Case Studies

Optimism and enthusiasm rewarded

Zeegersloot Golf Club embraces sustainability

Published:
17th April 2015
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Assessing progress
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Green Day at Zeegersloot. The club has put up over 100 nesting boxes to encourage more birdlife on the course.  

The economic heart of the Netherlands is formed by the western provinces of North and South Holland, with cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. The centre of that area is called the Green Heart: a space where people can enjoy recreation and nature.  Zeegersloot Golf Club is situated right in its centre. Located near the town of Alphen aan den Rijn, with nearly a thousand members and a 27-hole course, the club successfully combines these core elements of ‘recreation’ and ‘nature’.

This spring, the Zeegersloot name was added to the already lengthy list of GEO Certified® Dutch Golf Clubs. And the Committee could not let this fact go uncelebrated.

Zeegersloot

Zeegersloot was added to the already lengthy list of GEO Certified® Dutch Golf Clubs. The club is deservedly proud of its green status.

The club is deservedly proud of its green status. And that is understandable, certainly if you know the history of Zeegersloot, a club which was founded in the mid-1980s. For example, part of the course is laid out on a former refuse tip, and yet there is hardly anything that points to that now thirty years later. Only the slightly undulating character of a number of holes is a reminder of the former situation. Zeegersloot is a fine example of how, with a policy based on the GEO certification requirements, a golf course can become greener than green, so to speak.

Patience is not a virtue that could be applied to the Committee and the members of Zeegersloot Golf Club. They are proactive, with Chairman Cees van Beurten and project leader Hans van Weezel taking the lead in the project a few years ago. “This certification goes far beyond the environmental aspects as described in the Dutch Flora and Fauna Act,” says Van Weezel. “It also fulfils all the requirements for a sustainable management system. Moreover, the plans are set up according to the ISO 14001 standards in respect of environmental management systems, so that all activities and inspections are clearly-organised and registered. Hence the title ‘The Nature of Zeegersloot Golf Club’ given to the document.”

Chairman Van Beurten adds, “The way in which the project group started out has proved to be effective. But this is also because of the way we’ve kept our members informed of the how and why of our plans. This is how you create support.”

The fact that the members are happy with the green policy of their club was emphasised on one beautiful Saturday in the spring. Ms Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn, and Mr Willem Zelsmann, President of the Royal Dutch Golf Federation, were very happy to come to Zeegersloot for the event celebrating the presentation of GEO certification. But the event in the clubhouse wasn’t only for dignitaries. Prior to the presentation of the GEO certificate, 175 members clothed almost fully in green had been playing a match. Most of them later formed the attentive audience at the presentation, which provided the festive atmosphere that is an essential part of such a notable moment.

Autumn at Zeegersloot
The beauty of golf, reflected in the autumn colours at Zeegersloot

Also a fitting reflection of the involvement and enthusiasm of the members was the purchase of over 100 nesting boxes, which they had made possible. The first nesting-box was put up by Mayor Spies, which she did with great pleasure.

However, as Van Weezel and Van Beurten emphasised, “We are not done yet. We already have a few solar panels on the roof of the driving range, and we want to install more. It’s remarkable how the members have contributed towards the purchase of those solar panels. And now, the club’s  energy use should be drastically reduced.” Van Weezel goes on to say, “The next step is the use of organic pesticides, which are going to be compulsory for all sports facilities in the Netherlands in 2020. We mustn’t wait until the last minute with this and so Zeegersloot Golf Club will start using these products in the near future.”