By completing and the new and improved OnCourse® program, Le Golf National has expressed its commitment to sustainable business management. As a matter of fact, Le Golf National has retained its GEO certification.
Recently, Ryder Cup Europe and The Ryder Cup Organising Committee in France have jointly launched The Ryder Cup Green Drive – the event’s sustainability program.
The Ryder Cup Green Drive and the GEO Foundation have many similar or same goals. For instance fostering nature, supporting communities, conserving resources etc.
I assume after completing the GEO Foundation‘s OnCourse program, Le Golf National will not have to make extra efforts to meet the expectations of the Ryder Cup Green Drive sustainability program.
The new Sustainability Policy of the Ryder Cup was released on 25th July.
Here are some interesting findings of the GEO Certified Independent Verification Report on Le Golf National:
- Partnership with Natural History Museum and French Golf Federation to evaluate, conserve and promote biodiversity.
- More than 350 animals & vegetation species were observed through 2016. A rating of 70 / 100 was reached for the QEI.
- 13 species identified as rare including European, French and regional ‘red list’ species
- 8 microhabitats created including hibernaculums for amphibians, rock walls, beehives, bird nests, dead branches and standing tree remnants
- Significant reduction of maintained turf areas, new no-spray areas, and habitat buffers
- Increase in low-maintenance ecological rough areas
- A diagnostic standardized protocol for evaluating the habitats, fauna, and flora has been put in place: Quality Ecologic Indicators (QEI). The QEI reflects the ecological quality of the golf course and is based on 3 criteria: diversity, patrimonial, functionality.
- 340 tons of material recycled every year including glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, and organics.
- Trialling of non-chemical pest and disease control with UV lighting unit to reducing fungicide applications.
- The new irrigation project allows not to irrigate the out-of-play roughs, which has evolved into a mix of natural fescues. Sprinklers have been turned off in those zones, allowing a reduction of the irrigated area of 16ha (20% of irrigated area).
- A new water reservoir with 11,800 m3 capacity was constructed during 2016 winter, recycling the water coming from holes 3 and 13 and saving it in hole 14.
- Sprinkler and nozzle technology has also allowed an improvement of a 26% in the Distribution Uniformity on the application of water. This leads to water savings of 50,000 m3 every year, thanks to a more uniform application of the water with less wet & dry spots.
- The now mowed areas of the roughs have grown significantly, which endures and make playing conditions harder but also provides a more natural landscape established with a mix of grass species. Thus, outstanding conditions are achieved thanks to the established sward of bluegrasses, fescues, and ryegrasses but also to the new designed non-mowed area, which has changed not only the challenge of playing the course but also its ecological role as habitat for the remarkable number of species living in the course.
- Rather than aiming to achieve a 100% Agrostis greens, Le Golf National has been positive on having 50% local Poa grass and 50% Agrostis, which is considered a more sustainable option than a straight monoculture.
- The Ryder Cup but also one of the main points in the French Federation plan for the development of 6 and 9-hole short course facilities to introduce more people to the game of golf. 96 short courses have been built since 2008 when Le Golf National entered the bidding process for The 2018 Ryder Cup, and some 40 further projects exist with the French Golf Federation all over the country today. These are mainly 6-9 hole facilities in the €10-25 cost range. Check out the guest post of Olivier Denis-Massé, the Marketing Director of the French Golf Federation: https://golfbusinessmonitor.com/golf-club-marketing/2018/07/2018-ryder-cup.html.
- Collaboration with local government to restore the ‘Porte du Merantais’, a historic gate to Versailles Palace.
- Go for Golf campaign to introduce new players to the game.