Greetham Valley has won the national 2017 Environmental Golf Course of the Year award!! We were up against very strong competition from Carnoustie Golf Links, The Carrick on Loch Lomond and Whitley Bay Golf Club – all of whom are doing amazing work in the ecological and environmental fields in a wide variety of ways. Hosted by the Sports Turf Research Institute, the national Golf Environment Awards were set up 22 years ago and are sponsored by Farmura, Ransomes Jacobsen, Syngenta, Tillers Turf, Wiedenmann and BIGGA; we would like to join STRI in thanking them all for their continued and invaluable support. On collecting the main award of the evening, Greetham Valley’s Course Manager Adi Porter and GV proprietors Robert and Dee Hinch paid tribute to the entire team of staff at Greetham Valley for their support in promoting environmental best practice, and congratulated the finalists in all the awards who were at the ceremony dinner. A fabulous achievement and all bodes well for the continued environmental work undertaken by golf courses across the UK, especially with the exciting announcement that The R&A will become a lead partner of the Golf Environment Awards from 2018!
Greetham Valley spends considerable time and effort on investigating viable and sustainable ways to reduce our carbon footprint, with the long term ‘holy grail’ aim of eventually becoming carbon neutral. We aim to increase biodiversity across our 276 acres and our entire team of staff are involved in numerous ‘eco projects’ as detailed below.
- we have installed two biomass boilers which are powered by woodchip, some of which is produced on–site from our own fallen and coppiced trees. These massive and very clever boilers provide heat and hot water for our holiday Lodges, Clubhouse, restaurants, changing rooms and hotel
- we have installed a 40kwh solar panel power system – now we just need the sun to shine! Despite the weather being typically British in recent months, we have had great results from this installation
- we are continuing with the rolling out of an LED lighting programme throughout the complex, greatly decreasing electricity usage
- our self-catering Lodges were purchased from Norwegian Log, who source the timber from sustainable Norwegian forests
- our cleaning and housekeeping supplies are all eco-friendly across the complex
- in the last two years we have reduced our water usage by 75% through taking steps such as identifying waste through leakage, recycling rainwater and fitting more sustainable and efficient sanitary equipment in public areas, whilst the machinery wash-down system is an environmentally sealed recycling loop
- vegetable food waste from the kitchen is composted, along with grass cuttings and leaves from the golf courses and grounds and the wood chip ash from the boilers; this rich crumbly compost is then used across the estate
- two thirds of our rubbish produced including glass, plastic and paper is recycled, as is engine oil from the workshop, fryer oil from the kitchen and ink cartridges and paper from the offices
- since 1990 we have planted over 26,000 trees across the estate. We re-use all fallen or felled trees, by chipping the brash for pathways, splitting logs for the woodburners in the Clubhouse and holiday cottage and some chippings go into the biomass boilers
- we are taking part in Operation Pollinator – “the golf industry’s chance to save UK bees” – creating wildflower meadows and a solitary bee tower
- we have constructed a reed bed to improve the quality of discharge water
- after consultation with the Hawk and Owl Trust we have erected 4 owl and 8 kestrel boxes, 7 bat boxes and 25 bird boxes across the estate. They have all been occupied this year – not always by their intended inhabitants!!
- we have constructed 17 ponds and lakes across the estate, using environmentally friendly Bentile clay, which have attracted a diversity of flora and fauna. These ponds have been populated with fish and are very attractive to the local Rutland Water ospreys in particular
- we have established wildflower meadows on the complex, along with a wildlife-friendly drystone and log wall for hibernating and shelter, a bug hotel, a bird of prey feeding tower, bird feeders outside our newly erected bird hides and a floating bird island
- we encourage all aspects of the food chain: by providing suitable habitats for small mammals and insects, we have created good hunting grounds for predators
- our Course Manager Adi has greatly reduced chemical usage by introducing an integrated management programme for the control of pests, disease and weeds using holistic techniques
- our projects are always ongoing and evolving and this year we will install a kingfisher / sand martin wall, a wet scrape adjacent to the 16th on the Lakes, a large hybernacular for reptiles, pecking posts, more nest boxes and bee towers across the courses and we will be extending the wildflower meadow