Case Studies

German club achieves environmental gold

Golf Club Hubbelrath is one of 43 clubs to receive the Gold level ‘Golf & Natur’ award.

8th July 2013
Golf and your community,Working with nature
The banks of the brook running alongside the 7th hole on the East Course is home to many Red Listed plants  
The Hassel Brook

Water bodies and natural creeks support small fish, amphibians and dragonflies

It is, however, the only club to receive the special prize, “Auf die Plätz fertig Vielfalt” (ready, set, diversity) in recognition of its 45 years of continuous promotion of golf with nature and species protection.

Golf Club Hubbelrath is a private members club in Düsseldorf, in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  It has approximately 2,000 members and is one of the largest clubs in Germany.  The site is comprised of two 18-hole golf courses in a parkland setting in the mountainous terrain of the Bergisches Land.

Barn owl nesting box
Barn owl nesting box in the orchard of native apple trees

The club maintains a traditional philosophy and is highly supportive of both junior and competitive golf.  Hubbelrath has hosted many national and international tournaments over the years, including The German Open, The National Amateur Championship and The German Golf Teachers Cup.

Hubbelrath is primarily characterised, however, by its devotion to nature conservation and landscape management.

The courses support an abundance of different wildlife habitats, with points of particular interest including:

  • approximately 30 Red List species
  • 60 species of breeding birds
  • 3 hectares of land reserved as a wildflower meadow, which is only mown twice a year
  • a nesting and breeding ground for the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) for the last 15 years
  • abundant species of butterfly with population data continuously updated through a community climate biomonitoring programme
  • water bodies and natural creeks support small fish, amphibians and dragonflies
  • various species of owls and bats
  • orchards of rare fruit trees and “heirloom” orchards which are highly protected in Germany and are the focus of considerable conservation attention.  The club is a member of the German Pomological Association
  • comprehensive surveys of flora and fauna have been conducted.
Bee hives in meadow
Bee hives sit in the meadow betwen holes 5 and 6 on the East Course

A quarterly publication, “Golf Wildlife”, is produced by the club and distributed to its members to inform them of the latest environmental work being carried out on the golf courses.

The ‘Golf&Natur’ programme has proven to be a very successful means of encouraging good environmental management at German golf clubs, through a formal accreditation process.  The involvement and participation of external regulators has added considerable credibility to the programme, while also ensuring that it is administered professionally, in accordance with agreed criteria.  This has greatly raised the profile of pioneering clubs, such as Hubbelrath, which are committed to protecting and enhancing the value of their natural environment while simultaneously managing the land for golf.  Significant benefits have been gained from participation in the programme, such as identifying more efficient means of management and the excellent public relations that come with achieving the Gold Award.