Burhill Golf and Leisure Limited, the leading owner and operator golf courses in the UK, has introduced an environment policy designed to enrich the environments of its 10 courses and promote sound, sustainable management of its facilities.
The policy, which demonstrates a high degree of environmental awareness and quality, covers all aspects of on and off-course operations and sets out clear guidelines on the management of water, habitat and waste, as well as introducing an action plan to reduce the group's energy consumption by 15% within six months.
Burhill Golf & Leisure Development Manager Hugh Knowles said: "There is a common perception that golf is bad for the environment, but this is simply not the case. With responsible management, golf can positively enrich environments and that is something we have always aimed to achieve across our golf courses.
"The environment policy effectively formalises many of the sound practices we were already carrying out, as well as introducing some new elements, and, importantly, gives clear guidance to all our staff on the best way of managing our golf facilities in a responsible, sustainable way. The policy will also enable us to directly protect the environment through instigation of our Integrated Pest management policies (IPM)."
Among the initiatives already underway at the group's three golf clubs and seven pay-and-play golf centres are a heather restoration project at Burhill Golf Club; ornithological surveys and the addition of bird boxes at Abbey Hill Golf Centre, Milton Keynes; a new reservoir at Hoebridge Golf Centre, Surrey; waste water recycling for machinery wash down at Burhill Golf Club, Wycombe Heights Golf Centre and Abbey Hill Golf Centre; plus integrated supplier plans to reduce packaging and haulage.
An immediate energy reduction plan was put in place at the beginning of 2009 with energy audits being carried out at all 10 facilities, resulting in boiler efficiency improvements, new insulation of heating systems and roof spaces, overnight charging of electric buggies, complete re-lamping of internal and external lighting with energy efficient bulbs, plus the introduction of 'motion detector' light switches.
"Ultimately, these are actions which are not just good for the environment, they are good for business, too," added Hugh Knowles. "Combining them into a policy which our staff and customers can see and appreciate has been worthwhile and, I believe, will result in the sustainable management of our golf courses and facilities for years to come."
Pictured: Hugh Knowles (left) and Rob Surgey, Senior Course Manager at Burhill Golf Club, Surrey, surveying the successful heather regeneration project at Burhill, part of the group's environment policy and action plan.