The Golf Environment Awards (GEAs) have been a part of the golf industry for twenty-three years, but how much do you really know about the awards and are you fully aware of the benefits of applying? STRI environment consultant, Nicole Beckett, explains it all.

 

Tir Gwyllt, or 'wild land' at Abergele Golf Club, Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year 2018
Tir Gwyllt, or ‘wild land’ at Abergele Golf Club, Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year 2018

 

Environmental excellence on the golf course

Golf is enjoyed by millions across the globe, and there are now more than 30,000 golf courses worldwide, each having an increasingly important part to play within their local environment.

 

With the ever-increasing spotlight on environmental matters, it is fundamentally important for golf courses worldwide to assess what they can do to achieve environmental sustainability while continuing to maximise the enjoyment of golf.

 

The Golf Environment Awards provide the platform from which the golf industry can demonstrate environmental excellence in all its forms. Set up in 1995, the GEAs recognise and reward clubs for their outstanding conservation efforts.

 

Habitat 'Hotel' at Prestbury Golf Club
Habitat ‘Hotel’ at Prestbury Golf Club

 

Award categories

  1. Environmental Golf Course of the Year
  2. Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year
  3. Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year
  4. Operation Pollinator

Read more about the Award categories here

 

Leading the charge

Golf courses around the world are achieving tangible results by implementing environmentally sustainable management projects across their courses. Examples include turning out-of-play spaces into refuges for important pollinators, working to reintroduce threatened species such as the small blue and working alongside local ecology and environment groups to improve the club’s knowledge on how to manage the species on site.

 

Schoolchildren helping with Operation Pollinator at Kingsdown Golf Club
Schoolchildren helping with Operation Pollinator at Kingsdown Golf Club

 

The GEAs also work as an incentive to get members chatting about ecology on the golf course. These projects are achieving an increase in habitat varieties, improving playing experiences for golfers and providing a positive contribution to wildlife.

 

Focus on best practice

It seems to me, however, that one thing which a lot of clubs get caught up on is believing that these awards are exclusively about ecology. In the past, the awards may have been more catered towards this theme, however these are the golf ENVIRONMENT awards, meaning that there is a huge umbrella of projects which fall into its category which are not all entirely ecology based.

 

Solar panels
Solar panels

 

It is also important to look wider, maybe at your energy consumption and generation. Here’s some environmental initiatives you might have overlooked:

 

  • Have you used a government incentive to diversify your energy sources to include renewable forms, such as solar panels or biomass boilers?
  • Have you invested in hybrid and and electric mowers and tractors for the course?
  • Do you do any rainwater harvesting or have your waste water system on a closed loop to recycle the water you consume?
  • Are you a Zero Waste facility, utilising compostable coffee cups and paper bags?
  • Have you invested in a water efficient irrigation system with adjustable heads that can be controlled individually to in-play areas only?

 

Electric buggies
Electric buggies

 

If any of these apply to you – you too should be applying for the GEAs 2019. These are all excellent examples of initiatives which will achieve real sustainable improvements to your club.

 

How to Enter

  • You will receive CPD points just for entering, which you can do online, or request a form by emailing info@golfenvironmentawards.com.
  • Golf clubs can enter more than one category
  • When completing the form, provide as much detail as possible and include as much supplementary information as you can (ie photographs and other relevant documentation).
  • The deadline for entries is Friday 27th July 2018

 

Don’t be put off applying if your club currently has no affiliation with STRI, this is not required. Entry is easy, completely free and open to all golf clubs and courses across the UK, big or small, so get applying today – we’d love to hear from you.

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Don’t forget to read our Top Tips on entering the Awards, but if you have any questions about any aspect of the Golf Environment Awards, or how your course can benefit from environmental practices, then please contact me via Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.