Coventry Golf Club has become the first club in England to be awarded the international ecolabel GEO Certified™ in recognition of outstanding sustainability efforts across their parkland course, clubhouse, and reaching out into the surrounding community.
The Club, which celebrated its 125th anniversary this year and the centenary of the re-location of the course to Finham, has proved itself ahead of the times thanks to the efforts of head PGA professional and course manager Phil Weaver and a team of dedicated members.
Like many of England’s nearly 2000 golf courses, Coventry is a community based club, and has blazed a trail by showing how sustainability can be embraced with positive results for the environment and economic benefits to the golf business.
Weaver, who is also chairman of the PGA, was an integral part of the journey through the GEO OnCourse™ programme that led to the GEO Certified™ ecolabel.
Speaking at a presentation which took place at Wentworth during the BMW PGA Championship, Weaver said: “I am delighted that Coventry earned this accolade. We are a typical club that has been proudly serving our community for 125 years, always striving to be a benefit to local people and the local environment.
“We recognise the pressures on the environment at large and understand that golf clubs have an important responsibility to take their stewardship of the land seriously. In the last few years we have become much more aware and active, making sustainability a consideration in every decision we make.
“The GEO OnCourse™ programme was easy to follow and made sure we thought about a wide range of practical areas and there were suggestions for improvements as we went along.
“The on-site verification with Matt Johns was extremely constructive and left us with new ideas and motivation for the future. We will fly the GEO Certified™ flag with a great deal of pride.”
Weaver worked in close conjunction with colleagues, club captain Keith Lindsay, club member Professor Ian Foster, and past captain and president Robin Bussell to drive the project forward and become the first Golf Club inEnglandto achieve this prestigious award.
Johns, of the environmental consultancy Johns Associates and a GEO Sustainability Associate (GEOSA) visited the club as an accredited verifier.
He commented: “What was particularly impressive was the range of environmental aspects covered by the Club’s activities. From use of treated effluent for irrigation, to working with the local river’s geomorphology, to renewables, waste management. A great deal of passion, focus, and pride was evident and they have demonstrated commitment, innovation and real-world results.”
Jonathan Smith, GEO chief executive added: “Community and volunteer involvement is an important aspect of sustainability in golf, and can also help multiply a club’s efforts outward. Coventry Golf Club does a lot to raise awareness among members, staff, suppliers, peers and the wider community, from the notice board to the website to training to press.
“Other involvement includes annual community charity tournaments, joint projects with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and a close link with English Heritage who manage the 13th century and 14th century ruins on the club’s property.
“Coventryis a great example as a social and environmental asset, now confidently and credibly connecting sustainability with younger and older generations alike.”
Paul Keeling, club services manager at England Golf added his support: “Building on their English Golf Union Environmental Award, the GEO Certified ecolabel brings well-deserved national and international recognition.
“We are proud to promote the commitment and achievements of Coventry Golf Club in front of all our member clubs and our various government and sporting partners, and as part of our leadership work on the new British Association for Sustainability in Sport. We look forward to working more closely with GEO to encourage other clubs to follow this lead.”
Sandy Jones, chief executive of The PGA, also commended the results: I am absolutely delighted to congratulate Coventry Golf Club on this recognition from the GEO. I know Phil Weaver, our PGA chairman, is passionate about the subject of the environment and has been very much involved at the forefront of the Coventry project team who achieved this recognition.
“I would hope that perhaps this becomes an inspiration for many of our golf clubs and also our club professionals who could be at the heart of such an activity.”
Coventry Golf Club www.coventrygolf.co.uk