Sustainability

BGL own and manage over 400 hectares of British countryside. This is a significant ecological resource and we take our stewardship of this land very seriously. This policy is geared towards achieving the maximum environmental potential of each site whilst never losing sight of the primary golfing objectives.

We became the world’s first multi-site operator to achieve the international sustainability award, GEO Certified®, at each of our venues. A wide-ranging variety of innovative community engagement, nature enhancement and protection and resource efficiency measures in place across our courses are recognised by this prestigious award.

In 2012 we put all our courses through the OnCourse® programme and become GEO Certified® followed by the accreditation of The Shropshire in late 2014.GEO Certified®, golf ’s international mark of sustainability, is administered and assured by the not-for-profit Golf Environment Organization (GEO) and independently assessed. GEO Certified® recognises golf businesses that demonstrate a commitment to providing more and more value to people and nature at the facilities they manage.

 

Environmental Policy


Burhill Golf and Leisure facilities range from the prestigious 100 year old Burhill Golf Club, to modern golf facilities at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club and Redbourn Golf Club. BGL Golf provides high quality 18-hole golf courses, extensive practice facilities, 9-hole par-3 courses and golfing academies and focus on encouraging young golfers. We love developing new golfing talent.

Each golf course also supports a range of natural habitats including rough grassland, woodlands, and lake and river habitat. The golf courses provide a home for many of Britain’s best loved species including: Barn owls, sparrowhawks, red kites, bats, hares, adders, grass snakes and a variety of butterflies including Marbled White and Purple Hairstreak. Plant species include wildflowers such as Bee Orchid and Early Purple Orchids.

This diversity presents a challenge for the group in achieving common values in managing varied wildlife habitats and seeking to improve the environmental performance of both modern buildings and the listed Georgian Mansion at Burhill. This is why we have sought to develop a written Environmental Policy, which clearly sets out our environmental commitment and applies across all our businesses. We have chosen initiatives that we believe to be challenging but achievable, with a few aspirational goals that will push the group further. We aim to make the name of BGL synonymous with environmental best practice and ensure that our facilities have a positive environmental impact both locally and nationally.

We are committed to:

Enhancing the natural environment of our sites for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Minimising the impact of our businesses
on the environment through careful management of resources.

Preventing pollution
from our activities and to
dispose of waste safely.

Promote the actions and activities
of our sites and the positive impact they have to our communities.

This overall vision will be achieved by:

Nominating a responsible person, or team of people

at each golf facility to oversee ecological and environmental change and to provide these nominees with adequate
training and advice.

Providing a forum for Course Managers and General Managers

to share best practice ideas from their facilities, discuss and develop new working practices.

Assessing our current and future performance
relative to best practice and to other golf clubs via the Golf Environment Organisation accreditation programme.

Seeking outside professional help to provide long term ecological and environmental advice.

Nature Policy

To identify priority species and habitats on each site through ecological surveys and to implement management, to achieve good ecological status and realise maximum ecological potential.

To revise mowing regimes, and to develop unmanaged ecology grassland where possible, in order to reduce energy consumption and wear on machinery.

To improve conservation management knowledge of the course management staff
through training courses and applied reading.

To carry out course management based upon the ecological significance of the area in question.

Areas of rough grassland, ponds and woodland will only be managed outside of the wildlife breeding seasons.

Biodiversity will form a priority issue when considering any new course improvements or developments. Wildlife habitats will be surveyed prior to implementation and additional environments created as part of the project.

To retain standing dead wood where possible and to stockpile dead wood
within woodlands for its inherent ecological value.

To create habitats that are interconnecting around each site known as wildlife corridors to seek to minimise habitat fragmentation.

To maximize the number of habitats and niches within each site through careful
management, thus maximising the alpha diversity of our courses.

To establish a greens noticeboard within the clubhouse or golf venue at each golf facility to communicate new initiatives, wildlife sightings, etc.

Ecological Certification

In recent years, several of the BGL sites have entered the STRI Environmental Awards with Hoebridge, Redbourn and Aldwickbury Park all receiving special commendation awards for their efforts in managing their sites in a sustainable manner. The awards recognise those who are benefiting the wildlife of their sites, whilst minimising their impacts.

Burhill Golf Club also entered the STRI Environmental Awards and were successful in winning the regional award for the South East for their work on heather re-generation on the Old Course as well as establishing a bird hide on site in close proximity to a large lake on the New Course at Burhill Golf Club. All BGL Golf sites have undergone successfully, the GEO environmental accreditation programme.

This environmental policy compliments many of the criteria discussed in the GEO certification process. Such has been the success and the drive of BGL towards operating their sites in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way, in 2014 BGL became the first multi-site operator in the entire world to have all of their venues accredited with the Golf Environment Organisation. BGL are incredibly proud of this accolade but we understand that we must now look to how we can adapt and develop our own very high environmental standards in subsequent years to
remain at the forefront of the golfing industry for our environmental efforts.

Water Policy

To monitor water use on an ongoing basis and to implement measures to reduce future water use.

To proactively ensure the self-sufficiency of our golf courses for water usagethrough the construction of irrigation lakes, installation of boreholes or similar.

To compare annual water use between BGL golf facilities, to encourage water reduction and to share best practice.

Irrigation will only be applied to replace evapotranspiration to keep the turfgrasses
alive and healthy. Decisions will not be made based upon the colour of the grass.

To ensure all washdown facilities satisfy current and likely future legislation and prevent any pollution events, no matter how small.

Responsible washdown facilities

All BGL Golf sites, excluding The Shropshire benefit from closed loop recycling units whereby the water used for cleaning machinery is recycled and the petro-chemicals and grass clippings are filtered from the water. The washdown water is recycled every time it is used and therefore does not enter water bodies and risk polluting the surrounding areas with compounds that take a considerable time to break down into inert substances.

Waste & Energy Policy

To carry out a waste audit of all golf courses maintenance areas and clubhouse buildings.

To invest in, and implement, current best practice for energy reduction at all sites including use of most efficient technologies.

To implement recycling of at least one waste stream at each golf club and to gradually increase the amount and type of waste recycling over time.

Where possible, to collect grass clippings and other organic waste within a central composting facility and to re-use compost on the golf course and in the clubhouse gardens.

To re-use products of our operations such as soil for construction uses, thus reducing the
need to bring in external soil and reduce haulage costs and non-renewables consumption.

To install energy efficient lighting and heating systems within the clubhouses and where possible further efficiencies through motion sensors and timers to minimize our energy consumption of non-renewables.

Wide-ranging recycling

All BGL sites recycle as much of their waste as possible. This has been highlighted by a recent waste disposal audit of each site and a change in the composition of the waste bins that are provided so that less goes to landfill and more is recycled. Future projects in this area will entail the introduction and development of food waste recycling through either licenced pick up or on site composting of the food waste.

Electric Travel

In recent years, BGL has invested in hybrid technology through the purchase of greens mowers that have reduced petrol consumption by 50%. As the hybrid technology improves within the Greenkeeping industry, BGL will evaluate and invest in other machinery where efficiencies can be identified as well as opportunities to improve the standards of our golf courses. All golf buggies within the Burhill Golf and Leisure group are powered by electricity. Whilst using electric buggies still ultimately requires fossil fuels it is a much more efficient way of powering the fleet and also reduces noise and local air
emissions. Likewise, many of the utility vehicles used by the Greenkeeping departments have been transferred from petrol and diesel power to electric to reduce the impact upon the environment.

Energy efficient buildings

All BGL sites have benefited in recent years from proactive investment in energy efficient lighting and the installation of motion sensors in non-core areas of the clubhouses.Recent projects such as the £750,000 clubhouse extension at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club has entailed upgrading of the insulation within the clubhouse as well as the installation of energy efficient boilers and air cooling systems to provide a
modern facility with minimal impact upon the environment.

This ongoing investment will continue throughout the BGL Group and more energy efficient appliances, boilers and cooling systems will be installed during these refurbishments.In 2015, an audit was conducted into the services within each clubhouse and a report drawn up of when items such as boilers and air
conditioning units require replacement so BGL could plan proactively for the coming years.

Pollution Control Policy

To use Integrated pest management and cultural techniques to prevent and treat
turfgrass diseases and to use chemical treatment only as a last resort.

To apply fertiliser only where required and as dictated by regular soil
testing and other quantitative techniques.

To limit chemical pest control to within ‘in-play’ areas.

To establish consistent ‘no spray’ buffer zones around all water features on all Burhill Group golf courses, in accordance with LERAP (Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticides) guidance.

To store chemicals, diesel and oils safely and according to legislation.

To safely dispose of harmful waste through an approved contractor.

Integrated Turf Management

All golf facilities within the Burhill Group employ cultural techniques to reduce disease incidence within the turf and thus chemical use. This includes ‘switching’ to remove early morning dew and aeration, and top dressing to remove thatch which can encourage disease. Burhill will further encourage their staff to employ the principles of integrated plant management, a system that places an emphasis on preventing, rather than controlling, pests and disease. Integrated Turf Management involves:

• Regular monitoring and record keeping to identify pest and diseases quickly and accurately;
• Analysis of the local environmental conditions causing the disease or pest outbreak
(low nutrient status, a build up of thatch, shading of the turf, lack of air movement, etc.);
• Agreeing upon ‘damage thresholds levels’ (e.g. percentage cover of a tee or green) below which
level the pest will be tolerated;
• Investigating means of altering local environmental conditions to prevent or discourage the pest or disease in future, e.g. favouring turfgrass varieties with high disease resistance, improving aeration to help breakdown thatch or tree thinning to improve light and airflow.

Secure chemical storage

The Burhill Group promotes the responsible use of chemicals by their staff both for their personal safety and to help protect the environment. All chemicals are stored in a locked chemical safe, which is bunded with a capacity to retain 110% of the volume of its contents in the event of a leak. All the contents of the chemsafe are recorded and when chemicals are used on they are applied by qualified sprayers, with cognisance of weather conditions, and in accordance with all precautions contained on the product label. All dates of product use are recorded, as well as application rates, the volume of product used and the area of the course that was treated. Similarly, all diesel, petrol and oil is stored either in double skinned bunded tanks or atop bunded storage trays All old chemical containers, oil cans, oil filters, used tyres and redundant batteries are collected by an approved waste contractor for recycling or safe disposal.

Community Policy

To encourage the instigation of apprenticeships throughout our businesses.

To encourage the local community to utilise the golf course where possible, particularly
through public rights of way and organised ecology tours.

To encourage local employment, both seasonal and permanent, in our venues.

To, where possible, source local products for use in the clubhouse and on the golf course, thus giving rise to both social and environmental benefits.

To engage with local communities regarding potential fundraising opportunities for relevant charities.

To promote the socio-economic and physical benefits of playing golf for all of our customers, focusing particularly on the next generation of golfers.

To develop and promote our venues as the leading centres within our local areas for young people to learn golf and to encourage their development within our venues.

Skilled staff

All staff are encouraged to obtain professional qualifications and provisions are made to allow time away from work to accomplish this. For example all staff that spray chemicals must first have attained certification under NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council) Pesticide Application modules PA1, PA2 and PA6. Staff are also encouraged to obtain National Vocational Qualifications with many Greenkeepers within the BGL group currently studying for NVQ Level 2 or 3.

Local access

The Burhill Group are very proud of their golf academies and aim to encourage young golfers and develop local golfing talent. In addition to this the local community are encouraged to use any public rights of way on the golf courses. For example, Birchwood Park Golf & Country Club has three public footpaths and a bridleway which are regularly used by local walkers. The Burhill Group aim to promote public access on golf courses through organised ecological tours led by greenstaff and local wildlife groups.

Community engagement

Managers of BGL venues are keen to liaise with local community leaders to identify opportunities for active engagement. Fundraising events to support local charities and community groups will be held. The golf courses are accessible to the local public and are a part of the fabric of their surrounding neighbourhoods.