Global Sustainability Recognition for Royal Lytham

Friday 11 September 2015

Royal Lytham & St Annes GEO Certified Presentation, from left to right: Graham Cochrane, The R&A; Paul Smith, Head Greenskeeper Royal Lytham; Gerry Coyle, Chairman of Greens Royal Lytham; Kelli Jerome Managing Director GEO; Charles Grimley. Secretary, Royal Lytham: and Johnnie Cole Hamilton, Executive Director- Championships The R&A.

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, which recently hosted the 2015 Walker Cup (12 and13 September 2015), has been presented with golf’s international sustainability distinction, GEO Certified®, in recognition of its efforts to manage club and course operations to the highest sustainability standards.

GEO Certified® recognises golf facilities which demonstrate environmental stewardship, resource efficiency and community value. The certification is administered and assured by GEO (Golf Environment Organization), the not-for-profit group dedicated to sustainability in the golf industry. The standard is independently verified and publicly reported, making it a credible and significant distinction. GEO is a member of the ISEAL community, which includes the world’s top sustainability standards such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and FSC.

Royal Lytham, has hosted The Open on eleven occasions, most recently in 2012, two Ryder Cups and numerous other championships. This month it welcomed the leading amateurs from Great Britain and Ireland and the USA for the 45th Walker Cup match. As a links course, Royal Lytham is characterised by its undulating duneland nature. With coastal grasslands and extant sand hills the site has been designated as a Lancashire Biological Heritage Site (BHS). Surrounded by urban landscape the course is described as a green island, and a haven for wildlife. The club recognises the importance it has as a steward of the land to preserve and enhance its natural landscape and local flora and fauna. Management on site focuses on the creation and protection of habitat including connecting corridors and avoiding habitat fragmentation. Many small birds, including stonechat and linnet, find habitats for feeding and nesting in the dune grassland and scrub.

In addition to their work to protect and enhance the landscape and wildlife habitats on site the club have made conscious efforts to use their resources efficiently and provide value to the community. Some of the highlights from the GEO Certified® on-site verification report include the installation of energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors within the clubhouse; a comprehensive waste management system which maximises re-use and recycling and the local sourcing of the food products which are served at the clubhouse. In addition, as a venue for championships the club brings significant revenue into the region, attracting over 25,000 golfers each year.,. The Open alone generated £65million in revenue for the area when it was played at Royal Lytham in 2012.

Kelli Jerome, Managing Director of GEO presented Gerry Coyle, Chairman of Greens at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, with the club’s GEO Certified® certificate and flag. Ms Jerome said: “We are delighted to present Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club with this notable distinction. The club have shown a clear and strong commitment to enhance the three pillars of sustainable golf: nature, resources and people, across their club and course operations, including a forward plan for continual improvement.  The facility has been a careful steward since its creation and thus an obvious leader to step forward for this certification as part of the ethos of the club and The R&A’s commitment for all of the links courses that host The Open”

Mr Coyle said, “We are extremely pleased to achieve GEO certification and it reflects the hard work that many people at the club put into managing the course and the clubhouse operations sustainably. It has been a valuable exercise to go through and has helped us focus on the ways in which we can improve our day to day operations. Sustainability is a priority for us and we are very proud to have successfully achieved this international standard for sustainability assurance.”

The timing of the announcement of this recognition, which took place at the commencement of the 2015 Walker Cup, highlights The R&A’s commitment to sustainability in golf.  Along with driving sustainability in golf through their role as governing body for the sport, in 2015 The R&A launched a sustainable development programme, GreenLinks, for The Open, held this year at St Andrews. The GEO Certified® standard features within this programme with all Open venues on track to become GEO Certified® by 2016.

The full GEO Certified® verification report for Royal Lytham and St Annes can be found here.


Further Information:

For Media Enquires Please Contact:

Libi Newell, Communications and Community Engagement, Golf Environment Organization Tel: +44 162 0895 100 Email:

About GEO Certified®

GEO Certified® is golf’s internationally accredited and widely supported eco-label and is a member of ISEAL Alliance, the global assurance body for standards in sustainability. GEO is a stakeholder-funded, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to helping the global golf community establish leadership in environmental enhancement, resource efficiency and community integration and value. For more information, please visit

About OnCourse®

OnCourse® is a free web-based tool available to golf facilities worldwide, guiding them around the priorities and resources for sustainability in golf, helping them easily and credibly share their efforts and value, and leading to GEO Certified®.  For more information, please visit

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