On the final practice day for the 2013 KLM Open, the Netherlands Golf Federation (NGF) signed an agreement to collaborate with Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN), the Dutch national partner of BirdLife International. This engagement follows on from the instigation of the NGF’s Committed to Birds project over 12 months ago.
At the KLM Open, European Tour professional Joost Luiten was introduced as the ambassador for the birdie campaign and he then went on to win his home championship and his second European Tour event of the year. The NGF and VBN announced further collaboration for 2014:
- the publication of a guide on habitat management on golf courses to encourage more bird life
- the launch of a campaign ‘’golfers like birdies’’ to generate new members for VBN
- the NGF will provide all 250 Dutch clubs with VBN membership (to be evaluated after 2 years)
- the NGF will encourage clubs to generate new members for VBN with a tournament format based on a birdie-competition (local and national).
Golf Club Texel holds the record with 69 bird species
The NGF and VBN recently launched a website around their successful annual bird watching day which this year was held on 20 April 2013. This was the fourteenth year that Dutch golf courses have participated in this event. To date, 57 Dutch clubs have reported the results of their bird watching day. The majority recorded more than 30 different species of bird but, this year, Golf Club Texel holds the record with 69 bird species. All club results are reported on the website, as are the top 25 birds seen on the day.
Joris Slooten of the NGF’s Golf Development team commented: “We are very enthusiastic about this project and believe our engagement with VBN has enormous potential to positively influence the image of golf with the general public, enhance the golf experience for golfers, create further awareness amongst golf course managers about their responsibility to care for wildlife and, in general, to create a stimulus for the sustainable golf mission.”
The partnership between the NGF and VBN shows how golf and nature can come together for the benefit of all.
Other national golf federations should be looking to emulate the progressive approach of the NGF in engaging with a key national environmental NGO.