Has Les Bordes Golf Club done everything for sustainability?

By: March 29, 2021

The new Gil Hanse-designed New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club (France) is likely to open on July 1. Before I introduce you to the new golf course, let’s talk about what are the business risks in NOT investing in climate risk reduction.

“Climate risk = investment risk”

The new paper produced by McKinsey in partnership with the World Economic Forum showed that there is no clear path to deliver climate mitigation without investing in nature.

Today serious investors take into consideration many more environmental, social, and governance factors (ESG). They want to positively impact society or the environment. Greenwich Associates says this increased interest in the ESG factors is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From now on golf clubs who are investing in sustainability should pay more attention to

  • Safeguarding natural systems;
  • Building sustainable supply chains;
  • Enabling sustainable consumption & production (see zero vaste;
  • Applying technology to sustainability.
New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club at the edge of a bunker

Investing in sustainability of your golf club operations and golf course is NOT CSR nor philanthropy.

The European Union (EU) has got a very impressive stimulus package ($2,17 trillion). More than 30% of this amount will be spent on fighting climate change.

The New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club vs sustainability

The soon-to-be-opened (July 1) New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club is at the heart of a comprehensive new eco-strategy devised by the luxury estate to deliver improved sustainability on and off the golf course.

The Les Bordes Golf Club is working in association with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) and following its ‘On Course’ environmental stewardship program to implement a 3-year plan that provides improved efficiency and a more sustainable performance across all areas of its estate.

As well as improving sustainability on its 3 courses Les Bordes Golf Club is adopting a more enhanced approach to conservation across its other sectors, including its

  • array of sports and lifestyle facilities,
  • general estate services,
  • and management of hundreds of acres of natural woodland habitat in the Sologne Forest.
New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club Wild Piglet green complex

The New Course at Les Bordes Golf is the first golf course to be designed by Gil Hanse in continental Europe.

The New Course fits harmoniously into its surroundings, with the fairways blending seamlessly into the natural vegetation and trees, and maximum care and attention was taken by Hanse and his team to clear the location and preserve the natural environment.

With a hard-wearing fescue grass species used for all fine-turf areas of the par-72 layout, the course design has created low maintenance areas, meaning maintenance costs have been significantly reduced with less irrigation, fertiliser and pesticides required.

New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club the fairway

The New Course has been planted with 250,000 new heathers to expand the catchment area for wildlife that benefits from the extended heather swathes, while the majority of the course furniture has been made using recycled material from the estate or material that has been locally sourced.

In addition, a new maintenance and water-management program has been implemented across the 3 courses to

  • make fairways and greens firmer and faster,
  • reducing irrigation levels and the electricity costs of the irrigation pumping station, while
  • the promotion of healthier turf has helped Les Bordes Golf Club to reduce the nutrient supplements needed by 40%.

The estate management team planning a number of further improvements over the next two years to enhance the environment.

Among the measures being proposed is the development of a green-waste program

  • using grass cuttings and leaves to generate composted material for use around the estate including in the horse paddocks and the landscaping of the venue’s new residential properties and
  • increased woodland management to improve the visual appearance and screening of areas.
Les Bordes Golf Club New Course 2nd green complex

A review of both birds and animals’ natural habitats on the 1,400-acre estate, identifying where numbers could be increased to enrich the environment, is also set to take place alongside a drive to improve Les Bordes Golf Club’s approach to recycling, waste, and packaging.

In addition, within the GEO program, there is further incorporation of the clubhouse, hotel, and service areas planned, including

  • investigating the installation of light fittings that use less energy, with proximity sensors that automatically turn off light in rooms not used.

This July’s opening of Hanse’s New Course headlines three years of investment at Les Bordes Golf Club, developing a community where all family members have endless possibilities for fun and adventure.

Completed on-site amenities include

  • natural swimming lakes and pools,
  • beaches,
  • watersports,
  • go-karting,
  • fishing,
  • equestrian,
  • petting farm,
  • biking, and
  • walking trails.
New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club 7th tee box

Future investment plans include 

  • an announced partnership with Six Senses for the transformation of the 19th century ‘Chateau Bel Air’ into a luxury hotel and spa,
  • a village square with shops and restaurants and a variety of residential villas in various styles, as well as
  • an equestrian center, an organic farm, an art gallery, and an outdoor amphitheater.