Burhill Golf & Leisure, a leading golf course owner and operator in the UK, has become the world's first multi-course owning business to enrol in the Golf Environment Organization's (GEO) OnCourse Programme.
The OnCourse Programme will provide Burhill with a streamlined, practical on-line sustainability programme to help it save money, exceed member and customer expectations, set their courses apart and help protect the planet.
Colin Mayes, Burhill Golf & Leisure Chief Executive, announced the group's commitment at the European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) annual gathering of golf business leaders, in Marbella, Spain on December 2.
Speaking during the conference's sustainability session, he said: "In recent years we have made a conscious effort to bring environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility into the heart of our business model. There is no doubt that sustainability is part and parcel of sound business management.
"We recognise that GEO's excellent OnCourse programme will help our strategic and operational staff collaborate to build on actions and achievements to date and extend into new aspects of resource efficiency, community engagement and ecological enhancement. We look forward to seeing all of our facilities become GEO Certified in the months ahead."
Burhill has already made significant changes to its operations through a group-wide Environmental Plan implemented in 2009, designed to enrich the environments of its courses and promote sound, sustainable management of its facilities.
Highlights of environmental work completed at Burhill venues include:
. Reservoir construction at Aldwickbury Park Golf Club, Hertfordshire and Hoebridge, making both facilities entirely water self-sufficient
. The implementation of Integrated Turf Management (ITM) systems across the group - using all possible proactive management strategies - cultural, biological and chemical - to minimise the effects of pests, weeds and disease in the most efficient and responsible way
. Heather regeneration at Burhill Golf Club, more than quadrupled heather growth around the classic Surrey course
. A newt habitat and conservation area at Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Milton Keynes, creating a welcome home to various forms of newt and toads, as well as increasing natural birdlife
. The planting 7,000 saplings at Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Nottingham, creating a natural habitat for wildlife and boosting woodland around the course.
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO, added: "Burhill's leadership - based on a public commitment towards credible and comprehensive sustainability - is a fantastic boost, to both the group, to GEO and to golf in general.
"In a time of rising energy and resource costs, the ever increasing consumer expectation and competition in the marketplace, Burhill will not only benefit from efficiency but also add value to its products and profile by embracing ethical and environmental issues."
Jonathan Smith, continued: "This is another milestone for GEO and a great endorsement for a programme that has been carefully designed to work effectively for management groups and multiple course owners and individual clubs."
Each Burhill Golf & Leisure site will now work through the on-line OnCourse programme to meet the GEO Certified ecolabel criteria. An accredited GEOSA verifier will visit all of the sites upon their application, evaluating performance, making recommendations to GEO and will leave each site with a continual improvement plan for the following three years.
For further information on GEO visit www.golfenvironment.org. For more details on Burhill Golf & Leisure visit www.burhillgolfandleisure.co.uk.