At Woburn Golf Club we are striving to protect our environment, our heritage and the enjoyment of the game of golf for future generations.
We have been working with the Golf Environment Organisation for which we were reassessed at the end of October 2019. We are extremely proud, that for the third consecutive time we have been awarded industry specific GEO re-accreditation for the sustainable way in which we manage our business and our golfing landscape.
As a Club, we are committed to protecting our environment and reducing our resource footprint. Examples of this include the extensive Woodland Management programme and the construction of a 110,000m3 reservoir to reduce our potable water consumption.
These are the projects which the Club was recently assessed on when achieving re-accreditation:
- Re-use of cores from the Marquess and Duchess greens for the construction of the Tavistock Short Game greens
- Harvesting of rainwater from clubhouse for use in the buggy compound wash down area
- Monitoring of drainage water form Duke’s and Duchess courses to see if it can also be re-used within the Club
- Planting of wildflower meadow adjacent to reservoir and 15th tee on the Marquess course in the hope of encouraging butterflies and bees to the area
- The use of LED lighting across the clubhouse
- Recycling of all waste material within the Club
- Building bird boxes from used wooden pallets which have been located across all three courses
How does a club benefit?
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-accrediation.
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'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.
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 Club has recently embarked in a hedge laying project on the approach to the Golf Club along Longslade Lane.
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.
For the AIG Women's British Open
Back in late May, an ecology assessment was carried out on behalf of The R&A and the Club specifically to identify any ecological sensitivities in lieu of the 2019 AIG Women's British Open.
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 habitatsdetermined the traffic routes marked out by ropes during the event.
The visit was carried out by Bob Taylor from the STRI who did an ecology assessment for The Open at Royal Portrush in July, an interview with Bob and information on his work at The Open can be viewed below.