What can Burhill Golf gain from sustainable golf courses?

By: June 20, 2017

Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd (BGL) has recently had five venues recertified by the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) with the remaining five to follow as a result of continued, progressive works carried out across the operator’s 22 golf courses.

The ten golf venues operated by Burhill Golf & Leisure were first certified in 2014 when the company was crowned as the first ever multi-site operator to have all of their venues GEO Certified®. Since then, to maintain this accolade, the group have had to show evidence that they have continued to expand upon their existing sustainability practices over the last three years.

Burhill Golf & have been working with the recently upgraded OnCourse® guidance and reporting program for golf facilities, and have made considerable advances at each venue across the UK.

Notable projects that have occurred over the last three years have included:

  • the creation of a wildflower meadow at Burhill,
  • the energy efficiencies incorporated into the £5 million health and fitness development at Birchwood Park and Country Club,
  • the rope drainage methodology now in active use at Hoebridge Golf Centre and
  • the community interaction projects at Abbey Hill Golf Centre.

Burhill Golf GEO Certified golf courses

Guy Riggott, Operations Director at Burhill Golf & Leisure said: “A big focus for us is the conservation of water at our venues. Golf’s water footprint is significant, and in a time when water deficits are increasing, we’re putting strategies into place to reduce consumption at our ten venues which will not only benefit the environment but also provide future financial security as the price of water rises.”

How can Burhill Golf & Leisure truly achieve a sustainable business?

While I keep my fingers crossed for the success of Burhill Golf & Leisure, I also think about how could they and other golf clubs ensure the success of their sustainability efforts. One of the success factors are the employees of the golf club. They are a key stakeholder group for sustainability programs and reporting. Therefore, their involvement and education is essential.

To be able to empower golf club employees, we should think about what new behavior, skills, and attitudes will be needed. We should find the right balance between time, money and results. When you are preparing the training, you should think about how it can provide the right kind of experience.

So instead of telling your employees “shut up and do it this way”, you should say “your tasks will be amended and expanded, so we are providing this course to help you with your new responsibilities.” It would be wise to facilitate two-way communication to be able to explain better the changes in the life of the golf club.

Of course, achieving sustainable golf club business is not just about changes in operational processes, employee skills, but organizational culture as well.

It is pretty obvious what the Golf Environment Organization is also mentioning on their website, is the importance of internal communication. It would be interesting to know how Burhill Golf & Leisure will manage the internal communication? On group level by the HR and PR teams or on a local level? Will the leadership of these golf clubs walk the talk (aka leadership by example)??