PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD FOR PYECOMBE GOLF CLUB
The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is the world’s leading sports turf consultancy for design, research and management of natural and artificial sports surfaces offering effective solutions and independent advice to sports clubs and recreational facilities across the globe for sports such as Football, Cricket, Equestrian, Rugby, Tennis and Golf.
With the ever-increasing spotlight on environmental matters, it is important for all golf courses to assess what they can do to protect and enhance the environment and continue to maximise the enjoyment of golf. The aim of the awards is to recognise, reward and promote individuals and golf courses, no matter how big or small, for the time and focus they have put into environmentally sustainable management projects.
The prestigious awards recognise Ecological and Environmental best practise on golf courses and are split into three categories – Environmental Golf Club of the Year, Conservation Greenkeeper of the Year and Outstanding Environmental Project of the Year. Previous award winners include Royal Birkdale, Royal St David’s, Hankley Common, Loch Lomond, Dundonald Links and Carnoustie to name but a few.
The most prestigious award of the evening, the Environmental Golf Club of the Year, was awarded to Pyecombe Golf Club. This particular award recognises those Clubs that can demonstrate efficient management across each of the following four areas:-
Bob Taylor, STRI’s Senior Consultant – Ecology & Environment, commented “The Golf Environment Awards provide an important platform in which we can demonstrate the excellent work of individual golf clubs and the commitment of the industry as a whole in the protection and conservation of our depleting countryside. Golf is one of the few sports that is able to contribute both constructively and profitably to global sustainability.”
The awards are sponsored by Farmura, BIGGA, Greenkeeping, Operation Pollinator, Ransomes Jacobsen, Syngenta, Tillers Turf, Golf Monthly magazine and Wiedenmann, as well as being supported by STRI official Golf Ambassador Justin Rose.
Pyecombe Golf Club is situated within the South Downs National Park (SDNP) 5 miles north of Brighton, rolling over undulating chalk hills. The South Downs Way meanders through the course allowing visitors panoramic views of the surrounding area. The course is managed by Simon Wells, Head Greenkeeper and his team in line with the Clubs environmental policy that supports the ecology of the course.
The Club has many initiatives in place to aid the surrounding environment. Compost teas are used in place of fungicides wherever possible, which provides a sprayable liquid that allows for good bacteria to counteract the negative bacteria and prevent disease helping encourage consistent healthy growth in addition to the utilisation of organic fertilisers which aids long-term sustainability. The extensive rough areas are graded from semi, to long, to ecology and are cut and bailed by a farmer once a year with further scarification helping the establishment of wild flowers and orchids including early purple, pyramidal, common spotted and bee orchid. The wildflower meadows created are excellent for pollinating insects including bees and the club has 12 beehives on the course providing a constant supply of Pyecombe Honey.
A Woodland management program allows the creation of clearings, plus regeneration of gorse on the course with timber being used for the clubhouse log burner. Bird boxes including those for swifts, tawny owls and barn owls, are prevalent creating habitats for birds within a largely agricultural area. Members, staff and volunteers from the South Downs National Park help with many on course initiatives.
The Club have also installed a Ground Source Heat Pump, which reduces the heating bills by over 40%, as well as Solar panels that both help lower carbon emissions. To date over 82,000kg of CO2 savings have been achieved in a few short years. Water usage is also kept to a minimum with the help of a bore hole supplying water to the course whilst utilising an intelligent weather station that allows irrigation to be tailored each day. Elsewhere within the Clubhouse, LED lighting is increasingly used, a grease fat trap is in operation and recycling is par for the course.
Overall, a myriad of initiatives are in place to help Pyecombe Golf Club become more environmentally friendly with support from both staff and members alike, which provides a range of habitats for the surrounding wildlife whilst reducing our carbon footprint. Ecology shines through in all programs – Pyecombe is not just a golf course, but a nature reserve too, managed to the highest of standards within tight budgets and long may it continue.
Visit Pyecombe Golf Club at www.pyecombegolfclub.com. Membership is available and visitors are welcome.