A Sustainable Golf Program: Golf & Natur
Improved quality, better play, greater future
Golfclub München Eichenried, home of the BMW International Open in 2011, showcased some interesting sustainable initiatives. Last year, the golf course achieved silver certification in the German 'Golf & Natur' program. Golf courses are increasingly working on environmental issues such as water management and biodiversity. The largest golf event in Germany started to become more aware of its environmental impact and the golf course is now one of the 100 golf courses in Germany that are participating in the 'Golf & Natur' initiative.
The program is an initiative of the German Golf Association in collaboration with the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the German Greenkeepers Association (GVD) and the German Golf Managering Association (GMVD). Furthermore, the 'Golf und Natur' program is scientifically supported by the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim and and a non-material support by the R&A ("Working for Golf").
Practical guidance to a sustainable golf course
'Golf & Natur' was put into practice to support golf courses in implementing a sound plan for environmental management. The program is helping golf establishments to think more about the operational practices and to become more efficient, while improving playing conditions. The program consists of the following five steps that golf courses need to take in order to receive a bronze, silver or gold certification:
1. Declaration of Intent/Registration
2. Evaluation of current situation
3. Development plan
After registration into the program, a 'Golf & Natur' team is appointed to develop and implement the program. First, the current situation is evaluated, focusing on four themes: nature and landscape, maintenance and play operations, environmental management and PR and working environment. The evaluation takes sustainability topics such as water- and waste management, biodiversity, turfgrass treatment and education of employees into account. Following to the analysis of the current situation, a development plan with clear objectives is formulated. After successful implementation of the development plan, the golf course is awarded with a certificate which is valid for two years.
Benefits of a sustainable golf course
The 'Golf & Natur' program raises more awareness for sustainability efforts. The program proves that sustainable implementations are not necessarily more expensive but can even decrease costs. Thus, participating in the process is beneficial at various levels for golf courses. Some of these benefits are: improved play and nature experience, protection and responsibility for nature and the environment, competitive advantage, cost savings, recognition in the community, education of employees and a better reputation.