10 Oct 2023
Fostering Nature Scorecard - Front 9
During Sustainable Golf Week, we will build a Fostering Nature Scorecard, revealing actionable steps that every golfer, club, or supporter can take to enhance golf's connection with nature and make it truly #BetterWithNature. By the week's end, you'll have a comprehensive 18 'holes' on the scorecard, each representing an opportunity to contribute to a more nature-friendly golfing experience.
We are now entering the mid stretch of the front nine in the Fostering Nature Scorecard as we close out day two of #SustainableGolfWeek. Here are holes 4-8 on what do do to protect nature.
#5 Avoid pollution risks
Minimize risks to protect people and the environment and inevitably support sustainable growth. Steps include documenting procedures for emergency spill responses, retaining no-mow, no-spray, and no-spread buffer zones next to water bodies and ecologically sensitive areas. Vegetative strips between playing areas and water bodies, such as riparian buffers, can prevent the contamination of woodlands, wetlands, streams, ponds, and lakes. Dense, deep-rooted areas of trees and plants can remove sediments, pesticides, and fertilisers before they leach into surface or sub-surface catchment areas in watersheds. Precision management of playing surfaces also helps reduce inputs. Can you think of more?
#6 Identify key ecological hot spots and priority species
Habitats can range from entire ecosystems (such as the entire golf course landscape and its surrounds), to individual trees, decomposing logs, small patches of grasslands and so on. Consider creating and posting a map of the site that delineates the area and types of habitat on the golf course. Help spread the word that golf courses can also be considered parks - full of nature. Recording species that occur on your site can inform habitat management strategies and can also be a good way of communicating its ecological value. Further understanding of the species found, and are protected under national legislation, can bring more recognition for your facility's conservation efforts.
Indicator species are those species sensitive to environmental change, their population can be used as an indicator of overall environmental quality and the effectiveness of the habitat management strategy. Explore a partnership with a local conservation organisation?
#7 Plan projects to avoid unnecessary damage and disturbance to habitats
Perhaps the most important question in habitat management is "What is the best form of management"? Is it significant intervention, or doing nothing and letting nature run its course? Working this out can be complex and it is always best to speak to experts and gather as much information as possible. Look for structural diversity with a range of types and age of species of plant to create a diversity of height, light and shade, food sources, and nesting/breeding sites. A mixture of types and ages of native species is often the best way of conserving and enhancing biodiversity. Core habitat patches should be preserved whole habitat corridors, both large and small scale, are vital for the movement of species enabling them to breed successfully. Banks of scrub and shrubs, lines of mature trees with large canopy, hedgerows, grassy verges, walls and ditches are all valuable forms of corridor on, across and around the site.
#8 List key products and materials and consider hidden impacts on nature
There are many areas to consider across the clubhouse, maintenance facility and throughout the course and grounds so start by listing the key products and materials purchased and consider their impacts of the products and their supply chains. Once you have a list you can start to look at purchasing and sustainable procurement policies and ensure goods are made from recycled or sustainable materials, or your suppliers are committed to sustainability. And are there ways to explore areas to reduce, reuse and recycle, while also communicating these steps to your team?