Kenwick Park Golf Club has been awarded first prize in the 2003 BIGGA Golf Environment Competition. The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association organise this competition and judge golf clubs on the measures they take to manage the amenity and wildlife habitat in the most environmentally sensitive way.
Scotts and Syngenta, the sponsors of the competition, will be presenting Kenwick Park a Scotts Weather Station, a cheque for £2,000, the BIGGA trophy to hold for 12 months and a plaque to display in the clubhouse.
Kenwick Park Golf Club may only be 11 years old but it is set in historic parkland in the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. Extensive wooded areas are a natural habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna. Areas of open grassland offer nest sites for skylarks and other ground nesting birds. Nine lakes, fed from a network of open ditches, provide a habitat for wetland plants, birds and animals. Surplus water from the lakes is pumped into a reservoir designed to provide further wetland habitat as well as satisfying all irrigation requirements.
In 1999 a group of interested members, backed by the board, formed the environmental panel and devised an environmental policy and management plan. These members started off with no funds, a few ideas and lots of enthusiasm.
Ian Shephard, chairman of the panel said, “The panel is a lot more than a talking shop. As well as organising golf and social events to raise funds, the panel members often don their wellies and undertake a variety of tasks.”
To date, these intrepid members have hand weeded sensitive areas, pruned shrubs, laid hedges, bagged compost, and planted wild flowers, trees and hedges for the benefit of both golf and the environment.
Here is a selection of the projects that contributed to Kenwick Park’s success in the BIGGA competition:
- In 2000, the Environmental Panel made significant contributions towards both the design and the cost of a new reservoir. The four million gallon reservoir is fed with water, extracted under licence from the interlinking system of lakes, during January, February and March each year. The costs amount to a mere £10 per million gallons and the water is used to meet all irrigation needs during the summer. At the end of September this year there were only one million gallons left. All the water used during the long dry summer, would have cost the club a staggering £5,000, if this had come from a metered supply.
- The reservoir and adjacent block of woodland are now being developed as a nature reserve. An open glade with a small pond has been created in the wood providing an excellent habitat for mammals, amphibians, birds, bats and insects. A hide provides facilities for viewing the area without disturbing the wildlife.
- Birds are encouraged to breed by provision of nest boxes. A member of the environmental panel is a registered bird ringer. In 1997, there were a total of 15 boxes for tits and 90 fledglings were ringed. This year, the number of tit boxes has increased to 70 and the fledglings ringed to 295. Other species such as owls have their own boxes. The skylarks‘ nest sites, alongside one of the fairways, are protected from the golfers by a local rule.
- The enthusiast volunteers have planted over 2,000 wild flower plugs, as well as additional fruit bearing trees and shrubs to provide winter food for the birds. They then acquired the necessary skills to plant 250 metres of new hedgerows consisting of hawthorn, blackthorn, maple, hazel and holly.
- Three beautiful black swans were introduced to the course. They have proved to be an environmentally friendly way of controlling coot and persuading Canada geese to move on.
- Kenwick Park is fortunate to have a Grade II listed building for the clubhouse. It was originally a coach-house and stable block and features a clock set into a clock tower. The building is described as being of Queen Anne style designed by Temple Moore in 1888. The environmental panel assists with necessary renovations outside such as repairing the guttering. Panel member also raised the money required to install energy efficient lights in the clubhouse.
- The waste management strategy includes returning used cooking oil for re-processing, chemicals from greenkeeping activities are disposed of in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and legal requirements and composting. Greenkeepers collect grass clippings into one tonne sacks thrown away by local builders merchants. These sacks are emptied into three composting bays and mixed with leaves and other green waste from the course. The first compost was sold to club members in March this year, generating welcome income for the panel. The £2,000 prize money will be used to further develop the composting project.
“At Kenwick, the needs of golf take precedence but the very existence of the golf course gives us many opportunities to improve the wildlife habitat. Our list of species recorded at Kenwick is growing steadily year on year and even includes several species new to this part of Lincolnshire. Today, the course is better for both the golf and as an environment for wildlife, than it was three years ago, ” explained Ian Shephard.
Environmental management at the club has evolved into an equal partnership between green keeping staff, club management and the members represented by the Environmental Panel. By bringing together the professional expertise of the greenkeepers, the specialist knowledge and enthusiasm of members and active support of club management, a high level of environmental awareness is maintained.
Kenwick Park Golf Club www.louthnet.com/pages/kenwick/index.htm