STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) honoured the winners of the 2015 Golf Environment Awards at Hotel Du Vin in Harrogate last week (21 January).
The STRI Golf Environment Awards highlight the UK’s best conservational projects being developed and managed by golf courses and reward the individuals that are making real improvements to their local environment and quality of life for the future.
The 2015 winners of the awards are:
- Environmental Golf Course of the Year – Royal St David’s Golf Club, Harlech in North Wales
- Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year – John Kelly, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport in Lancashire
- Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year – Hockley Golf Club, Twyford in Hampshire
Originally launched in 1997, the awards are managed and administered by STRI with support from Justin Rose, the official ambassador of the Golf Environment Awards and industry sponsors – Syngenta, Ransomes Jacobsen, Farmura, Tillers Turf, Wiedenmann and media sponsors Greenkeeping, Golf Monthly, Greenkeeper International and BIGGA.
The three winners each receive the trip of a lifetime to Europe and the chance to visit some of the world’s leading golf facilities and sites of specific ecological interest.
Each award winner showcased sustainability, best practice and presented a clear understanding of planning current and future environmental projects across the golf course. Each entry for the awards was independently judged on demonstrable environmental achievements and outcomes and the winners were selected following a rigorous inspection of 25 golf clubs across the UK by STRI’s team of experts.
Bob Taylor, STRI’s Ecology & Environment Manager, said: “The standard this year was incredible and highlights the considerable contribution golf courses deliver to their natural surroundings. Environment and ecology issues continue to be a major factor for managers as they not only enhance landscapes but directly influence the quality and overall playing experience of golf courses.
“All this year’s winners have shown a remarkable level of commitment and energy in delivering high quality courses, as well as successfully improving their local environment. All of our finalists are showcasing excellence and best practice in the management of sustainable land management.”
Rhys Butler from Royal St David’s Golf Club commented on winning the award: “To be recognised for our management of the Royal St David’s site is fantastic and we are truly honoured to have won this award. Environmental considerations and sustainability have long been a priority at Royal St David’s and it is for everybody’s benefit that we enhance the environment and improve the playing experience of the course. I am extremely proud of the team and the improvement we have made in restoring the links to its natural form whilst enhancing the ecology and wildlife on the site.”
John Kelly from Royal Birkdale Golf Club said: “To have received the Conservation Greenkeeper Award for 2015 is an amazing achievement and I am deeply honoured and proud to have won this. But I also can’t help but think that we are all winners, as no matter how small a thing we do the only winner is wildlife and conservation.”
And Glenn Kirby from Hockley Golf Club said: “I was thrilled to accept this award on behalf of Hockley Golf Club, our team has worked incredibly hard alongside English Heritage, Natural England, South Downs National Park and Hants and IoW Wildlife Trust to achieve what we have. The club recognises the importance and scarcity of the chalk downland environment and will continue to do all we can to promote good land and environmental management practices that complement our golf course. The awards were a fantastic event and a great way to publicise the great work taking place on golf courses around the country.”
The Golf Environment Awards are run annually and the 2016 Awards will be open to entries, for all sizes and types of golf clubs across the UK, from 1 March 2015.
STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) www.stri.co.uk
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