Demands on Europe’s greenkeepers to ensure their awareness and compliance with a raft of different legislation are increasing. Here we take a look at what Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club are doing to stay ahead of the regulators.
In March 2013 Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, the home to the largest amateur tournament in the world, the Halford Hewitt Public Schools Championship, chose to install a ClearWater Washpad Water Recycling System in order to conform with the Groundwater Regulations (England and Wales) 2009 and the soon to be implemented EU Water Framework Directive.
After over two years of use, the Course Manager James Bledge discusses with Highspeed Group’s Business Development Manager, Ryan Anderton, how this system is being utilised by his greens staff, how the club is benefiting from recycling washdown water and the work it is doing to remain at the forefront of ecological and compliant greenkeeping.
Q Ryan Anderton: With the EU Water Framework Directive now due for full implementation and the Groundwater Regulations enforced in 2009, were these contributing factors behind the club’s decision to upgrade the washpad facility?
A James Bledge: Yes, the previous “system” was a tap outside the shed that had been used for years, no pressure and the outlet drain would not have been within legislation. At the time we were fully aware that this was breaking legislation, was unsightly and so close to the clubhouse. It was time to do something about it!
Q With the issue of groundwater legislation affecting many golf clubs across Europe and the USA in a number of greenkeeping aspects, was compliance the priority, or was the key factor the benefit of being ecological and saving water?
A Complying with legislation should always be a priority. I try my hardest to make sure everything is done by the book. Chris Barnard (now Course Manager at Scotscraig Golf Club) and I searched for a system that ticked all the boxes and was also efficient for washing machines. With South East England being such a dry area, we are always striving to save water. ClearWater’s ability to recycle and use natural rain water to top up levels was very attractive.
Q Did you consider other options such as reedbed systems or oil interceptors for example? What made ClearWater the solution for Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club?
A We never considered any other options, ClearWater came highly recommended from our peers and when we put it up against competitors, the ClearWater system came out trumps for cost and ease of use; both very important factors for us having just arrived at the club.
Q How was the installation process? Did you take up the self-installation option or was it installed by Highspeed Group?
A We left that to the experts! Highspeed Group installed the bay in a few days and at the same time they laid a few sand bays. The back-up service from Highspeed has been excellent. The washbay is treated like a machine; anything goes wrong or you have any problems, then Highspeed are always there with technical advice or an engineer who can visit to sort out any issues.
Q With the 2015 Open Qualifiers recently being held again at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club how has the ClearWater Washpad Water Recycling System faired with the increase in machinery washing and turn-around?
A During the Amateur Championships in particular the machinery count doubled. The washbay was fairly new to us then and it was an absolute saviour. I couldn’t imagine twenty odd machines lining up outside the clubhouse waiting to be washed the old way as the tap pressure barely took any dust off! I’d say this was a significant test and all of my volunteers this year commented on how good a system ClearWater is. We are very happy with the ClearWater system.
Q Would you recommend the ClearWater to other greenkeepers?
A I have already done so. I have used a few other systems in my time and this is the best; as long as it’s looked after, it will look after you!
Q With money still tight for golf clubs after the recession, can you shine any light on why a compliant washpad is a necessary investment?
A Causing pollution of any kind is a big no no! As Course Managers we are not only responsible for the well-being of our greens but any areas that surround us that may be affected should we be neglectful. Machinery washings not only contain grass, but oils and fuels. A compliant washbay could save your club not only a large fine but also the shame of not looking after our environment.
Highspeed Group Ltd www.highspeed.co.uk
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club www.royalcinqueports.com