Coventry Golf Club awarded ‘eco label’2nd July, 2012 by Emma Williams
Coventry Golf Club has become the first established golf club in England to be awarded the international GEO Certified™ ecolabel.
Several clubs around the world, including St Andrews Links and Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland, have been awarded the certification following outstanding environmental work, while dozens of clubs in England hope to win the accolade in the near future. Prior to Coventry’s achievement, only a three-hole English venue had been certified.
The Midlands club, which had previously won an England Golf ‘Environmental Award’, has been recognised due to its sustainability efforts across its parkland course and clubhouse, and because it has reached out into the surrounding community.
The club has, among a raft of measures, conserved its use of water and energy, installed over 40 nest boxes for birds, provided hibernation areas featuring hollow trees and even created an otter holt.
Matt Johns, from environmental consultancy Johns Associates, which enabled the accreditation, said: “What was particularly impressive was the range of environmental aspects covered by the club’s activities. From use of treated effluent for irrigation, to working with the local river’s geomorphology, to renewables, waste management.
“A great deal of passion, focus, and pride was evident and they have demonstrated commitment, innovation and real-world results.”
The club, which celebrated its 125th anniversary this year, has, as its course manager, Phil Weaver, one of the most powerful people in golf. Phil is a director of Ryder Cup Limited and chairman of the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA). He is also the head PGA professional at Coventry and advises the club’s management committee.
“I am delighted that Coventry earned this accolade,” he said. “We are a typical club that has been proudly serving our community for 125 years, always striving to be a benefit to local people and the local environment.
“We recognise the pressures on the environment at large and understand that golf clubs have an important responsibility to take their stewardship of the land seriously.
“In the last few years we have become much more aware and active, making sustainability a consideration in every decision we make.”
Weaver’s colleague, Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, commended the results: “I am absolutely delighted to congratulate Coventry Golf Club on this recognition from the GEO. I know Phil Weaver, our PGA chairman, is passionate about the subject of the environment and has been very much involved at the forefront of the Coventry project team who achieved this recognition,” he said.
“I would hope that perhaps this becomes an inspiration for many of our golf clubs and also our club professionals who could be at the heart of such an activity.”
Jonathan Smith, GEO chief executive added: “Community and volunteer involvement is an important aspect of sustainability in golf, and can also help multiply a club’s efforts outward.
“Coventry Golf Club does a lot to raise awareness among members, staff, suppliers, peers and the wider community, from the notice board to the website to training to press.
“Other involvement includes annual community charity tournaments, joint projects with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and a close link with English Heritage who manage the 13th and 14th century ruins on the club’s property.
“Coventry is a great example as a social and environmental asset, now confidently and credibly connecting sustainability with younger and older generations alike.”
Paul Keeling, club services manager at England Golf, added:
“We are proud to promote the commitment and achievements of Coventry Golf Club in front of all our member clubs and our various government and sporting partners, and as part of our leadership work on the new British Association for Sustainability in Sport. We look forward to working more closely with GEO to encourage other clubs to follow this lead.”