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Royal Liverpool becomes latest Open venue to achieve sustainability accolade

Hoylake attains GEO Certified®

Rory McIlroy plays his approach shot into the 18th green on the final day on his way to winning the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.  
The Royal Liverpool Golf Club has achieved golf’s ecolabel, GEO Certified®, in recognition of their commitment to sustainability.  The certification is administered and assured by the Golf Environment Organization (GEO), 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.

Royal Liverpool, or Hoylake as it is usually known, is the second-oldest seaside links golf course in England and it has hosted The Open on 12 occasions.

In his verifiers report on the GEO website, Dino Minoli, commends Royal Liverpool in saying, “It is without doubt a top quality and highly regarded classic links golf course, with superb playability, set within a beautiful natural environment. The Royal Liverpool Golf Club demonstrates forward thinking and intelligent practices on the sustainable use of resources.  Looking ahead the Club is eager to further improve on sustainability policies such as green procurement, waste management, green marketing and communication.”

Greenkeeping at Hoylake aims to present traditional links values; firm, fast and running conditions for golf
Highlights of the report, which demonstrate Royal Liverpool’s commitment, include:
  • a Sustainability Working Group for progressing more responsible, sustainable golf, which includes the Club Secretary, Simon Newland, Links Manager, Craig Gilholm, technical specialists such as STRI and several government, non-governmental and local environmental organisations
  • a progressive, smarter approach on energy use in the clubhouse, with an above average energy performance rating
  • well-judged practices on the use of resources on the golf course, such as relatively low inputs of water and a preference for organic fertilisers
  • up-to-date, ‘Ecological Management Plans’ and ‘Policy for the Management of the Links’ to progress environmental protection and conservation on the golf course
  • an emphasis on natural walkways that supports a more environmentally friendly and natural feeling golf course
  • evidence that sustainability issues are being incorporated in day-to-day management decision-making and practices on the golf course and in the clubhouse.

In addition, the golf course lies adjacent to the Red Rocks Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), where colonies of the natterjack toad, a European protected species, are found.  The presence of the course has protected this part of the coastline, and its precious wildlife, from the urbanisation that has encroached around the boundary of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

Hoylake aerial
The Hoylake course preserves precious coastal habitat and the wildlife it supports

On hearing news of their achievement, Simon Newland said, “At Royal Liverpool we believe we have a responsibility to the environment and to our members to deliver a great golf experience, but one based on a sustainable footing.  Receiving the GEO certification acknowledges current practices, but also shows where we can build on our efforts to date.”

Craig Gilholm added, “To produce a quality links experience, low input management is crucial to favour the indigenous grasses and to provide firm, fast, running conditions for golf.  The course, particularly, the run of holes along the coast, sits in a wonderful natural setting and that sets the scene for everything we do on the course.”