Dundonald Links wins eco award28th January, 2014 by Alistair Dunsmuir
Dundonald Links in Scotland has been named ‘Environmental Golf Course of the Year’ at the 2014 Golf Environment Awards.
The STRI award is seen as the number one environmental accolade in golf, and comes to Dundonald Links after it has carried out environmental best practice since it opened in 2003.
The club was singled out for praise by The R&A after it became the first links golf club in the UK to send no waste to landfill in 2007, while it has achieved Scottish Golf Environment Group waste management, turf management and education and awareness certificates.
The club also used inert soil to construct a sandbank for nesting migrant sand martin birds, all staff recycle card, paper, plastics, scrap metal, food, timber and green waste, beehives have been introduced onto adjacent land and the club only uses fairtrade and locally sourced produce on its menus.
It even has a five-year rolling environmental management plan that is incorporated into staff contracts, and wildlife boards have been placed at six of its tees to provide golfers with an insight to the wealth of biodiversity present on the course.
The club also recently won the Ayrshire Business Award for best environmental practice.
Club spokesman Frank Clarkson said: “Dundonald Links is delighted to be the recipient of the prestigious Golf Environment Awards Course of the Year 2014. We are honoured and humbled to sit amongst some of the country’s finest examples of golf clubs who embrace best practice.
“The one thing which repeatedly echoed throughout the awards ceremony was the enthusiasm for sustainable golf, deriving from not only passion for land management, but also a good understanding of social responsibility and economics. By embracing all of these factors, golf club employees are effective contributors to the business of golf.”
A representative from the club will receive a trip to Europe and the chance to visit some of the world’s leading golf facilities and sites of specific ecological interest.
Richard Owens, from Boston West Golf Club in Lincolnshire was named Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year and Fairhaven Golf Club in Lancashire won Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year.
Richard Owens of Boston West Golf Club said: “I was thrilled to be nominated for the award, but to wake up the following morning as the UK’s Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year is certainly the highlight of my career so far. To say I’m proud is an understatement! It is clear to see that our natural world is thriving alongside the day to day activities of a golf club.”
James Hutchinson of Fairhaven Golf Club commented: “I was honoured to collect the Outstanding Environmental Project award on behalf of Fairhaven Golf Club and the greenkeeping team. The format was excellent and I thank STRI and the sponsors for what was a truly great event.”
Bob Taylor, STRI’s ecology and environment manager, said: “The standard this year was higher than ever and it is abundantly clear that, amongst the clubs we visited, environmental considerations are a top priority. Eco issues are certainly a key issue for club managers as they directly influence the quality and overall playing experience of the facility.
“It is encouraging to see just how many golf clubs are ensuring that ecology and wildlife management is now an integral part of the day to day maintenance being carried out on UK courses. This year’s winners have all displayed an unrivalled level of commitment and energy in delivering first class courses whilst successfully enhancing their own local environment at the same time.”
The awards are sponsored by Greenkeeping magazine, Syngenta, County Turf, Ransomes Jacobsen, Farmura, Golf Monthly, Operation Pollinator, BIGGA and Greenkeeper International.