Ransomes Jacobsen's three-hole golf course, The RJ National, located at their European headquarters on the outskirts of Ipswich, has been re-certified by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO). With this latest accolade, the RJ National becomes the first golf course in the UK to be awarded GEO Certified® status for commitment to sustainable development for a third time.
In his report, Keith Duff, the independent verifier who carried out the course's re-certification audit said,
"This three-hole golf course and adjoining noise testing area was built in 2008 on industrial wasteland adjacent to the Ransomes Jacobson international headquarters and manufacturing facility in Ipswich. It was designed for multiple uses - as a golf course, as a demonstration area for golf course maintenance machinery, and as a noise testing facility for machinery. The aim was to produce a sustainably managed golf course, using turf grasses (mainly bents and fescues) managed appropriately with low inputs of water, fertiliser and pesticide. This has been achieved.
"There is a strong link with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, who provide ecological advice. All water abstraction and discharge, and energy use and waste management, is undertaken as part of the whole site environmental management plan operated by Ransomes under ISO 14001. There is a strong link with the nearby Waldringfield Golf Club, whose Course Manager provides consultative support through a weekly visit in the summer. During the winter months, the retired Course Manager from Woodbridge Golf Club provides monthly advice. Support is also provided, on an as needed basis, from Ipswich Golf Club greens staff.
"There is clear evidence of steady continual improvement of all aspects of the facilities environmental performance over the 9 years since initial certification of the site, and especially with regard to ecosystems, energy and resources, environmental quality, and people and communities. The level of commitment shown by the company, and their staff, is exemplary."
The unique three-hole golf course was the brainchild of David Withers, then managing director at Ransomes Jacobsen and now president of parent company, Jacobsen.
"With the support of some our industry partners, our parent company Textron, and a tremendous team effort by everyone at Ipswich, especially our current greenkeeper James Gotts, the RJ National has become a great success on many levels," he said. "The course is a great asset for testing machinery, showcasing the products we manufacture and is a facility to demonstrate our environmental leadership to distributors and customers. Hopefully our example serves as an inspiration - showing that creating and maintaining a sustainable golf course can be good for golf and good for business."