First awarded golf’s global eco-label, GEO Certified, in 2012, Coventry Golf Club has now become the first club in England to be re-certified to the international sustainably standard having clearly demonstrated continued commitment and improvement during the three year certification cycle.
GEO Certified®, golf’s international mark of sustainability, recognises golf facilities that demonstrate a commitment to nature protection and enhancement, resource efficiency and community value. Administered and assured by the not-for-profit GEO (Golf Environment Organization) and independently assessed, the standard requires recertification every three years. Re-certification is carried out by an independent verifier and is dependent on the club showing both continued commitment and enhanced improvement to sustainable management.
Coventry Golf Club, founded in 1887 and a former winner of England Golf’s Environmental Award, is said to be one of the finest examples of mature parkland golf. The clubs commitment to nature was one of the many highlights of its GEO re-Certified® verification report. The clubs close relationship with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WKWT) has seen many new initiatives put in place to enhance the habitat for both flora and fauna. Wildlife boxes and log piles have been created along with a new wildflower area providing good opportunities for a range of pollinators, birds and small mammals. The creation of an artificial otter holt in a disused irrigation pump house on the golf clubs grounds has been a very successful partnership project with otters settling in. The club is also involved in the WKWT’s Princethorpe Woodland project and the Trust runs a range of other community conservation activities within the course thought-out the year.
Further highlights noted in the on-site verification report which shows the clubs continued commitment and improvements across nature protection and enhancement, resource efficiency and community value include:
- Participating in Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator biodiversity programme, setting aside several acres for wildflower habitat
- Selection of turfgrass species which minimise demand on water and fertilizers
- Investment in the on-going use of grey water from Severn Trent;
- Implementation of a range of measures to reduce energy consumption in course maintenance including installing on-site solar panels, a new fleet of fuel efficient green keeping equipment and electric buggies;
- A range of energy efficiency measures within the clubhouse including use of natural ventilation, low energy lighting, motion sensor lighting, educational materials and an upgraded energy-efficient air conditioning system which was installed in 2015;
- New efficient boiler supplying hot water to clubhouse showers helped reduce natural gas consumption by over 40,000 litres since 2012;
- Introduction of a cycle to work scheme set up for staff, along with the addition of on site shower for greenkeepers;
- Raising funds for onsite conservation activities through selling of surplus logs to members for firewood recycling of spent trolley batteries;
- Collaboration with Severn Trent and the Environment Agency to host volunteer teams on Himalayan Balsam eradication programme;
- Restoration of the remains of Bagots Castle, located within course grounds, by English Heritage;
- University projects and work experience placements regularly carried out at the club;
- Afterschool clubs run by the pro shop for local children; and
- Two charities given courtesy of the course every year to help with fund raising.
Phil Weaver, member of The Environmental Group at Coventry Golf Club said: “Coventry Golf Club is a traditional private members club, with a very modern outlook and values. Across all sectors of the clubs’ undertakings there remains an active desire to further enhance and progress its status both on and off the golf course. Our sustainability efforts remain wholly in balance with members and visitors’ enjoyment and fulfilment of playing the game on a well maintained, picturesque and mature parkland layout. We are delighted that our sustainability work has once again been recognised as holding up to the credible high standards of a GEO Certified® club.”
Matt Johns, independent verifier said: “Coventry Golf Course has demonstrated a high level of environmental stewardship over the last three years since initially being awarded GEO Certified®. Clearly the Club has taken its responsibilities seriously and have managed to improve in all areas with a number of new initiatives in place. I look forward to seeing them continue to build successful partnerships and implement innovative projects.”
Martina Irwin, Business Partnerships Officer for WKWT said: “Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has been working with Coventry Golf Club over a number of years and we are delighted the Club has been re-certified with this prestigious eco label. The commitment of the team at Coventry Golf Club to wildlife and the environment has been brilliant. From their Himalayan balsam eradication efforts on the golf course to the management of ponds, installing nest boxes and feeding stations for birds and setting aside an area for Operation Pollinator – and even hosting guided bat walks, the team has helped create a stunning place for wildlife to thrive and for members and visitors to enjoy golf on such a well looked after parkland course.”
The Full GEO re-Certified® verification report can be found here.
Coventry Golf Club www.coventrygolf.co.uk
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