Abbey Hill Golf Centre, in Milton Keynes, has become only the third public pay-and-play centre in the UK to achieve the prestigious international sustainability award, GEO Certified™.
Abbey Hill is part of BGL Golf, the UK’s leading golf course owner and operator, which now boasts three facilities that have earned golf’s internationally recognised distinction awarded by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO).
GEO Certified™ recognises golf businesses which demonstrate an operational commitment to the three core principles of sustainability – planet, people and profit. The ecolabel has also been recognised by ISEAL, the global leader in defining credibility in sustainability standards.
BGL Golf operates 10 golf facilities across the UK and following Hoebridge Golf Centre, Redbourn Golf Club and Abbey Hill Golf Centre, the remaining seven, including five further public pay-and-play centres, are also on track to becoming GEO Certified™ by the end of 2015.
Colin Mayes, BGL chief executive, said: “As a forward thinking business, it is critical that we ensure the sustainability of our operations. We have targeted the GEO ecolabel across the group because it rewards a holistic view of sustainable business, and matches our own brand values.”
In the final stages of achieving GEO Certified™, Abbey Hill submitted a report outlining how it fulfils the criteria in six key areas: Nature, Water, Energy, Supply Chain, Pollution Control and Community.
Jonathan Smith, GEO chief executive, said: “Golf courses like Abbey Hill are working hard to have a positive impact in local communities – providing healthy recreation and a friendly meeting place for a wide range of people, and maintaining a healthy and biodiverse landscape: another great golf environment.”
Notable achievements include:
- A thriving junior academy with initiatives offering free golf tuition to school children, as well as popular summer holiday golf camps
- Hosting the annual MK Golf Festival for nearby primary schools and a Secondary Schools Cup to drive participation and competition among youngsters from the region
- Operating programmes in correspondence with the Milton Keynes Council for troubled youths and their community support officers to help build a rapport between them and reduce crime in the area
- Becoming a member of the Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, allowing networking opportunities with local businesses and hosting the charitable organisation, Stony Stratford Lions Club, twice monthly
- Offering discounted rates on green fees for members of the armed forces. The Battle Back charity is also supported with war veterans receiving complimentary rounds of golf.
- The launch of BGL’s Learn Golf initiative, which offers novices two free hour-long lessons with a PGA professional, to help grow participation of the game
Howard Craft, Abbey Hill Golf Centre Acting General Manager, said: “Achieving GEO Certified™ is pleasing because it verifies how we approach our business.
“We offer facilities which allow people of all ages and ability to enjoy golf at some level and working in the community ensures we can reach a wide audience and break down the barriers traditionally associated with playing the game.”
GEO is an international not-for-profit organisation working to promote, support and recognise sustainability throughout the golf industry.
More details of the sustainability work achieved by Abbey Hill can be viewed in its GEO Certified™ Report at www.golfenvironment.org/directory/509_abbey_hill_golf_centre
Abbey Hill Golf Centre www.abbeyhillgc.co.uk