Birchwood Park Golf Centre, near Dartford, has joined an elite group of less than 100 European golf facilities to achieve the internationally recognised sustainability award, GEO Certified™. Birchwood Park – part of BGL Golf the UK’s leading golf course owner and operator – is also one of the first public pay-and-play facilities to have earned golf’s international ecolabel.
GEO Certified™ recognises golf businesses which demonstrate an operational commitment to the three core principles of sustainability – planet, people and profit. The international ecolabel is administered to strict codes set by ISEAL, the global leader in defining credibility in sustainability standards.
Richard Allison of GEO, said: ‘Birchwood Park Golf Centre, like all the other BGL facilities recently GEO Certified™, is an excellent example of sustainability commitment and planning for continual improvement. The club has put great effort into reducing their resource use over the years, while the attention to detail and organisation within the golf club proves that a wide range of sustainability initiatives are possible, even at the busiest of venues.”
BGL Golf operates 10 golf facilities across the UK and is the first multi-course owner and operator to have set the target for each of its venues to be GEO Certified™ - an ambition the company aims to achieve by 2015.
Colin Mayes, BGL Chief Executive, said: “GEO Certified™ is the golf industry benchmark in sustainable operations and it rewards many of the values, such as quality, community and environment, which are indoctrinated across the BGL group and are integral to the way we work.”
Prior to receiving the award, each venue demonstrated its commitment to sustainable operating procedures, serving to better both the environment and the local community, by creating a report outlining how it comprehensively fulfilled certification criteria in six action areas: Nature, Energy, Pollution Prevention, Community, Supply Chain and Water.
Recognising the significant value in the business outcomes from achieving GEO Certified™ status, BGL Golf newly appointed Assistant General Manager at Burhill Golf Club, Howard Craft, as a resource for the company’s campaign to earn the certification at each venue.
Located in an area receiving some of the lowest annual rainfall in the UK, Birchwood Park has demonstrated a special focus on sustainable water use and thanks to a £200,000 investment in a state of the art irrigation water holding reservoir, is totally self sufficient.
Howard Craft, also an Environmental Biology graduate, explained: “To achieve high quality sand-based greens, which Birchwood Park boasts, regulating irrigation is crucial and as water is an increasingly scarce resource, there is a growing importance on golf facilities to be self-sufficient.
“Consequently, a lake holding 11 million litres of water was installed, as well as a rainwater harvesting infrastructure, which takes water from the car park and clubhouse and passes it through filters before irrigating greens, tees and approaches over the Main Course as well as greens on the Short Course.”
Besides Birchwood Park, other BGL Golf facilities to have achieved GEO Certified™ include: Hoebridge Golf Centre, Woking, Redbourn Golf Club, St Albans and Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Milton Keynes.
Melanie Drake, Birchwood Park Golf Centre General Manager, said: “By operating to the standards required of GEO Certified™ we ensure we can maintain the high standards expected by our members and guests, which they have become accustomed to.”
To read more about the sustainability efforts at www.golfenvironment.org/directory/491_birchwood_park_golf_centre