Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, eleven-times host to The Open (the last in 2012) has recently been awarded golf’s ecolabel, GEO Certified®, in recognition of its sustainable performance. GEO Certified® recognises golf facilities which demonstrate environmental stewardship, resource efficiency and community value. The certification is administered and assured by GEO (Golf Environment Organization), the not-for-profit group dedicated to sustainability in the golf industry. The standard is independently verified and publicly reported, making it a credible and significant distinction. GEO is a member of the ISEAL community, which includes the world’s top sustainability standards such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and FSC.
Royal Lytham & St Annes is every bit a coastal links golf course as the other nine Open venues, even though it sits a kilometre or so from the coastline. The towns of Lytham and St Annes have, over the years, totally encircled the golf course which now sits as a links relic within the urban landscape. As such, it displays the value golf courses can have in preserving landscapes, their associated habitats and wildlife.
Some of the highlights from the GEO Certified® on-site verification report include:
- the provision of irrigation water sourced by abstraction licence which runs from 2013 to 2028 for 27,000 m3 a year. Only 15,000 m3 was used on the golf course in both 2013 and 2014, with a mere 8,000 m3 used during their Open year of 2012 – the consequence of a miserable summer
- the monitoring of energy use and the installation of LED lighting through most areas of the Clubhouse, with motion sensors as and where appropriate
- energy and waste issues are included on the agenda of each monthly house committee meeting. The Club has also engaged energy consultant INENCO to carry out an energy audit to identify opportunities where further efficiencies can be made
- the Club has engaged Sodexo to manage all waste streams. The Sodexo team working at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club has recently been recognised through certification (Better Tomorrow Plan) for their outstanding commitment to waste management. Food waste, cardboard, paper and plastics are collected and reused, recycled and/or burnt to produce bio fuels through a registered waste contractor
- the Club sources all food products locally and are considering setting up herb gardens, etc. within the grounds around the Clubhouse
- Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club attracts significant revenue to the area during major golf events.
Bob Taylor, the verifier appointed to Royal Lytham & St Annes, concluded that sustainable working is a key part of the golf club’s mantra and is an area that will continue to be developed. His report is available here.
The presentation of golf’s international sustainability distinction, GEO Certified®, coincided with Royal Lytham’s recent hosting of the 2015 Walker Cup.
Kelli Jerome, Managing Director of GEO presented Gerry Coyle, Chairman of Greens at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, with the Club’s GEO Certified® certificate and flag. Ms Jerome said: “We are delighted to present Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club with this notable distinction. The club have shown a clear and strong commitment to enhance the three pillars of sustainable golf: nature, resources and people, across their club and course operations, including a forward plan for continual improvement. The facility has been a careful steward since its creation and thus an obvious leader to step forward for this certification as part of the ethos of the club and The R&A’s commitment for all of the links courses that host The Open”
Mr Coyle said, “We are extremely pleased to achieve GEO certification and it reflects the hard work that many people at the club put into managing the course and the clubhouse operations sustainably. It has been a valuable exercise to go through and has helped us focus on the ways in which we can improve our day to day operations. Sustainability is a priority for us and we are very proud to have successfully achieved this international standard for sustainability assurance.”