Sustainability has been shown to help save time and money, improve overall quality of the course, and build reputation. After a club completes the OnCourse® programme, a full report representing their efforts, and the basis for continual monitoring and improvement around a consistent plan is provided. GEO Certified®, is golf’s international ecolabel – like FairTrade and there are only 21 clubs in England which are GEO certified with Woburn Golf Club the 7th Club to be awarded re-accreditation.
What have we done?
Woburn Golf Club's woodland nature is balanced against the playability of the courses through strategic maintenance of the under storey. New growth and a second storey, is being encouraged and allowed to establish where golf balls are unlikely to finish. Woodland areas are being managed by thinning to increase light and to encourage new growth in overgrown areas. Dead trees are being retained, in out of play areas, to create additional habitat and perching for birds of prey. Log piles and nesting boxes also enhance habitats for insects and birds.
Water Conservation and Usage
Woburn Golf Club has been using potable water supplied by Anglian Water for use in the clubhouse and for irrigation on the courses. Over the past few years, in an effort to diversify supply, a borehole has been installed with a licence to draw just over 100m3 per day. In March 2013, a 110,000m3 reservoir was completed on an area of unused agricultural land within the estate. Based on previous years irrigation consumption this reservoir should allow Woburn Golf Club to be self-sufficient through the use of direct rainfall or from drainage in place on the courses.
Woburn Golf Club provides a venue for a number of events for local business, police, charity and fundraising including local schools and community projects. There are a number of footpaths and bridleways offering great amenity value for local residents. The Club provides a fantastic facility for junior golf and has one of the most active junior sections in the county. The Club has a Sustainability working group that has been working towards improving environmental standards across the club. The adoption of the GEO certification and the move to achieving these standards has involved all stakeholders.
The environmental benefits of hedge laying are: hedge laying converts a row of small trees into a thick, bushy hedge that provides a vital wildlife haven, including shelter and nesting sites for birds, ground free from trampling for delicate flora and invertebrates. This technique also encourages the shrubs and trees to regenerate and remain healthy thereby greatly increasing the lifespan of the hedge. By in-filling hedges with new plants the protected corridors can be extended and thickened benefiting wildlife, whilst also negating the need for other types of barriers to livestock or the public.
In preparation for the AIG Women's British Open back in late 2019, an ecology assessment was carried out on behalf of The R&A and the Club specifically to identify any ecological sensitivities. Another visit took place two weeks after the tournament to assess course damage and reparation requirements. Considerations and recommendations included the protection of trees close to the construction of the grandstands located at the 1st tee and 18th green. Protection zones were put in place to protect roots of trees from any construction machinery. Construction staff working on the 12th hole were made aware of likely nesting birds around the margin of the water body and the need to keep spectators away from such areas. The impact of spectators on wildlife habitats determined the traffic routes marked out by ropes during the event.