compagnie is situated in the northern province of Groningen, in an area known as the “Veenkoloniën” (peat colonies). These former peatlands were used for the production of turf since the Middle ages. In the 16th century people started to win the turf on a larger scale. The area was drained and villages were founded. After the period of turf production, other economic activities arose here, such as agriculture and factories for the production of potato starch. The name of the course, De Compagnie, refers to this industrial period.
The course lies close to Veendam, on the north western side of the village. On the east side of the course there is a new residential area, which is partly still under development. On the southern side there is a main road with houses and other sporting facilities. And on the northern and western side the course is surrounded by agricultural fields.
For the management of the golf course De Compagnie cooperates with a landscaping company (Hoveniersbedrijf Dijk BV). The head greenkeepers works for this company. The interview for the audit took place with the course manager, a member of the GEO committee and the head greenkeeper.
The golf course consists of two parts. There is an older part from 1990, with forests that were already there when the course was developed. And there is a new part from 2006, which is more open with more open water. Recently sightlines that refer to the history of the landscape have been restored. In general the nature and landscape values of the course consist of open water with natural shores, native woodlands and ecological grasslands. During the visit for the audit, lots of insects were seen on these flowery grasslands. They provide good places for shelter and food for the insects.
In 2017 an ecological survey was executed for birds. The survey shows that many bird species are present. Other ecological surveys are planned for this year. For these surveys the club works together with local volunteers.
The club is planning extra measures to improve the ecological quality of the course. New shrubs will be planted on different locations and the area of ecological grassland will be expanded.
The grasses used on the course fit the soil. The colouring of the grass during dry periods is no problem for the club and the members. People are used to it.
For the irrigation of the course the club uses surface water. The amount of water used for irrigation is very low. The colouring of the grass during dry periods is no problem for the club and the members. Several water-saving measures have already been taken in the clubhouse. The club is planning a water audit in order to discover if there are more possibilities for the reduction of water use. It is recommended that the greenkeepers facility will be part of the water audit. For the washing of the machines for example, they now use drinking water. But there is a pond nearby the wash area. With an easy technical adjustment it is possible to wash the machines with surface water. The wash area contains an impermeable floor and fat separator.
Several energy saving measures have been taken. The clubhouse was built in 2006 and is well insulated. There is a green roof that provides extra insulation. Lightbulbs in- and outside are replaced by LED lights. The temperature of the heating of the clubhouse is adjusted to the season in order to save energy. And the club makes use of a green energy supplier.
The club is planning an energy audit in order to find out more possibilities for energy saving. It is recommended that the greenkeepers facility will be part of the energy audit. The machinery for the maintenance is fuelled by diesel or petrol, there are no hybrid or electric mowers. The club does not own the machinery. They are owned and maintained by Dijk Hoveniers. This company is working on the replacement of machinery by hybrid versions.
The club uses sustainable criteria as part of their purchasing policy, such as local suppliers, local products and organic products. These criteria must also be used by the restaurant and the golf shop in the clubhouse, which are run by other entrepreneurs. Two times a year there is a meeting with these entrepreneurs and the sustainable criteria are on the agenda of these meetings.
The use of inorganic fertilisers has gone down in the recent years, in favour of organic fertilisers (compost). The club thinks that the amount of inorganic fertilisers can even be more reduced. The use of chemicals is low. Most chemicals are used on the fairways (herbicides). The club intends to reduce this to zero and in 2018 no chemical have been used yet on the fairways. In preparation for the Dutch Green Deal on the use of chemical the club will write and implement a pest protection plan.
All of the waste material is being reused or recycled, except plastics. The company that collects the waste in the area of Veendam does not offer the possibility of collecting plastic for companies. And there are no alternative waste collecting companies. This is a problem that more golf clubs face.
The course complies with environmental legislation. The storage of hazardous materials and maintenance of the machinery is a responsibility of the landscaping company. This company is certified for the construction and management of golf courses. Chemicals are stored at the yard of the landscaping company. The club will start with the analyses of the water quality in 2018. Samples of the surface water will be tested in order to analyse the quality of the irrigation water for the greens.
The club is very active in involving the local community. For the ecological surveys they work together with volunteers of the local IVN group. There are special open days for the people that live in the adjacent residential area. Members of a local painters club can take pictures on the course and for schools they organise lessons in biology and gymnastics. A public cycling path runs through the course. This paths connects Veendam to villages up north. Members of the golf club are informed on GEO and sustainable course management through news letters and member meetings. The information on the website about these issues is not available yet.
Golf course De Compagnie is situated in an area that is mostly known for agriculture and related industries. Together with the history of turf production this has formed the modern landscape, which is flat and open. Golf course De Compagnie adds a new element to this landscape and offers many possibilities for more biodiversity. The club makes much use of these possibilities by the management of the course through native woodlands, shrubs, natural grasslands and open water with shallow zones. The club is very active on the issue of sustainability in general. Many measures have already been taken and new measures will be explored. And last but not least the club is very active in involving the local community, such as schools and nature volunteers. I therefore recommend that golf club De Compagnie can be awarded with the GEO certificate.
• Natural diversity and chances for biodiversity.
• Golf club is very active on sustainability in general.
• Involvement of local community in different ways.